web analytics
November 28, 2014 / 6 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



War, Terror And Revolution: Israel’s Special Vulnerability to Chaos (Part I)


Beres-Louis-Rene

            Continuing turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa signals important and potentially catastrophic transformations. For Israel, the greatest danger stems from the interpenetrating and largely unpredictable effects of war, terrorism and revolution in the region. In essence, these plainly destabilizing effects could spawn an unprecedented and historically unique kind of chaos.
            Expressed as a geostrategic condition, chaos in any form can play havoc with the best-laid plans of nations.  By definition, at least from the standpoint of national military planning and international studies, it is a condition that can preclude any normal or indispensable security preparations. For Israel, an always-beleaguered mini-state that is half the size of San Bernardino County in California, the plausible survival implications of chaos could be existential.
            The most obvious and immediate dangers to Israel concern the prospect of abrogated peace treaties in Cairo and/or Amman. Following any such abrogation, which, ironically, could be the result of either regime change, or regime preservation in those countries, old battlefronts could reopen.  Convergent threats of war and terror would then reemerge and harden, possibly impacting any newly emergent state of Palestine.
            The corollary power positions of both al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood could also be affected. For the moment, at least, al-Qaeda is in a primarily adversarial stance vis-à-vis the Brotherhood, while Hamas, recently re-bonded with Fatah, is itself a direct offshoot of the Brotherhood.
            In the presumably worst case scenario for Israel, and, significantly, also for the United States, Jihadists would take high command in several of the crumbling Arab governments. Ultimately, these martyrdom-driven leaders could conceivably get their hands on nuclear weapons. This prospect should bring to mind the dreadful scenario of the suicide-bomber in macrocosm. Outside of the immediate Arab world, it is already a scenario that needs to be taken seriously – in coup-vulnerable Pakistan and in nearly nuclear Iran.
            As the once-vaunted “Arab Spring” deteriorates into a not-so-democratic “Arab Summer,” Israel might have to face nuclear and ideologically Islamistenemies on both the Iranian and Arab fronts. Even in the absence of old enemies with new nuclear arms, nuclear and biological materials could find their way to Hizbullahin Lebanon, and/or to Hamas, not necessarily by way of al-Qaeda (always the prevailing expectation, until now), but, rather, as a determinable consequence of chaos, by way of a newly-energized Muslim Brotherhood.
            Preventing the spread of nuclear weapons to allenemy states must remain an immediate and overriding Israeli strategic objective. This prevention, of course, has always been a core objective for Israel’s military planners, but now, with potentially more regional players, both state and sub-state, it is becoming an increasingly complex and difficult task. To a considerable extent, this growing problem is the result of Israel’s now probable failure to preempt its Iranian enemy from going nuclear. Refusing to embrace critical preemption options while there was still time, options that could have been sustained under international law as altogether proper expressions of anticipatory self-defense, Jerusalem must now bear at least part of the blame for allowing such a threat to materialize.
            The seventeenth-century English philosopher Thomas Hobbes recognized that although international relations always exist in a “state of nature,” a condition of anarchy, not necessarily of chaos, these relations are still more tolerable than the stance of individual human beings in anarchy. This is so, said Hobbes, because nations simply lack the capacity of individuals to utterly destroy one another.
            Now, proliferation of nuclear weapons, especially in the Middle East, could reduce the usual and more-or-less tolerable anarchy of international relations to the singularly intolerable chaos of nature between individuals. As more and more nations came to share what Hobbes had called a “dreadful equality,” the equal capacity to render mortal destruction, the portent of regional nuclear calamity could then become correspondingly more likely.
            William Butler Yeats wrote prophetically of a time in which “the blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned.” Here, the great Irish poet revealed what still eludes historians, diplomats and scholars. In the not-too-distant future, we must now understand, there could come a moment wherein there will be no safety in numbers, treaties or armaments; no help from civilizations, no counsel from public authority, and no last-minute rescues from science.

            This dreadful “moment” may rage a long while, perhaps until every flower of human culture has been trampled, and until entire human communities have been leveled in a vast chaos. Ominously, from this seemingly resurrected medieval darkness there will be neither escape nor sanctuary. Instead, it will envelop whole nations in a single, suffocating pall.

 

 

LOUIS RENÉ BERES (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971) lectures and publishes widely on international relations and international law. In Israel, he has been involved with national security, military and intelligence matters for almost forty years. Professor Beres was born in Zürich, Switzerland, on August 31, 1945. He is Strategic and Military Affairs columnist for The Jewish Press.

About the Author: Louis René Beres (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971) is professor of political science and international law at Purdue University and the author of many books and articles dealing with international relations and strategic studies.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “War, Terror And Revolution: Israel’s Special Vulnerability to Chaos (Part I)”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
A would-be preacher delivers his message of hate from the Muslim"holy site" on the Temple Mount.
Al Aqsa Mosque ‘Stand-Up’ Preacher Calls for Annihilation of the United States
Latest Indepth Stories
Greiff-112814-Levaya

My son is seventeen; he didn’t want to talk about what happened, or give any details of the Rosh Yeshiva’s words of chizuk.

Protesters in Ferguson, Missouri

All involved in the Ferguson debate should learn the laws pertinent to non-Jews: the Noahide Laws.

Charley Levine

Prominent Jewish leaders acknowledged that their predecessors had mistreated the Bergson Group.

Cravatts-Richard--new

Abbas has been adding new layers of rhetoric to his tactical campaign to de-Judaize Jerusalem

The Jew’s crime is his presence.

Hamas’s love for death tried to have as many Palestinian civilians killed as possible

Israel recognizes the fabrication called a Palestinian nation; So what do we want from the Swedes?

Arab attacking Jews in the land date back a century, long before Israel was created or in control.

Creativity without clarity is not sufficient for writing. I am eternally thankful to Hashem for his gift to me.

Golden presents a compelling saga of poor but determined immigrants who fled pogroms and harsh conditions in their homelands for a better life in a land of opportunity.

It seems to us that while the Jewish entitlement to the land of Israel transcends the Holocaust, the Jewish experience during that tragic time is the most solid of foundations for these “national rights.”

Too many self-styled civil rights activists seemed determined to force, by their relentless pressure, an indictment regardless of what an investigation might turn up.

Unfortunately, at present, the rabbinate does not play a positive role in preventing abuse.

Egypt’s al-Sisi is in an expansionist mood. He wants Israel’s permission to take over Judea and Samaria.

More Articles from Louis Rene Beres

A “Palestine” could become another Lebanon, with many different factions battling for control.

Louis Rene Beres

President Obama’s core argument on a Middle East peace process is still founded on incorrect assumptions.

Once upon a time in America, every adult could recite at least some Spenglerian theory of decline.

President Obama’s core argument is still founded on incorrect assumptions.

Specific strategic lessons from the Bar Kokhba rebellion.

Still facing an effectively unhindered nuclear threat from Iran, Israel will soon need to choose between two strategic options.

For states, as for individuals, fear and reality go together naturally.

So much of the struggle between Israel and the Arabs continues to concern space.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/louis-bene-beres/war-terror-and-revolution-israels-special-vulnerability-to-chaos-part-i/2011/08/25/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: