Monday, July 17, 2006

The War on ????

As the world gawks at the carnage in the Middle East and vague proposals for an international peacekeeping force are bandied about, it's interesting to note how Israel and its allies frame the current campaigns in Lebanon and Gaza. On the one hand, this conflict is about people like Carmia, huddled in hallways or bomb shelters -- or the scores of displaced Lebanese non-combatants seeking safety. But it's also about both sides laying claim to a mantle: the mantle of Islam, or pan-Arabism, or avatar of Palestinian nationalism; or the mantle of prosecutor of the war on terror, the war on Islamic fundamentalism, totalitarianism, and, now, "extremism."

As many analysts have noticed, Hezbollah's actions in the north provided the Olmert government with an opportunity to bundle together both the Gaza operation and a retaliatory effort in the north as part of a greater struggle against radical Islam. The situation affords Israel a seductive moral clarity in its actions.

I see the frame placed around this conflict by Israel and its supporters growing ever bigger. This is evident in Sen. Hillary Clinton's comments today in front of the UN. For Hillary, the issue isn't just the Middle East, it's American -- even universal -- values: democracy, human rights, anti-totalitarianism, national sovereignty.

As a marketing tool, I think Olmert and Hillary have got a winner; somehow I think that a war on "Islamofascism" or "Islamic totalitarianism" wins over European hearts in a way a "war on terror" never could. Maybe it's our secular shibboleth in the West.

Incidentally, Hillary's comments are in my opinion yet more proof that she's fit to be the Democrats' candidate in 2008, and that barring a Republican nomination of John McCain, the former First Lady is unbeatable.

10 comments:

John said...

Noah, Hizbullah and Hamas are themselves packaging and marketing themselves to the world as heroic Islamic resistance movements joined by the same cause of striking at "evil Israel".

John said...

This really is a war against something bigger: the Middle East's rejectionist forces who continue to oppose negotiation with and recognition of Israel. This is a war against Iran and Syria's proxies who are doing everything to prevent the imposition of a pax Americana on the region - they don't want the local Hamas leadership to compromise, they don't want Lebanon to become cozy with the West and they don't want states that are more aligned with the US such as Jordan and Egypt to set the Arab agenda.

Noah Kaye said...

Of course, maybe I didn't dwell on that aspect of the communications war because I don't know it so well -- and I don't know Arabic. So Hamas and Hezbullah have this strategic pact, right, but how well does the ideological union work given sectarian suspicions? I heard that Hezbullah is making a pitch well beyond its Shiite base within Lebanon and without. Is it that confronting Israel with real machismo can unite the entire Muslim world so well that these other distinctions get lost?

Noah Kaye said...

I agree, John, that's the realpolitik.

fool said...

I find it "hillary-ous" that Mrs. Clinton is "championed" by so many. The fact is, she won't even get her party's nomination. In fact, Republicans only HOPE the Dems are that stupid. Well, come to think of it, maybe they are.

If by some chance she DOES get nominated, any GOP candidate will wipe the floor with her. She's pretty much universally hated outside "blue" America.

Anonymous said...

And lets not mention that about half of the Democratic base hate Hillary because of her Iraq war support. True, Republicans can only pray she gets the nomination. She is unelectable.

Anonymous said...

Dove wearing Hawk Feathers...

Billary doesn't have a chance to win in the US. She is glamorized in the media around the world, but the electorate in the USA know her all too well. It is enjoyable to see her appeal to the center and undecided voters, but I've seen better acting in a Junior High school play.

She's a safe bet to stay a senator for a long time in ultra left New York, but she can't carry the states without an "enlightened" ultra left urban popoulation.

Anonymous said...

Stay safe !!!

Anonymous said...

Please do not take Hillary at her word, she like her husband are opportunistic and will say anything depending on how the wind blows.
Clinton are on record criticisng Bush for not getting Bin Laden but Clinton refused Bin Laden when offered.

Hillary is not a person to be trusted.

Anonymous said...

Hillary Clinton is an anti American/ anti Israel toxic c*nt. Remember her and Bill shmoozing Arafat as some great heroe? He's a barbaric terrorist, and that b*tch practicaly worshipped him! Buh, I hate ole Hill!