israel israel israel

A poster to a political discussion group I take part in sent one of the recent STRATFOR reports on the escalation situation in Israel and Lebanon, the gist of which was that Israel had no choice but to seize this unique political/strategic opportunity to eradicate Hezbollah’s weaponry, and that a ground invasion is necessary to achieve that goal and therefore likely imminent. Parsing the report and its context gave me my first opportunity to scrawl some semi-cogent thoughts on the war that has been occupying a large part of my attention for several days now. Here goes, with links, after the jump:

1. asymmetric warfare

2. i’m not saying that israel really has any other choices, except in the candyland neo-doctorow/kurzweillian future where everyone just agrees that escalation breeds escalation and holy shit check out the new xbox.

3. but i think it’s equally naive to believe that this kind of response gives them any manner of respite, even if only for ‘a few years.’ i agree that hezbollah probably isnt the most popular kid on that proverbial ‘muslim street’ right now, but crippling lebanon’s resurgent government/economy/infrastructure simply can’t work out well. as difficult as it is to imagine israel responding any other way, it is far more difficult to imagine anyone prone to fundamentalist violence giving israel the benefit of the doubt for such overwhelming attacks on civilian infrastructure. telling them that this ‘started’ with hezbollah’s rocket attacks is probably fairly insulting and counterproductive.

3a. unless of course the vacuum that hezbollah filled is somehow instantly taken up by a benevolent, stable, and strong entity that is somehow capable of being as respected and as (or more) effective than hezbollah is/was at maintaining that respect.

3b. see above, re: candyland. hey, maybe nassim taleb could return to lebanon and start an infrastructure insurance hedge fund.

4. i read somewhere that this plan to eradicate hezbollah’s weaponry has existed for a while (n<5 years), but sharon could never have executed it (politically, morally, strategically) because of his role in the disastrous lebanon campaign of 1982. i wonder where that will leave olmert?

5. asymmetric warfare

6. you know – having read ‘gravity’s rainbow‘ earlier this year followed a few months later by a serious viewing of ‘syriana’ just weeks before this all got underway, i’m having a profoundly eerie time of this war. highly recommended, both.

7. asymmetric warfare. i’m serious. read john robb

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One Response to “israel israel israel”

  1. nagu Says:

    And here, my contribution to that thread…

    Sorry for getting meta, but Robb’s writings on asymmetric warfare and 4GW (Fourth-Generation Warfare) are thought-inspiring stuff.

    Here’s his blog: http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/

    From the other side, here’s a convincing criticism of the glorification of 4GW: http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/archives2/003457.html

    Robb’s response, and I think the underlying point to all of this: “I believe that global guerrillas will not collapse the West any more than the Internet collapsed Microsoft’s monopoly. Their emergence will, however, change things. Don’t think Vietnam. Think Israel.”

    Every armchair strategist talks about playing for keeps, but I believe there is no such thing in the world we currently live in. No ideological enemy can be destroyed; even dominance is not a victory. If this is true, it’s not an outright condemnation of military solutions to political/cultural/economic conflicts, but it greatly reduces the scope of military solutions that make sense for a state actor.