Friday, August 29, 2014

Thoughts on Gaza

Insurgencies have an advantage over their opponents in that they do not have to actually militarily defeat them in order to win their political objectives. They just have to not completely lose long enough and they will eventually win. They can in fact militarily lose every single battle and still win the war as happened with the communist victory against the US in Vietnam. Insurgencies can not be defeated by purely military means unless one wishes to commit complete genocide and kill nearly every last single member of the population in revolt. But, this rarely happens, especially in the 20th and 21st  centuries. Even the French in Algeria and the British in Kenya could not go this far. So if there is no political solution acceptable to the colonized population then counter-insurgency can not succeed. A situation develops where the occupier will face sustained guerrilla and terrorist resistance until they give up and go home. Military solutions short of near total annihilation of the occupied population can at best delay such an inevitable defeat. Even total ethnic cleansing like the Soviet deportation of the Chechens can not ultimately succeed if most of the population physically survives as the revival of Chechen armed resistance in the 1990s demonstrates. The Israelis, however, seem to have copied every stupid mistake the French made in Algeria from 1954 to 1959 with even greater incompetence than the original model. So rather than buying time as the Soviet and later Russian actions have done in Chechnya, the Israelis have merely brought themselves closer to ceasing to exist as a state. Even at their most oafish not even the apartheid government in South Africa was as stupid as the current Israeli leadership. Until a few years ago I believed that it was possible for the Israelis to still reach a South African style solution with the Palestinians. The possibility of a two state solution permanently ceased almost two decades ago. But, now after the latest Israeli assault on Gaza which is a clear political victory for the Palestinians, I believe we have entered a phase where the end outcome will look a lot more like Algeria's "the suitcase or the coffin" than South Africa's "one man, one vote." It will still be many years before there is a Free Palestine from the River to the Sea, but I now believe it will happen in my lifetime.

1 comment:

Jeff Donnelly said...

Another insurgency that won the final battle: George Washington and the Continental Congress.