Aug 9, 2006

Some Insight Into Israeli Strategic Thinking

Does this type of reasoning sound familiar?

"I don't think anybody had any way to really grasp the implications of this kind of war," said Gerald Steinberg, head of the conflict management program at Bar-Ilan University.

The preceeding quote might lead the reader to think that the professor is not conversant with the concept of Fourth Generation Warfare.

However, a glance at his published oeuvre shows that Prof. Steinberg is actually well acquainted with the concept of assymetrical war. However, he apparently drew questionable conclusions going forward from the Israeli "success" against the Palestinians:

(H)ad the IDF not responded powerfully to the Kassam rocket barrages from Gaza, they would indeed have continued ... Instead, the military response created the necessary conditions for a return, at least for now, to a political relationship and a deterrence-based cease-fire.

He does have an opinion about the issue of disproportional force and the info wars being fought over serial Israeli overreactions:

(T)here is no basis for blaming the IDF in the context of the political war that has been waged to delegitimize and demonize Israeli responses to terror... A small number of targeted attacks against terrorists may have, in retrospect, applied "excessive force" that resulted in accidental civilian deaths, but the vast majority were morally and military justified, and saved countless Israeli lives.

The basic national security attitude of Israel and the post 9-11 United States turn out to be rather similiar:

However, the main question is not how well the IDF performs relative to the armies of other democracies fighting similarly “dirty wars.” For Israelis, the core issue is whether their freedom and their lives are protected to the greatest possible extent.

In a nutshell, this is the calculus that leads countries into military misadventures that turn into national nightmares.

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