As we proved in Vietnam, and are about to prove again in Afghanistan, you can win most battles in a tactical sense but still lose a war at the far more decisive strategic and grand-strategic levels of conflict. (Grand strategy is explained here.) Israel's grand strategy is to establish a Greater Israeli Apartheid State (by annexing Area C of the West Bank and Gazifying Areas A and B) by (1) keeping the US firmly in its camp so (2) it can ignore the growing disgust in the rest of the world. That grand strategy has worked in the short term, most recently by hyping the Iranian threat and now the Gaza mini war to distract attention from the growing encroachment of illegal Israeli settlers in Area C.* But that strategy is turning the world against it (see Israel is all but alone in the Middle East). While recent pronouncements by President Obama and Secretary Clinton suggest Israel's influence in US domestic politics remains as strong as ever, the political sands in the US may be slowly insensibly shifting toward ambivalence, if not outrage, in the United States as well — and, as a practical, the US has enormous problems elsewhere (in Afghanistan) as well as home that may well evolved to take precedence over the US blank check to Israel. So, is Israel on the slippery grand-strategic slope of winning its battles while losing war?
Only time will tell, of course. Beow below is the opinion of one experienced and highly regarded observer.
The author of this opinion piece is Israel's leading peace activist. Uri Avneri is a hero of the 1948 War, a former member of the Irgun and later the Knesset, and a prolific writer. Today, he is probably Israel's most respected advocate of peace with the Palestinians.
* Given the pattern of recent Israeli provocations, it is almost certain that domestic politics attending to the looming Israeli parliamentary election in January (called by Netanyahu) shaped the strategic timing of the latest Gaza mini war.
by URI AVNERY,
Counterpunch, WEEKEND EDITION NOVEMBER 23-25, 2012
The mantra of this round was Once And For All.
“We must put an end to this (the rockets, Hamas, the Palestinians, the Arabs?) Once and For All!” – this cry from the heart was heard dozens of times daily on TV from the harassed inhabitants of Israel’s battered towns and villages in the South.
It has displaced the slogan which dominated several decades: “Bang And Finish!”
It did not quite work.
The big winner emerging from the cloud is Hamas.
Phi Beta Iota: Time is the one strategic variable that can not be bought nor replaced. The primary cost of strategic decrepitude is time, followed by blood, treasure, and spirit. What many do not realize is that war is a racket, a profit center for the few at the expense of the many.
Smedley Butler, War is a Racket: The Antiwar Classic by America's Most Decorated Soldier (CreateSpace, 2012)
Colin Gray, Modern Strategy (Oxford, 1999)