Friday, January 09, 2009

Great Power Politics

I'm not the biggest fan of David Bernstein's posts on Israel, but this one detailing the effect of the Soviet Union on the development of the Israeli/Arab conflict strikes me as an important contribution. It shouldn't be surprising that a country as small as Israel would be vulnerable to the machinations of great power politics. Around the world, the US and the USSR were dividing the world into spheres of influence which obviously ratcheted up tensions between neighbors who never knew if they'd be subject of the latest proxy war. Israel behaved defensively after the 1967 war because its neighbors were well equipped and financed by the Soviet Union, which had already proven itself implacably hostile to both Israel and Jews. Meanwhile, the US was compelled to support Israel not just because it was opposed to USSR proxies, but because Israel was different from your average minor power in that it possessed nukes and thus had a greatly increased chance of sparking off WWIII.

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