A Response to TPM Reader JB

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TPM Reader JS responds to TPM Reader JB’s note from last night. As I said with JB, I don’t agree with all of the points. But the overall argument hits at what I do believe JB leaves out, which is that the U.S. is still the great power in the region. And the situation in Gaza is umbilically tied to three or four other major regional tension points. To my mind the real issue is that we cannot bring this episode to a close because of Netanyahu’s intransigence which is one part ideology and one part the need to keep his coalition intact which, in turn, keeps him out of jail. That’s a tough reason for a great power to be consumed by an issue.

JB is a classic dot disconnecter. His assertion that Israel is taking too much bandwidth from Ukraine, for example, completely misses the point. I’m going to pretend the assertion that Bibi was trying to suck us into a war with Iran was hyperbole, because it’s ridiculous, bordering on the conspiratorial (Bibi approved the killing of the Iranian general knowing they would shoot 300 drones at Israel and this bank shot would bring the US in against Iran? Lol, lmao even.)

But you really have to want to see no evil and hear no evil to see the significance of what happened when Iran attacked Israel. The normalization deal JB poo-pooed was tested out in real time and succeeded. Why would all of these Sunni states do that? Because they fear Iran and know Israel is the only power in the region who won’t leave when they get a bloody nose. They want us to coordinate it, but they know we run hot and cold in the Middle East.

And Iran, of course, is supplying weapons to Russia to use in Ukraine and China is buying their oil. This is all connected. You can’t say, oh, I want Ukraine to win but Israel can just eat shit until they get rid of Bibi (change Israel to Palestine and Bibi to Hamas and see what reaction you get) again is disconnecting the dots. You can’t just atomize all of these issues no matter how politically convenient it would be for Biden.

Even passing the aid bill showed there is a political connection, more or less, between the dot disconnecters like JB and Trump who think you can just go around ad hoc and treat these issues separately. Whether or not you agree with what we are doing, the fact remains that if we had let Putin grab Ukraine and no one checks Iran in the gulf, this would make a whole number of other crises rise up. Taiwan, Korea, etc. because the US will have more or less said America First. That’s fine we can do that, but your iPhone and Starbucks won’t exist or will cost twice what they do now if our global economy is messed up. I’m sure that will be a political winner.

Bibi’s own major failing is also disconnecting the dots. He’s so big mad at Fatah for his brother? for what? That he won’t let them turn Gaza into Area A, a major improvement, and go for that normalization deal, which, is far from the fantasy JB says since it exists with two gulf states as well as much as any Trump accomplishment goes into a memory hole. Bibi was Mr. Iran for over a decade and now his political survival and ancient loathings are blocking him from striking a massive blow against Iran and its vision for the Middle East.

So good luck with getting calm just by twisting Israel’s arm on Gaza. What about the north? Are they just supposed to leave 100,000 people scattered around the country? What about Iran? 

I sure hope our government can walk and chew gum at the same time. 

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