The Arrogance of the Advice-Givers - Barry Rubin

September 16th, 2009

My introduction:
The 1993 Peace Accord was one of the worse agreements and event in Israel recent history. I was full of hope but doubtful. I talked with my older brother, a leftist peace activist and suggested that if Israel forces leave the Palestinian territories, all hell will break loose since Israel security presence there and the cooperation of well paid Palestinians kept the Arabs from murdering Israelis at will. Pinhas told me that if they behave like that we will crash them with out superior power.
So much for not understanding that the game changed and it is no longer army vs. army but Asymmetrical war. Individual Arab terrorists attack you at will and you can not send full force against them without killing innocent civilians.
But that ignorance of reality should not have come from an Israeli government leaders nor from Pinhas, a past leader in the Lechi Underground, in which I was also a member, joining at age 15.. This was the technique we have used against the British forces. However, with great difference. We went afeter British policemen and soldeirs only to create political pressure, and that means, minimal attacks on the British forces and definitelly not against civilians.

Israel lost of that wisdom with its eagerness for peace, and idealists like President Peretz and naive Rabin pushed Israel to a unrealizable agreement. That agreement was one sided. Israel pursue peace, give Arafat control of 97 percent of all the Palestinians and the Arabs organize to create terror by murdering as many Israeli civilians as they could.
We suffer a lot in Israel, and year after year we lost our idealism and trust in the Palestinian leadership.
The Rest you know, but not the Europeians, not the new US Administration. They "know" what to do to get peace there, despite lack of experience, and no understanding the nature of the Arab minds. What arrogance, what level of unrealistic idealism!
Matania

The Arrogance of the Advice-Givers - Barry Rubin (New Republic)

It seems to be accepted wisdom in Washington and European capitals that Israelis are so stupid about their country, situation, and region on the life-and-death issues which they have been dealing with for decades that they must be saved in spite of themselves by people who have no knowledge or experience on any of these things. No other country in the world is so frequently told this.

Is it so hard to comprehend that Israel's views and behavior are based on years of experience? That we know best how to save ourselves and have been doing a far better job of it, against tremendous odds, than many others? That heeding their prescriptions would be disastrous, in fact have already proven so? After all, the tragic history of the last 20 years has largely resulted from listening to such advice.

Today, the last thing Israelis need or want is pressure to make more concessions to the Palestinians. They've already made a lot; these didn't lead anywhere good. What Israel needs today is not "tough love" but real support.

The writer is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal.

Global Impotance to Stop Iran

August 20th, 2009

Iran nuclear weapon program is progressing -- and we continue to talk…

Four years ago I first wrote about the dedication and determination of Iran to develop its nuclear weapons to dominate the Middle East. I concluded that nothing will stop them short of coordinated, massive international pressure, and that pressure is not likely to develop.
It still did not develop despite many impressive, but meaningless words and many meetings.

I would like to discuss briefly two related issues about nuclear Iran. One is the impotence of the global community to stop the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs. The other is the high danger of nuclear weapon proliferation to global peace and stability. The danger to Israel is obvious.

Now four years later we still are talking about putting more pressure on Iran. And Iran is again offering to talk, while Iran had four more years of nuclear development under its belt. Yes, Iran is now four years closer to having its dangerous weapons. In the same time, and even more meaningful, is the international inability to stop the North Korean nuclear program. Think about it, N. Korea is a very poor country, has no friends, has no international commerce, has no military or commercial s allies, and the five cooperating nations: China, US, Russia, Japan and South Korea, are still unable to do anything to stop their nuclear weapon and missile programs. Total international impotence, a very dangerous failing of global security cooperation and the UN security council. If they can not stop N. Korea, how can they stop Iran, a much more powerful nation in the core of the Middle East?

Look at the two press releases below regarding Iran’s nuclear weapon program. The ineffectiveness of international politics is obvious. Are world leaders unable to recognize the absolute dedication of Iran to develop their nuclear weapons? Are we so impotent to pressure them politically and economically?

