Thursday, July 29, 2010

The "The Ruling Class" and Israel

I've been reading and discussing Prof. Angelo M. Codevilla's scintillating essay "America's Ruling Class - and the Perils of Revolution," which was recently published in the American Spectator. Codevilla is Professor Emeritus of International Relations at Boston University and his essay can only be described as "class treason."

Caroline Glick, the highly perceptive conservative columnist for the Jerusalem Post, has some thoughts too:
The main unifying characteristic of the American "ruling class" as Codevilla describes it is inexhaustible contempt for the majority of their countrymen who are not part of their clique. In his words, "our ruling class does not like the rest of America. Most of all does it dislikes that so many Americans think America is substantially different from the rest of the world and like it that way."

Codevilla's article focuses on US domestic policy. He accuses the ruling class of purposely spending the US into insolvency. He claims that their goal is to aggregate power. The more Americans depend on governmental largesse for their livelihoods, the greater the power of the government to dictate norms of social and political behavior and the greater the governing class's hold on power.

Codevilla claims that the Republicans are the permanent minority in the ruling class which is naturally aligned with the Democrats. When they are in power, the Republicans, he claims repress populist and conservative voices within their ranks calling for small government and do so to maintain their good relations with their colleagues in Democratic ruling circles. His prime example of a ruling class Republican is the first president George Bush.
Although Codevilla focuses on domestic issues, Glick is interested in the implications of his essay for international affairs:
There is a clear foreign policy corollary to Codevilla's discussion. Just as US bureaucrats, journalists, politicians and domestic policy wonks tend to combine forces to perpetuate and expand the sclerotic and increasingly bankrupt welfare state, so their foreign policy counterparts tend to collaborate to perpetuate failed foreign policy paradigms that have become writs of faith for American and Western elites.

A prime example of this is US Middle East policy. Regardless of its repeated failure over the course of four decades, since 1970, and with ever-increasing urgency since 1988, the consensus view of the US foreign policy elite has been that Israel's size is the cause of violence and instability in the Middle East. If Israel would just contract into the indefensible 1949 armistice lines, everything would be wonderful. The so-called "extremists" in the Arab and Islamic worlds will become moderates. Iran, Syria, the Saudis, the Palestinians, al Qaida, Hizbullah and the rest would abandon terror and beat their suicide belts and ballistic missiles into ploughshares.

An outstanding example of this sort of cross-partisan nonsense was the 2006 bipartisan Iraq Study Group's recommendations to then president George W. Bush. The war in Iraq was going nowhere and the considered view of esteemed Republican and Democratic policy hands was to stick it to Israel.

In the considered view of these wise men, for the US to emerge from Iraq with honor, it didn't actually have to defeat its enemies. Instead, according to Republicans like James Baker and Brent Scowcroft and Democrats like Lee Hamilton and Zbigniew Brzezinski all Bush needed to do was force Israel to cough up the Golan Heights, Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem. Then al Qaida in Iraq, the Shiite militias and all the rest would shrivel up or - at a minimum - allow the US to withdraw its military forces from the country without being humiliated.
It does seem that liberals really believe that if only Israel retreated to its indefensible 1949 borders with no one to prevent Hezbollah and Hamas from wheeling Iranian missiles right up to its borders, then there would be peace.

Do they really believe that? This is what I find hard to believe: that anyone really believes that such a unilateral Israeli retreat would lead to peace rather than simply tempting Israel's enemies from destroying the Jewish state. Finding myself unable to believe that even the most uninformed and mentally slow person could believe that the path to peace is unilateral Israeli surrender of the occupied territories - like the Gaza pull-out on a larger scale - I am forced to conclude that the liberals demanding such behavior from Israel do not want peace at all. What they really want the end of Israel as a Jewish state. They want peace only in the sense that the Communists wanted peace - after the conquest of the world by Communist ideology and the Communist Party.

Liberals who criticize Israel's arms blockade of Gaza should understand that when they blame Israel for the lack of peace and demand unilateral concessions by Israel alone, they do not look like peace activists, but rather like stooges of fanatical, evil terrorists. They should not be upset to be called anti-Jewish racists and fellow-travelers of fascists. They should realize that they have no one but themselves to blame for being perceived that way. Nobody believes the line they are peddling. They might as well be still defending the government of Joseph Stalin as "misunderstood."

If they want to surrender to Islamic terrorism in the Holy Land and in New York and in London, they must expect only scorn, ridicule and denunciations from those who love their own country, their own civilization, and their free way of life. There is no use calling conservatives names as if the conservatives were the problem. The problem here is the loss of credibility of the Western Ruling Class.

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