Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Israel and the Dangerous Fantasy of Autonomy

Something Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu said to Obama Monday caught my eye:
I believe that's why you appreciate, Mr. President, that Israel must reserve the right to defend itself. After all, that's the very purpose of the Jewish state, to restore to the Jewish people control over our destiny. That's why my supreme responsibility as prime minister of Israel is to ensure that Israel remains master of its fate.
It is a dangerous fantasy that any nation can be complete master of its fate, and certainly no small nation like Israel can. This is the foreign relations equivalent of libertarianism, founded on a fantasy of self-reliance. Some people just hate the thought that their lives depend on someone else's good will. Belligerent militarists like Netanyahu especially hate it.

Since Israel has its own nuclear weapons, its existence will never depend entirely on anybody's good will; to destroy it any nation would face horrible destruction itself. But that is not enough for Netanyahu. He fantasizes about complete security. There is no complete security.

Except through peace.

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