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Reader comment on item: Israel's Predicament at 60: World's worst neighbourhood

Submitted by John W. McGinley (United States), May 8, 2008 at 11:16

First of all, thank-you for the clear, analytically precise, and sobering presentation of the virtually unique dangers faced by the nation Israel. All lovers of Israel need to appreciate the sobering realities.

From a secular point of view it also has to be mentioned that Israel is the 800 pound gorilla in the "living-room" of the Middle East. Its present nuclear capability makes it the fourth strongest power in the world after the USA, Russia, and China. For a nation of its size its submarine capabiities for delivery are particularly noteworthy. And in any case it is and will be -- even if Iran is permitted to aciever nuclear capability -- the pre-eminent miltary force, by orders of magnitude, for decades to come.

The balance of terror did, in the final analysis, prevail between the Soviet Union and the United States untile the economy of the one (the Soviet Union) could not keep pace with the economy of the other. The balance of terror could work again. But I do acknowledge that there is an element in the Iranian leadership which puts the value of martydom above the value of life. That is frightening and the best argument for not allowing the Iranians to achieve nuclear capability. But even if it does, the balance of terror -- especially if Israel maintains such an overwhelming superiority both in number of nuclear weapons and excellence of its delivery capability -- seems to point to Israel's long term survival relative this kind of threat.

So too with terrorism. Ever since Ariel Sharon has come to power -- (God bless the man and shouldn't someone be looking into a way to release this man from what appears to be a vegetative travesty?) -- Israel has been far more astute in preventing terror aimed at its citizens. I bleieve this will continue. In this regard, the only thing that can detroy Israel would be to follow Prime Minister Rabin's tragic insistence on moving forward a peace process while the enemy was actively using the "peace process" as a means of bringing Israel t its knees. One hopes the lesson was well-learned. It won't be easy, but Israel can survive another half-century with the status quo. Eventually the Palestinian people will be forced to see that their own interests lies in the direction of making a valid peace with the 800 pound gorilla.

Frankly, the only thing which realistically has a chance bringing Israel to its knees is constituted by the forces of Secularism in Jewish society. Tragically, the logical offsetting force within Israeli society -- I speak of religiouis Orthodoxy -- is so much trapped in a culture of intellectual dishonesty that, absent reform from within on this matter, it will fail in being that offsetting force. When the chosen people choose to scorn the seal of Hashem its days are numbered.

John W. McGinley

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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