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2002 "Power and Weakness" Robert Kagan

Reader comment on item: Biden's Emerging Foreign Policy

Submitted by Robert (United States), Sep 28, 2022 at 22:57

Thanks for introducing me/us to this historically grounded author's article dealing with the (social) psychology of Power and Weakness.

I observe that 2002 was when the Soviet Union collapsed and the United States was the only Superpower remaining, China was not yet economically great as it is today, and the European Union was also still an open question regarding its power in the world.

But what would Robert Kagan observe regard today's international powers and weaklings?

Aside from explaining things psychologically, I think now the world resembles what Bismark and Prussia had during the 19th Century when Prussia turned into the German Empire, but by far the most important issue is identify the states, or poles at play. In that regard the world is more complex. An appropriate metaphor here comes from physics/mathematics and is known as THE THREE BODY PROBLEM which, incidentally is unsolvable. Nevertheless, the "bodies" can be named:

(1) Israel (=Prussia), (2) Russia, (3) China, (4) European Union, (5) United Kingdom, (6) Turkey, (7) Iran, (8) Saudi Arabia. The principle I used to restrict ourselves to these 8 protagonists is actual military and para-military belligerence. And until very recently, the ideologies involved primarily those stemming from Islam (Sunni vs. Shia), and Islam vs. Jews (Palestinians vs. Israelis).

But now something shocking new and unexpected has occurred: Russia vs. Ukraine ( EU & US UK & UKRAINE
vs. the Russian Federation).

And it is Prussia (=Israel) that at the Strategic locations to determine the outcome! Although I'm a secularist, it appears that Providence is at work here. Israel has the Power to determine the outcome. Just one of those sources of Power Golda Meyer did not live long enough to observe when complaining that of all the places in the Diddle East, God chose the one place that had no oil (or gas). Well now we see that Israel is in a position to supply the EU which it needs to replace that it no longer has from Russia. Along these lines, Israel has a "open secret" stock pile, allegedly, of up to 150 nuclear weapons with which it can shield the Saudi Arabia (Sunni Arabs) from the Shia Iranian. Regarding Desertification, Israel has the technology of Desalination of the water of the Mediterranean Sea. Now (this week) the US will join Israel in developing AI (Artificial Intelligence), etc.

I'm arbitrarily stopping this analysis, because continuing would be to long.

It appears that Putin has lost his "Special Military Operation" in Ukraine; whether or not he will be stupid or desperate and use (small) tactical nuclear weapons is not something I wish to speculate upon. But it will most probably not give him a "Victory." What he has done for Israel I can only attribute to providence. The way he treats the Ukraine people is now, unconsciously, if not consciously being compared to how Israel treats the Palestinians. At least you, Dr. Daniel Pipes, can understand this "Robert Kagan point" I make after reading him, thanks to you (I did know of him until to brought him to my attention). .... and Netanyahu just got 60 seats in the Knesset because of the collapse of the Israeli-Arab coalition. Will he be the next PM of Israel and is this too the work of Providence? It appears that once more the Palestinians are not missing the opportunity to miss an opportunity (yes, I'm making a paraphrase of a famous quote of Abba Eban).


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