A reader writes:
I've been thinking of the Israeli invasion of Gaza in response to Hamas's rocket attacks in light of the South Korea's response to North Korea's sinking a South Korean military vessel. At the time, the meme that won me over re Gaza was "no country would put up with such attacks without responding."
For example, Goldblog stated
"No country in the world could afford to ignore such attacks. And no country would. An elected government, such as Israel's, has a basic, overriding responsibility -- to protect its citizens from the organized violence of their enemies. Of course, it can do this in part by negotiating with its enemies (assuming its enemies recognize Israel's right to life) but its immediate mission must be to stop the violence, which is what Israel is now trying to do. Whether it succeeds or not is an open question (It is Hamas' indifference to Palestinian life, not Jewish life, that makes it a formidable foe, in the manner of Hezbollah) , but Israel must try to use all of the tools of national power to stop attacks on its citizens. Otherwise it is simply not a serious nation, one that does not deserve sovereignty."
Why are we not hearing the same arguments regarding South Korea? Is it an unserious country, not deserving sovereignty?
Of course not, it's making a rational decision that you don't invade a country with nuclear weapons just across your border without really really good cause. And even the deaths of dozens of sailors isn't a good enough cause. It’s the same decision that Mexico would make if we started lobbing rockets at Juarez.
Anyway, I'm sure I'm running straight into a TNC fake equivalency buzz saw, but this incident has made me rethink my support of that invasion. I think the reason that Israel's reasoning rang so true is because we've spent the last 20 years as the sole superpower, when we're upset, we can invade and most countries can't stop up. So of course we would respond to this type of analysis.
Israel is in the same position, Hamas cannot defeat it militarily and thus this response makes sense. They are bombing us, we should respond.
Whether the steps I took to get there are flawed or not, I've flipped positions. The only way this situation ends well is if Israel is willing to accept behavior from radical Palestinians that most countries with an overwhelming military advantage would not. It’s the only way to marginalize those elements and to rally support for (what I hope is) the majority that want peace.
I'm more mindful of the British example, since I lived during it. For years, IRA terrorists bombed Britain's pubs and shops and eventually nearly killed the entire cabinet in the Brighton hotel bombing. Those terrorists lived among the population in both the republic and Ulster? Did Britain bomb Ireland in response? Were republican areas in the north sealed off and pulverized as happened in Gaza? Were British casualties one hundredth of Irish casualties in response?
None of this happened. Margaret Thatcher no less accepted what became known as an "acceptable level of violence" because the alternative would a) have caused domestic outrage and b) made the situation far, far worse and recruited a new army of terror. Again, one has to ask: why is Israel different?