In Israel in the mid-1990s, an idea called normaliut seized hold of its populace. What it meant was that Israel wanted to live like any normal Western society. That was the real attraction of the 1993 Oslo peace accords. In a sense, it offered not merely a treaty negotiated in Oslo but the possibility to be Oslo, the chance for Israelis to live as Norwegians, to live as any other advanced Western nation. Instead, Israelis are on the military call-up list until 55—or about the age a Greek hairdresser gets to retire on full salary. Israel’s example suggests that if you think you’re an advanced Western democracy, but you don’t get to live like one, eventually the conflict between what you are and what the difficult circumstances ensuring you are not obliterated from existence require of you, you get worn down over time.Here, I suggest, is that world's theme song:
Israel implemented the terms of the Oslo accords, and in return Israelis got an Arafatist terror squat on their Eastern flank, suicide bombers on their buses, Iranian proxies to their north and west—and, in the wider world, isolation, demonization and delegitimization accompanied by a resurgent and ever more respectable anti-Semitism. The dream of normaliut didn’t work.In 2008, the U.S. electorate also voted for normaliut. Americans voted to repudiate the previous years, dominated by terror attacks and Code Orange alerts and anthrax scares, and thankless semicolonial soldiering in corners of the map no one cared about. They were under the sway of a desperate hope that wars can simply come to an end when one side decides it’s all a bit of a bore. In reality-TV terms, the Great Satan wanted to vote itself off the island.
But as Israel understands by now, sometimes who you are is more important than anything you do. And sometimes who you are is an offense to those indifferent to anything you might or might not do. America will discover, as Israel did, that a one-way urge for normaliut will lead to a more dangerous world.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
The Trouble With "Noramaliut" Is It Always Gets Worse
Mark Steyn makes the "case for pessimism" in the November Commentary: