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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

About American "Consistency," The Question I Wanted to Ask at Ruthie Blum's Book Launch

Photo by Batya Medad
The other night I attended Ruthie Blum's book launch  for To Hell in a Handbasket: Carter, Obama, and the "Arab Spring"  at The Great Synagogue, Jerusalem.  It was one of the events the synagogue has for its English speaking community.  The master of ceremonies stopped the Q & A session by saying that they pride themselves on keeping to their schedule.  There was no time for my question.  I promised Ruthie that I'd blog it, and this is it:

During the year my very elderly father, a World War Two American Navy officer veteran, lived with us, we entertained ourselves by watching from a DVD set of old WWII newscasts and documentaries.  The "theme" or "lesson" admitted by the voice-overs is that there had been many hints and warnings by the Japanese and Germans long before the wars on those two fronts actually began.  The American State Department and politicians consistently ignored or miss-read them. There's a strong déjà vu here about the United States and Iran/Egypt etc.  Considering the consistency in the American mistakes/incompetence, how can Israel keep looking up to the USA for military and diplomatic advice?
I hope that Ruthie finds a way of answering my question.

This may be an unpleasant subject for many, especially those who have IMHO inflated admiration for the United States of America.  A question I've been asking for a very long time is:
"When was the last time the United States defeated an enemy that was actually attacking its land and cities?"
Was there such a war in the Twentieth Century?  Pearl Harbor was just a military base when Japan attacked it.  Hawaii only became a state over a decade after the end of World War Two.

More recent wars fought by the United States did not end in proper victories.  They were more "police actions" at best interfering foreign countries. 

None of the American military experience has any real relevance to Israel's situation.  Actually, the Americans haven't a clue as to the dangers Israel faces.  And the United States is pretty consistent in making drastic and dangerous mistakes in their analysis, which Ruthie pointed out in her talk, specifically concerning Iran and Egypt.  When the Shah was deposed in Iran, Israel understood the situation much better than the Americans. That's why Israeli diplomats escaped and weren't held hostage for 444 days.
The Iran hostage crisis was a diplomatic crisis between Iran and the United States where 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days from November 4, 1979, to January 20, 1981, after a group of Islamist students and militants took over the American Embassy in Tehran in support of the Iranian Revolution.[1] President Carter called the hostages "victims of terrorism and anarchy", adding that the "United States will not yield to blackmail".[2]
The episode reached a climax when, after failed attempts to negotiate a release, the United States military attempted a rescue operation, Operation Eagle Claw, on April 24, 1980, which resulted in a failed mission, the deaths of eight American servicemen, one Iranian civilian, and the destruction of two aircraft. It ended with the signing of the Algiers Accords in Algeria on January 19, 1981. The hostages were formally released into United States custody the following day, just minutes after the new American president Ronald Reagan was sworn into office. (complete article)
Nu?  This topic is open to discussion.  What do you think everybody?


Suzanne Pomeranz said...

Yes, I'm afraid many (most?) Americans have an inflated view of themselves and their ability to defeat an enemy. There are also many people who think the USA has no real enemies and wonder why, when traveling, they have to be subjected to such stringent security measures (like here in Israel).

I believe, Batya, that you are "on target" that the State Department really has no idea how to handle the Iran/Egypt situation "on the ground" and only knows how to talk about it in vague terms. They will certainly be no help to Israel should "push come to shove".

Batya said...

Thanks for confirming my suspicions. It's frightening to think that Israel is trusting a bunch of failed fools.

Anonymous said...

Hashem punished Israel for looking for support - leaning on the 'weak reed' that Egypt was. It was a reed that bent and when it broke it stabbed Israel.

"Behold, thou trustest upon the staff of this bruised reed, even upon Egypt; whereon if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it; so is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all that trust on him."

Isaiah 36:6

We are not to depend on anyone! but our Creator. Depending on America is 'sowing the wind and reaping the whirlwind' as it's states in Tanach. Hashem is causing history to repeat itself because we apparently haven't learned our lesson yet.

sheldan said...

I don't think I would have doubted the fact that the USA and Israel are allies, but from your posts (and reading Ruthie Blum), I am not so sure anymore. And it might not just be Obama; if I study history over the post-war years, it becomes clear that although the USA and Israel do have common interests, there will be times when Israel will have to do what it has to do, regardless of what the USA and the international community think about it.

Thanks for the sobering wake-up call (whether we wanted it or not)...

Leah said...

When I visualize the White House members along with their top military brass they all sit around saying, "Holy cripes, men this is worse than we thought. Don't let the American public hear about this." In other words they know we know something's amiss, and they know things "leak" out into the public, yet I think they feel that if we knew the extent to which Iran and their "ilk" were really up to, we would be behaving radically and "ya wouldn't want that on yer hands now would ya? Might mess up an election potential for an incumbant..."
I have never in my life felt that the "leaders?:( " in America care one iota about Israel or a Jew for that matter. Sorry to break it to you. Not one iota- only PC, but you know what Batya? Not on the legs of man do I rely, yet on Hashem.
The only thing is we must change OUR ways and continue (or start) to study Torah and yes prepare to face our enemies, yet daven to Hashem and do mitzvos.
and the other thing is that if you want to know the extent of how important something is: look at the opposite reaction or the extent to which the distrations start coming from the sitra achra: eg: the US economy and the world economy; US election; taxes; gay marriage etc...
Yes, these issues are important, yet I think we need to vote and or be a champion to the cause because we have hishtadlus and bechira and we must exercise this, yet do it quickly and move on to mitzvos, tehillim, Torah study etc...these are our true path and there really is only a cardboard mechitza between us and Hashem...if only we could see this.

Batya said...

Leah, not only do we have to study Torah, we must live it. Judaism is a living religion, not just theory.

Sheldan, thanks for letting me know that my writing is making an impression.

a, true, we must do our bit but always remember that G-d is boss.

sheldan said...

Batya, thanks for your kind words, and Amen to the remark about Who (with a capital W) is boss.

Batya said...

Sheldan, something we shouldn't forget.

Leah said...

amen, Batya...yes very true.

Batya said...

Leah, glad you agree.