Israel claimed it's occupation of Lebanon was needed to maintain it's security but it actually made Israel less secure. The occupation created Hezbollah and turned the Shiites of the South of Lebanon (formerly potential allies) into a bigger threat then the Palestinians or any Sunni Arab military force. Israel was forced to abandon Lebanon after creating a security environment much worse then the one their military action was supposed to solve.
The occupation of the Palestinian territories is like the occupation of Lebanon a disaster for Israel's security. It has had a corrosive effect on the readiness of the Israeli military. It has given free reign to the paramilitary thugs, terrorists and religious fanatics (who murdered an Israeli Prime Minister) in the settler movement who are successfully putting a two state solution and the long term survival of a Jewish majority state at risk.
Military occupation and colonization with a vanguard of armed religious fanatics is not an effective defense against terrorism or military threats to the state of Israel. It does not provide a 'security buffer' for Israel it does the opposite. This is true regardless of the state of leadership of the Palestinians or any of the Arab states. As a defense policy it's as big a failure as the occupation of Lebanon was.
We just got rid of Bush and the US equivalent of the Likud. They were not making the US safer with their Neo-con policies. There is no reason for the US to allow the Israeli right wing neo-cons to set our foreign policy agenda vis-a vis the middle east or the Palestinian Israeli conflict. These policies have a proven record of failure. It is not good for the US or for the future security of Israel.
You will note I have avoided the issue of legality or morality as regardless whether you regard Israel's actions in the territories as legal or illegal, moral or immoral, better or worse then the behavior of other states or parties, they are ineffective and are having the effect of making Israel less secure. It would be insane to continue with a policy that has failed so miserably. But what about Hamas and Hezbollah and all the threats to Israel? All the more reason to have a policy that actually works rather then one that weakens Israel and jeopardizes it's long term survival as a Jewish state.
American and Israeli politicians regularly threaten to destroy or attack the current Iranian regime and no one thinks it outrageous. It was the official policy of the Bush regime and there was an assumption that Syria and Iran where next on the list for invasion after Iraq. So yes, threatening to wipe out the Iranian regime and attack Iran possibly even with Nukes is considered nothing out of the ordinary in the US and Israel.
The people with the real power in Iran ( and that's not the clown who is the elected President ) currently do what they deem needed for their survival and the survival of Iran as a sovereign nation. They remember as do all Iranians including those who hate the Ayatollahs that the West murdered Iran's democratically elected PM and installed the Shah's dictatorship. More recently the US, France and the UK backed Saddam Hussein in an unprovoked war of aggression that killed one million Iranians. Think about that number for a minute and tell me if you think it effects Irans thinking about what is needed for their defense.
Yes, they see the Shiite populations outside their borders and groups like Hamas and Hezbollah as a useful buffer and weapon against potential threats from the Sunni Arabs and the west. After their experience I'd say they are right to be paranoid.
I'll say it again, the Iranians will never pre-emptively attack Israel, as it would serve no purpose in their defense or security, but it is highly likely that Israel would attack Iran unless the US steps in forcefully. If that were to happen the Ayatollahs would feel that it would be untenable for Iran's security to allow the attacker not pay a heavy price. Opening the way for who knows what. Ahmadinejad holds no real military power and it seems the Ayatollahs have tired of his antics. He may not be around to quote much longer.
By all accounts young Iranians hate the theocrats. Had it not been for the Iraq war and Bush's belligerence towards Iran the theocrats might be a lot weaker or gone today. But Iran's theocracy is no better or worse then the Saudi's who one Saudi aptly described as the Taliban with Gucci shoes.
We certainly have no problem dealing with the Theocrats in Saudi Arabia. The Bush family is dependent on them for a living. The demonizing of Iran is counterproductive. Iranians may hate their government but they will stand and fight with it if their country is threatened by attack from Israel or the US.
Israel is a bigger threat to mideast peace then is Iran. Unlike Israel Iran does not have a nuclear arsenal and is not colonizing and occupying any neighboring countries. While the threat of an unprovoked military attack on Iran by Israel is very high the possibility of the reverse happening is close to zero.
What part of " I also think that in the 21st century basing a state on racial or religious make up is not viable. " is not clear? It applies to Saudi Arabia as well as Israel. Further I said there really is no safe alternative for providing for the security of Israel's Jewish population in the foreseeable future but to keep Israel a Jewish state which the right of return could jeopardize (unless it was a relatively small number approved by the Israeli government).
The problem is Israel including the occupied territories is an apartheid state with a majority Arab population will not survive. Turning the IDF from a defense force into an occupation police force has degraded it's readiness a fact that was made apparent in the war with Hezbollah. A Palestinian state is a not a threat to Israel's security it is vital for it's survival as a Jewish state.