Kissinger is pointing out, wisely, that once we let North Korea and Iran have nuclear weapons we are opening a Nuclear Pandora Box. Many other nations will start their own nuclear weapon programs. For example, Saudia and Egypt, the two major Arab - Sunni states are extremely fearful of Iran Shiite leadership and their proven expansion policy. Iran is openly and consistently supporting terrorist activities not only in Lebanon- Hizbullah- and Hamas in Gaza, but they had tried to undermine the governments of Saudi and Egypt by direct and hidden terrorism.
Recently Egypt announced that it is going to develop nuclear power, not weapons yet. This is a signal that they are not willing to be subjected to Iran’s nuclear domination and will proceed from nuclear power to nuclear weapons.

Up to now just a few nations had nuclear weapons and we were lucky that no one used them after we used them in WWII. However, if many countries will have nuclear weapons, it is a completely different situation; one or more of them will use it in anger, or it will fall to the hands of terrorists.

Yes, the military option is still available, both in North Korea and Iran, but it is extremely difficult, especially in Iran, with unpredictable results, and should be the last resort.
Matania

Germany, EU Increasingly Ready to Impose Tough New Sanctions on Iran
Berlin and Brussels are increasingly prepared to impose massive embargoes on Iran unless Tehran signals soon that it's ready to compromise in their nuclear dispute. (Der Spiegel-Germany)
See also Iran Prepared for Nuclear Dialogue, Iranian Envoy Says - Laura Rozen
Iran's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency Ali Asghar Soltanieh said on Iranian state television that Iran is ready to talk with Western powers about its nuclear program without preconditions. (Foreign Policy)

Israel/US and Global Warming

August 13th, 2009

Several times in the last three years I tried to influence Israeli security Think-tanks to learn about global warming. They answered me that they deal only with national security and not the environment. This is sad since they do not grasp that global warming is a critical national security issue.
When the climate of a country is severely impacted it is a national security issue. When the water storage in the Kinneret, the main source of water for Israel, is well below the red line and no hope is in sight - it is a national security issue. When Israel must supply a lot of water to Jordan, way beyond Israel's ability, and little water is available, it is a national security issue.When sea water levels are rising and flooding several areas on the shoreline, it is a national security issue.The US military knows it and is planning for it.

So, here is my summary of the critical stage of Global Warming now.
Think about it, we are in in serious troubles and we ignore it both in Israel and the US too.
Obviously, it is a global issue of great urgency.
Matania

Global Warming is unlike any other issue because we have no previous human experience of this magnitude and it is natural to minimize its significance.

 

To paraphrase Neil Bohr, if Global Warming has not shaken you up yet, you probably haven’t understood it.

We must turn upside down our approach to fighting Global Warming because time is of the essence.
Instead of regulating Greenhouse Gases to a level that may have no negative economic impact, we must reduce GHG to the maximum that could be technically and economically implementable.

