FOLLOWING THE POWELL DOCTRINE
By Boris Shusteff
"America loves a winner."
After Secretary of State Colin Powell reprimanded Israel for daring to drive her tanks into Arafat-controlled territory, declaring that Israel's response to mortar shelling of areas inside Israel proper was "excessive and disproportionate," it became absolutely clear that there is only one road that Israel can choose. What Israel must do was explained by Jay Nordlinger, the managing editor of the "National Review." He wrote on April 18, "We should remember the fundamental and horrible fact that Israel is engaged in a war. The objective of the Israeli government should not be to respond 'proportionately'; it should be to win the war, and the sooner the better."
How strange it is that Powell was frightened by Israel's tanks and, through State Department spokesmen Richard Boucher announced, that "there can be no military solution to this conflict." Not long ago, during his Senate confirmation hearing, America's future Secretary of State described the "Powell Doctrine" the following way: "Let's apply decisive force because that tends to get it over with quickly, and it tends to save casualties in the long run." The "Chicago Sun Times," which reminded us about this episode on April 19, asked a very legitimate question, "If it's a good idea for the United States, why shouldn't it be sound policy for Israel as well?"
Powell's new position strangely coincides with a tendency that crystallized among the Israeli leaders during Ehud Barak's tenure. They continually declared that Israel was either unable or simply must not defeat the Palestinian Arabs. One of the leading defeatists, Former Justice Minister Yossi Beilin, who cannot become used to being an ordinary citizen, appalled by Sharon's decision to send tanks into Gaza said on April 18: "I see the conquering of part of Gaza as a big mistake. It is a deterioration of the situation. It deepens the hatred. The last thing we need to do is win the war. We would be back in all the places we wanted to leave"(1).
Why is Beilin so afraid of Israel's victory? We can find an answer in the theories of various leftist Israeli professors, according to which the Arabs are severely lacking in self-esteem, which is apparently all Israel's fault. Israel is guilty of winning six wars, and by doing this she has deprived the Arabs of their self-esteem. According to the theory, in order for the Arabs to be able to force themselves to sign a peace treaty with Israel, they must feel themselves to be the winners. Let us recall that the same logic was championed by former American Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who dreamt that the Arabs should "punish" Israel a bit during the Yom Kippur War. It is well-known how that almost ended.
The fact that this screwed up logic does not hold up to any criticism can be easily seen from the results of Israel's hasty departure from Lebanon. Today very few people can be found, who will not admit that it is this departure that boosted the morale of the Arabs in the streets. It is because of it that the Palestinian Arabs decided to create another "Lebanon" for Israel in the lands of Judea, Samaria and Gaza (Yesha). At the same time, what is happening on the Israeli-Lebanese border does not help the arguments of those who are dreaming of "at least a small Arab victory." Hizballah was not only unsatisfied with its "victory" (as it is called by the media in the Arab world), but became even more aggressive. The capture of the three Israeli soldiers, who became hostages, and the constant border provocation that has already claimed lives of three more Israeli soldiers speak for themselves. Hizballah does not make it a secret that, in order to gain complete self-esteem, it needs to "expel the Israeli occupiers from all of Palestine" and, first and foremost, to "liberate Jerusalem."
The astounding gaps in the logic of the supporters of an "immediate peace" with the Arabs are frightening. On April 19 Amnon Rubinshtein wrote an article in the Israeli daily "Ha'aretz," in which he stated that "no Israeli government could put up with Palestinian air control." He explained further that since Austria, Germany and Japan accepted a lot of militarily concessions according to the treaties signed as a result of World War II, the Palestinian Arabs should also accept concessions of this issue. He does not see why "Palestine cannot develop without full military control over its air space."
The esteemed professor somehow misses an extremely simple explanation. The truth is that Austria, Germany and Japan lay in ruins, completely defeated during the war. Therefore, they were forced to accept the conditions set for them by the victorious Allies. If the Allies had decided that the populations of the defeated countries could move about only on horseback and automobiles would be forbidden for use, then it would have been so. Beggars cannot be choosers, they must be satisfied with what they are given.
Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote on April 19 that Colin Powell, when he was a General, explained how he would defeat the Iraqi army. He said: "First we're going to cut it off. Then we're going to kill it." In order to defeat the very second-class Iraqi army Powell assembled "540,000 troops, 4,000 tanks, 1,800 airplanes, 1,700 helicopters, 6 aircraft carriers, submarines, etc." (2). Notably, at that time not a single mortar shell fired by the Iraqis reached the American soil. Americans visited cafeterias and supermarkets, and rode buses without being afraid of becoming the victims of a suicide terrorist attack. Their schoolchildren were not blown up, nobody was training the telescopic sights of a weapon onto their babies, and American drivers were not obsessed with the thought that they could be killed by a sniper driving along American highways.
A statement by a high ranking Israeli army officer was recently published in the Israeli press, stating that "Israel cannot use her aviation and tanks since it has not declared war on Arafat." Well, there is a very simple solution to this dilemma. The time is long overdue to declare war on Arafat and his cohorts. They should be cut off and all of them should be destroyed. At the end we are talking about the survival of a sovereign state, a member-nation of the UN, which has all of the rights to self-defense according to Article 51 of the UN Charter.
When, on December 20, 1989, a 25,000-strong American offensive force unleashed all of its might in Panama City in an operation to eliminate narcotics dealers, the Americans were not concerned that the Israeli government might condemn them for their use of the excessive and disproportionate force. "Several hundreds of Panama City civilians were killed in the first few hours of the attack"(2). The Americans did not have pangs of conscience about this "collateral damage." Attorney General Thornburgh stated on December 20, 1989 that the US was acting in accordance with article 51 of the UN Charter.
And it is doubtful that the civilian Panamanians hated the Americans to the extent that the Palestinian Arabs hate the Israelis. A recently published April 2001 Jerusalem Media and Communication Center Opinion Poll showed that 80% of the Arabs living in Judea Samaria and Gaza support "the continuation of the current Intifada;" 78% support a "military resistance Intifada;" and almost 74% support "suicide bombings against Israeli civilians."
Israel is a sovereign state, and nobody - no other country in the world nor any international body - has any right to tell her what sort of measures Israel should or should not undertake for its self-defense. Moreover, only Israel can determine the degree of danger. Having allowed Arafat to come to Yesha, and given weapons to the Palestinian Arabs, Israel has created a monster that threatens her survival. When dealing with Arafat and his gangs Israel would be well-advised to use as her motto the words of Taras Bulba, one of the heroes of the great Ukranian writer Gogol, who told his traitorous son, "I begot you, and I will kill you." 04/23/01
1. Ewen MacAskill, diplomatic editor. "Sharon's breach of Oslo was step too far." The Guardian. April 18, 2001.
2. 104th issue of Straight From The Jerusalem. www.acpr.org.il.04/20/01.
Boris Shusteff is an engineer. He is also a research associate with the Freeman Center for Strategic Studies.