by Clifford D. May
People forget how small
There are more than 20 Arab states with a combined population of 325 million and more than 50 majority-Muslim states with a combined population of well over a billion. By contrast,
So why is so much attention - and firepower - focused on this tiny nation?
Palestinians also inhabit
There also is the fact that, economically,
What's more, Mr. Senor and Mr. Singer believe the conventional and sometimes stereotypical explanations for this success - e.g., Jews work hard, Jews are smart - are either wrong or insufficient.
A key factor, they theorize, is that virtually all Israelis serve in the military where a specific set of skills and values are pounded into them. They learn, for example, "that you must complete your mission, but that the only way to do that is as a team. The battle cry is 'After me': there is no leadership without personal example and without inspiring your team to charge together and with you." The Israeli military encourages a kind of entrepreneurship: the assumption of both responsibility and risk at a young age, coupled with on-the-job experience making life-and-death decisions.
In recent years, American military men and women have been facing and overcoming daunting challenges. Mr. Senor and Mr. Singer suggest that upon return to civilian life they should not "deemphasize their military experience when applying for jobs" and that employers should recognize the skills and habits that young Americans are now acquiring while fighting for their country.
That is not an argument in favor of war. But war has been both declared against us and thrust upon us. Those who believe otherwise indulge a dangerous delusion. What's more, the inconvenient truth is that war, not peace, has been the norm throughout history. And reports of history's death have been exaggerated.
Clifford D. May is president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focusing on terrorism.
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