Some Key Points

  1. Most scientific reports tells us that the current impacts of global temperature rise are worse than estimated earlier, that we are not sure how fast the temperature will rise, and do not know what is the maximum level of GHG nature can tolerate before a catastrophic tipping point could start. Therefore, we must set the tightest limits on global and national GHG levels that we are able to.
  2. Early cuts of GHG have considerably more beneficial impacts than later reductions.
  3. Most proposed cuts in GHG are based on IPCC AR4. However, we can not rely on the AR4 to set limits to GHG emissions since it was politically constrained, ignored potential catastrophic events, and some of its negative predictions have already been exceeded. We now have more relevant data and more insight.
  4. GHG level is already too high thus increasing global temperatures and damaging global climate. We are not sure at what level we must stabilize GHG to prevent even more severe harm to the world population because the complexity of global climate is beyond our actual knowledge. Modeling is approximation. If we err, we must err on the safe side.
  5. The natural self interest of most people distorts their ability to cooperate and follow the need of the larger society. Therefore, there is considerable uncertainty how the laws enacted will effect the actual GHG emissions in the US. And we are one the most law-abiding nations.
  6. The self interest of nations and desire for power of the influentials could severely distort the compliance with global GHG regulations. Think of the oil exporting nations, as a minimum.
  7. Tipping points: There is some low, but not insignificant, probability that increased levels of GHG could trigger catastrophic, massive, uncontrolled releases of GHG that could cause significant increase in global temperatures. That possible temperature increase, beyond 10 C or even 20 C degrees, could cause severe, unmitigated damage to the global climate that could render our Earth essentially uninhabitable.
  8. Regarding the risk of Tipping Points; the catastrophic release of stored GHG. Because this is the only home humanity has, we can not take the RISK of destroying our climate. RISK is the probability times the magnitude of the event. Even with low probability, the enormous magnitude of the potential damage to our globe by catastrophic release of GHG makes the risk massive and unacceptable. Therefore, we must dedicate a high percentage of our global resources to reduce GHG as fast as possible and the largest reduction possible.
  9. Humanity has never encountered a danger to its existence of this level before. We can not truly grasp the seriousness of GW. Even with all the high levels of scientific and technical powers we have, we are unprepared. We do not know what we do not know or understand.
  10. We still operate by “we vs. them” laws. This simply can not work. National and Global cooperation beyond any previous level is mandatory. We depend on one another, especially the US and China.
  11. We, the US, will have to “give” more than other nations. We took the “most” to date. US is 4.5% of global population, occupying 1.9% of Earth surfaces, and emitted to date 30% of all GHG.
  12. We have to be more honest and forward in our international dealing re. GW or we will not get the crucial cooperation required. We would not be able to cover up superficial regulations and minimal actions by public relation bluff, so common in our culture and in Congress. Foreign governments are not likely to buy into that kind of thinking that much of our own public does.
  13. The complexity of global climate, the significant gaps in our knowledge, the uncertainty of GHG laws, their compliance, their possible impacts, global cooperation required, and potential high risk to our survival, put us in a dangerous territory. We do not know what the results of all GHG curtailment laws and effort would achieve. Therefore, we can not use the usual American approach: “don’t worry; everything will turn up right in the end.” We must aim towards minimizing global human suffering and maximizing the chance for human survival.
  14. The initial GHG reductions that we should take now must be decisive, based on proven technologies and real knowledge, not experimental or unproven; that may or may not work, such as Carbon Capture and Sequestration . We can not take the risks of unproven technologies since the C02 that was not cut will remain in the atmosphere for a thousand years. After we accomplish significant GHG reductions, then we can bring proven new approaches on line too.
  15. "We will pay for this one way or another. We will pay to reduce greenhouse gas emissions today, and we’ll have to take an economic hit of some kind. Or we will pay the price later in military terms. And that will involve human lives." GEN. ANTHONY ZINNI, former head Central Command.
  16. To paraphrase Jean Monnet: Global Warming can not be reduced without efforts that are proportionate to the danger which GW threatens humanity.

WE MUST CURTAIL GHG TO THE MAXIMUM LEVEL WE CAN POSSIBLY MANAGE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

Dr. Matania Ginosar
Environmental Scientist
Electrical Engineer. Mgr, R&D Advanced Electronics
Prev. Mgr. of the Solar Energy Office and Mgr. Wind Energy,
California Energy Commission.

Obama and Israel

July 24th, 2009

All my life I have dreamed of peace and harmony with the Palestinians and Arabs, for the benefit of both people. I also have been a democrat all my adult life. I believe we should help the underprivileged in our country and the world. I have dedicated many years to world peace and I believe that a more cooperative and peaceful world are critically important, but I am not an idealist. Idealists, by definition, are not realistic. They often believe so much in the optimum that they neglect essential realities and the lessons in front of them. I have been especially concerned for a long time about president Obama plans for Israel, and unfortunately my concerns seem to be founded.

There is considerable arrogance in an administration, or any person, who comes to a top position and considers every prior leader incapable and/or mistaken. I know how to solve the problem, the previous presidents were either too friendly to Israel or were incapable of seeing the facts.

