For some, the central question surrounding Operation Pillar of Defense is who won, whose truth prevailed. For me, the central question is what have we learned, and what can we adopt as we construct our future foreign policy. Before the operation, Israel's policy and public assumptions were founded on a number of beliefs and "truths": we are alone and can count only on ourselves, the world is against us and public relations is useless in an anti-Semitic universe, in the Middle East the lingua franca is power and compromise is weakness, for all of Israel's challenges a solution can be found in the use of power, fear must guide our policy while hope is naive, and once Islam enters into the equation the conversation is over, (sic)
All of the above have dominated Israel's discourse, both when it comes to a nuclear Iran, as well as with the stalled peace process with the Palestinians. None of the above, however, shaped Israel's actions in Operation Pillar of Defense. Quite to the contrary, Israel tried out a new set of assumptions and was surprised by their efficacy. It refrained from an extensive ground campaign, not only because it believed that such an operation would not result in additional gains, but also because it would undermine the opportunities made possible by this new set of assumptions.
What have we learned? First, we are not alone. When our actions are grounded on a strong moral foundation and our response commensurate to our legitimate rights, there are many who are willing to stand on our side and by our side. Second, in such a reality public relations are beneficial, but PR can never be a substitute for good policy. Third, Israel's world is most secure when it works in close cooperation with the United States administration (and not merely the Congress), and when it does so, new avenues become possible."We are not alone"--true enough, Donny. Why, just yesterday a whopping nine--count 'em--nine countries were so impressed by Israel's "strong moral foundation/response commensurate to our legitimate rights" that they voted against Mahmoud Abbas's PLO/PA at the UN.
And while it's nice to have Micronesia and the Marshall Islands (also Canada and the U.S.) on our side, it seems that the rest of humanity, 138 nations, including the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation, the UN's largest voting bloc, decided to go with the guy who wants to end Israel's occupation--of Israel. For starters, though, he hopes to soon see the flag of Palestine "wave" in East Jerusalem.
Can't hardly wait for that!
I would say that that has a lot to do with might making right at the UN, and the fact that Islam more or less steers the conversation there. But since, clearly, Donniel and me dwell in alternate realities (and since in his, Islam/jihad/sharia have next to no meaning or impact), there's little point in telling him that his worldview is seriously askew due to a dangerous--and dangerously blinkered--"social justice" Utopianism.