The idea that any peoples have to pass some kind of test determined by the occupying power intent on colonizing and annexing their land to qualify for freedom and self-determination is absurd. Human rights are not contingent on the political leadership of any peoples.
Do we make similar demands on the Israeli's? Do we threaten that we will cut off all funding and military, economic support if they continue illegal settlement activity and tacit support for the para-military thugs/terrorists in the settler movement. Do we tell Israelis they have to meet our standards of behavior before we deem them worthy of basic human rights?
This has nothing to do with fairness or justice. It might be unfair to keep families from returning to their former homes. I also think that in the 21st century basing a state on racial or religious make up is not viable. But given the situation on the ground the only near term viable solution is 2 separate states one Jewish and the other Palestinian Arab.
Israel's long term survival depends on the foundation of a viable sovereign Palestinian state and the Palestinians people's long term survival depends on an Israel safe and secure form any threat.
Obama is first taking on the one bit of the Arab peace plan that is not workable. The right of return. If there is going to be a 2 state solution it goes without saying that one of them will be Jewish. Dividing Jerusalem would not threaten Israel's security or the Jewish character of Israel but a flood of returning Palestinians into Israel would.
Once he gets that concession from the Arabs he should leave Netanyahu no space to obstruct the peace process.
It's a case of be careful what you wish for. The Israeli right wants a greater Israel that includes everything west of the Jordan. They want to make a Palestinian state impossible by carving up the West bank with Jewish settlements.
Well they may have their wish but they might not like the consequences. The 2 state solution becomes an impossible dream and instead you get a greater Israel where the majority of the population is Arab. How does the Zionist project survive a democratic state where Jews are the minority?
"The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river."
What is exactly the difference between advocating the destruction of a state and opposing one's formation by lethal, violent and military means? and that's just the Likud. There are other more extreme parties in the Israeli government that go beyond even what Hamas does vis a vis Israel and advocate not just for the denial of any Palestinian nationhood but for the complete ethnic cleansing of all Arabs west of the jordan.
You will hear many right wing apologists even on this blog claim that there is no such thing as a Palestinian people that they are really Jordanians and Egyptians living in land that should be Israeli.
Sharon murdered more civilians then all the Palestinian terrorists combined. He was called to task by the Israeli government for his role in the Sabra and Shatila massacre. The comparison is in no way outrageous.
Why should Hamas revoke it's convenant before talks when Likud refuses to do the same? It's a double standard. The Israeli right can reject the peace process publicly, deny that the Palestinian have any national rights, continue illegal settlement expansion and murder Palestinians and it's only Hamas that is called to task for it's positions and obstructionism.
We need to apply the same standards to both sides. We would never fund Hamas terrorism and obstructionism (and we never should) but why do we continue to fund the Israeli governments anti-peace, obstructionist and illegal activities?
The repeal of the financial regulations put in [palce by the New Deal led directly to the credit bubble and current collapse. That dregulation was of huge historic importance and it was the foundation of the Republican economic agenda. The other half of that was the demonization and destruction of the unions.
Republican dominance is short lived because once their policies bring about financial collapse it takes a generation or two for voters to forget. It took from 1929 until Bush for them to regain a dominant position. It didn't take lomg for them to wreck the economy.
It was not the big government in bed with big business angle I was commenting on it was the market 'freed' from government regulation and oversight. Is'nt that a basic tenant of libertarian conservatism. The market will do a better job of regulating itself then government beaurocrats can?
As to big business, in an unregulated free market big businesses will use their clout to shut out competition and protect market position and profit.
When it came to the size of government and social issues Bush was no Libertarian. But when it came to Wall Street he was the ultimate Liberarian. He virtually shut down the FEC and OSHA and removed all regulation and government interference from Wall Street and business. Taxes became optional for any corporation with a decent accounting firm.
His hands off, libertarian keep the government and government regulation out of the markets and business philosophy was probably the biggest failure of his governance. Bigger then his expansion of government and debt. The abuses it enabled brought down the world economy and left the global economy saddled with $60 trillion in fraudulent financial derivatives.
Since Reagan, the Republicans have been on offense and the Democrats have been in retreat.
Even before Bush when Republicans took control of the Congress all of Bill Clintons DLC agenda: NAFTA, welfare reform, the promotion of globalization and deregulation where all right out of the Republican playbook. The dismantling of the New Deal which continued under Clinton and the Republican dominated congress went into overdrive once they gained control of all branches of government under Bush. The margin of control didn't matter since the opposition and media were spineless and or complicit in the Republicans malfeasance.
Rove and Cheney thought they were founding a 1,000 year reich which is why they were so cavalier with breaking the law. They never thought they would be called to answer for any of it with permanent Republican dominance of government and media.
They have had NO political dominance? Where have you been for the last 8 years?