You may have noticed a shift in thinking about Israel lately, or a greater willingness in American political and social life (mostly on the left, but not only) to consider the conditions and injustices under which the Palestinians live.
There may be many reasons for this:
1. A reaction to some of the Bush administration’s failures in Iraq…combined with a weak economy.
2. A still relatively intellectually confused but resurgent American left.
3. A demographic shift toward a larger Arab population in both Europe and the U.S.
4. Our interaction with the Arab world through rapidly advancing technology.
As Israel sees it (and there are many good reasons for seeing it this way), any concession to the violence of Hamas is unacceptable. Any loss of Israeli life to a Hamas rocket attack is cause for military operation to protect the civil order. Despite the rallying anger, resentment and threats of violence by much the Arab world (to which the Israelis have long since steeled themselves) they’ve gone ahead and pursued a military operation.
I don’t necessarily have a response to such current events…
…so much as I’d argue that one of our most important shared interests with Israel is still through its functioning democracy: Israeli military force is eventually answerable to the Israeli people through its laws, lawmakers, and ultimately to the people themselves. This is a form of government cast in our own image, with which we identify and understand as vital to our own freedoms and way of life.
The current wellspring of sentiment in America toward the Palestinian situation has important truths to it…but look for it to be used accordingly by groups for peace…for aid…for Islam…for social justice (to rally the blame America first crowd)…and more generally by U.S. politicians as they may eventually navigate these waters. As a result, perhaps U.S. foreign policy in the region may gradually be changing in much the same way…if it hasn’t been already.
Are you convinced?
Addition: It’s probably pretty obvious I’m been taking a look at Samuel Huntington lately…and don’t fully address the depth of his thinking.
From The Hoover Institution: Stanley Kurtz On Francis Fukuyama and Samuel Huntington…From The American Interest Online: Francis Fukuyama On Samuel Huntington…From Bloggingheads: Eli Lake And Heather Hurlbert On Samuel Huntington…From The Atlantic: Samuel Huntington’s Death And Life’s Work