Louis Hale, the American foreign-policy thinker from the 1950, explained that if you were clinging to a flawed image of the world, no amount of dexterous policy execution could save you from disaster. [The age of Unthinkable]. That is the reason why one US administration after another, for sixty years, has tried to promote peace in the Middle East and failed. Actually the US often tried to impose peace on Israel as if Israel is the cause of the Arab-Israeli conflicts. Since Israel is somewhat under the thumb of the US, it can dictate to the Israeli government whatever it wants, when Congress is not objecting. [That is why AIPAC’s education of Congress is so critical]

Here is the basic scenario: Israel is a country governed by a central government elected by its people, the ONLY democracy in the region. The Israeli government have the ability to force its laws (generally, but not on the Israeli Arab population). So when the US dictates demands to the Israeli government, the Israeli population has to abide by it.
Often, to encourage peace between two nations you influence both leaderships by the carrot and stick technique to find some compromise. Some times it works if you have real carrots and sticks, and the partners ARE WILLING.
But in the Arab-Israeli situation the US can put pressure only on Israel. The Palestinians do what they want, they are not governed by a central government. The Palestinians are loose arrangements of local tribes, powerful families, and endless numbers of small self-governed groups.

Since one US administration after another can not control the Arab streets and people, the only option the US really see is to pressure the Israelis. There is no central control by Fatah and when there is any control it is oriented to the destruction of Israel. All the media in the Palestinian areas is influenced by the desire to eradicate Israel. The education system is geared to the destruction of Israel in particular and Jews and the US in general. So, now, the new, inexperienced Obama administration comes with a new idea, we will show the Arab world we are their friends by pressuring Israel further then before.

Will this lead to any improvement in the prospect for a peaceful coexistence with the Palestinians? Why should it? They will demand more concessions and more billions of dollars. The carrot work for them very well. The Palestinians receives the highest per person monetary support in the world, by a great measure more than people with so much larger needs, but are not oriented to kill us.
Why is the US is the main financial supporter of the Palestinians? Ponder that sometime.

There is no clear benefit to the younger Palestinian generation, over 60% of the population, to seek peace. For 60 years they were raised on Western subsidies, and on a deep hatred towards the Jews and Israel. Killing Israelis is the core honor among many Palestinians. Any one with initiative, desire for a better life, left a long time ago. The majority that remain do not want peace, but eradicating Israel. Listen to their own media, not to the idealist Western media who sanitizes all information that disturbs the Western mind. The ruthless murders of Palestinians by Palestinians are frequent examples. I showed a documentary of Palestinian hatred in their own media to a friend of mine, an idealist Jew, and he was so angry at me for exposing him to the facts on the Arab streets. The reality disturbed his idealism.

So, once again, the US puts pressure on Israel so that the Palestinians will change their attitude and agree to live-and-let-live coexistence with Israel. A nice dream, but devoid of reality. As long as we assume that the Palestinians think and feel the way we feel, we are destined to fail. The Israeli political left has nearly disappeared in the last five years. Most Israelis finally learned that they have no one to talk with. It was a hard lesson. The Obama administration is still clueless and will experiment at the price of Israel.

That is not the way the Arab mind works for centuries. Each Arab country is for its self; the Palestinian cause is not their central concern. Most Arab governments and their citizens despise the Palestinians. No Arab country allowed Palestinians to be normal citizens. Each state, each tribal unit, each family is for itself. Honor is preferred to life.

When the Western world accepts these realities in the Arab world, we may be able to encourage changes in attitudes, and education, as a basis for all future peaceful coexistence.

What is needed is slow process of change in the Palestinian mind, but if it possible in the repressive Arab Middle East, it will take decades. Some security improvements, however, were developed by Israel’s drive to create a local Palestinian police force. That is a beginning that allowed Israel to reduce its forces in the West Bank, and help the Palestinians to govern themselves.
This change and further, more encompassing ones, could not be forced by famous, high titled outsiders, in a media atmosphere, bringing in one political envoy after another. It has to be done quietly, by dedicated, non-famous experts who work continuously and closely with the limited number of moderates Palestinians to encourage the right internal changes in that undemocratic society.

Matania
7/09
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Entertaining video about modern Judaism

May 3rd, 2009

You may want to watch this well done entertainng video about the Jewish "Tribe" today.
Matania

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWbyZapkWRo