Ed: 35: July/2010
As I travel around the world, I often encounter strong pessimism about Israel's current situation and future prospects. I want to give everyone some good news. Contrary to widespread perceptions, Israel's strategic situation and prospects are currently pretty good, despite all the genuine problems. Moreover, time is on Israel's side.
Even though I'd watched thousands of hours, the rhetoric that I saw on al-Manar really shocked me. They say what they mean and they mean what they say. They call for an Islamic republic. They call for the killing of coalition troops, including Australians, in Iraq and Afghanistan on a daily basis. They call for the destruction of the State of Israel, throwing all the Jews into the sea.
One of the few points on which there is wide agreement is that for deterrence to work, the leaders of the nations that command nuclear arms must be rational. The same holds for terrorists who may acquire nuclear arms one way or another. In effect, a small cottage industry has developed of popular authors and researchers who argue that both heads of states and terrorists do act rationally, and thus â€“ fearing retaliation from other nuclear powers â€“ they will not employ their nukes.
Hamas will be in power in the Gaza Strip for a long time. Who is going to remove it? It is a client of Iran. Certainly it is under embargo for arms but it does function a lot like an independent state for daily practical purposes. It will return to war against Israel at the first opportunity. It teaches its people to kill Jews and wipe Israel off the map and to be terrorists. That doesn't mean all Gazans support it, but those who don't can do nothing about it. Moreover, the Hamas regime receives indirect aid, due to the Palestinian Authority paying much of its civil service and Western projects designed to help Gaza's people.
Ever since the Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) assumed power in 2002, Turkish foreign policy has made a 180-degree turn. The country's once-strong ties with the United States and Israel have been weakened, and entry talks with the European Union have stalled while Ankara has come to the defence of the Iranian nuclear program and Hamas. The reason for this shift is simple: Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government believe that Samuel Huntington was right, that there is a clash of civilisations. Only they are on the side of the Islamists, not the West.