By: Louis Rene Beres
Sometimes truth can emerge through paradox, especially in the always-confusing
In all world politics, appearances can deceive. Although power is powerful and weakness is weak, power can sometimes weaken itself, and weakness can sometimes become a source of power. Over the years, especially since the Oslo Accords and the successor "Road Map,"
From the start, the Palestinians, understanding the subtle influences of language on politics, have somehow managed to transform their widely presumed weakness into a genuine source of power. Again and again, the "weak" Palestinians have outmaneuvered the "powerful" Israelis. For example, a few years ago the UN's International Court of Justice chose to condemn not the persistent criminality of Palestinian terrorism, but rather the fence erected by Israel to safeguard its most fragile citizens from suicide bombers.
Similarly, even while the terrorists intentionally rocket Israeli noncombatants from "liberated"
Justice still cannot be uttered in the same breath as Jews. And power is always a more complex relationship than it may first appear. The ordinarily assumed bases of power in world affairs can be exaggerated or misrepresented.
For almost 2,000 years, the Jews as a people remained stateless and defenseless − yet, in a number of important spheres of human activity, they were still enormously potent. Today, when there does exist a Jewish State endowed with modern weapons, as well as with advanced centers of science, learning and technology, the Jewish citizens of Israel comprise the most vulnerable Jews on the face of the Earth.
If we were also to consider ongoing Iranian nuclearization together with
The Palestinians - Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, it certainly makes no real difference to Israeli or
Persuading the world, again and again, how unfortunate and mistreated they are, the Palestinians repeatedly get their way at major international conferences and in associated diplomatic negotiations. How else can one explain the still-fixed and explicit
Another irony surfaces.If
The Arab world is presently comprised of 22 states, nearly 5 million square miles and more than 150 million people. The overall Islamic world contains 44 states with well over 1 billion people. The Islamic states comprise an area 672 times the size of
Power vs. weakness? The State of Israel, even together with Judea/Samaria (West Bank) is less than half the size of
The Palestinians have typically enjoyed considerable global benefits from their alleged "weakness." Will their new state effectively enlarge Arab/Islamist power, or will it produce an opposite condition? Perhaps, with a tiny Jewish State existing next to a tiny Palestinian state, there will develop a mutuality of weakness. But this would be unlikely or even illogical, as power is always a relative notion. Moreover, the Palestinians, according to all of their maps and all of their public policies, envision only one state − their own. Cartographically, throughout most of the Arab world, the physical removal of
Plato first wrote magisterially of the reality of ideas. In matters of national security, conceptual understanding is always antecedent to good policy planning. Both
There is, in all spheres of foreign policy making, a marked absence of true learning. The ingredients of usable power in world politics, however, can be very subtle, and may also remain intangible. At times, these ingredients may even include the presumed opposite of power, or weakness.
Truth can emerge through paradox.
LOUIS RENÉ BERES was educated atPrinceton (Ph.D., 1971) and publishes widely on international relations and international law. He is the author of ten major books and several hundred articles in the field.
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