Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Middle East: Georgia on everyone's mind

In the Middle East, many of us have Georgia on our minds. A flood of articles have tried to read various meanings into the Russian invasion of Georgia for the Middle East. It will take a while to sort the wheat from the chaff.

For Israelis, the most obvious lesson is supposedly that the US abandoned its ally, Georgia, when the going got tough, as Yoel Marcus notes. However, firstly, those who have been following my writing know that I have been warning about Israeli over-dependence on the United States for a long time (eg United States Mandate for Palestine). The folly of relying exclusively on a single foreign ally is self-evident, and does not need illustration. On the other hand, the Russians are supposedly withdrawing from Georgia (though the withdrawal is not so evident). The opera is not over until the fat lady sings. Who is to say that US and NATO pressure did not help to bring about this withdrawal, if it happens? It should also be noted that despite prior Israeli support for Georgia, Israel was not very forthcoming with military or other practical aid in the present crisis. One is reminded of the proverb about people who live in glass houses.

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