Taking the Long View

Daniel Pipes puts the current war, which he deems “unnecessary,” in historical context:

For 45 years, 1948-93, Israel’s strategic vision, tactical brilliance, technological innovation, and logistical cleverness won it a deterrence capability. A deep understanding of the country’s predicament, complemented by money, will power, and dedication, enabled the Israeli state systematically to burnish its reputation for toughness.

Unfortunately, in Pipes’s view, that strategic vision was lost as the Israelis gave way to a combination of fatigue and overconfidence:

Deciding that (1) they had enough of war and (2) they could end the war on their own terms, Israelis experimented with such exotica as “the peace process” and “disengagement.” They permitted their enemies to create a quasi-governmental structure (the “Palestinian Authority”) and to amass hordes of armaments (Hizbullah’s nearly 12,000 Katyushas in southern Lebanon). They shamelessly traded captured terrorists for hostages.

In this mish-mash of appeasement and retreat, Israel’s enemies rapidly lost their fears, coming to see Israel as a paper tiger.

The present effort, Pipes thinks, is appropriate, but by itself it will accomplish little:

Deterrence cannot be reinstated in a week, through a raid, a blockade, or a round of war. It demands unwavering resolve, expressed over decades.

Sobering thoughts. In the meantime, IDF troops have intercepted and stopped a squad of Hezbollah terrorists who were trying to sneak across the border to murder Israelis.

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