Monday, April 24, 2006

Cuba, Israel - Thorns in the Lions' Paws

As I’m teaching for the first time in over 20 years, I’ve been reviewing some of the old stories with good meanings to use with the kids.  I was recently going through a book of Aesop’s Fables when I came across the story of the thorn in the lion’s paw.  

Of course the thorn in the lions paw is a metaphor, as is nearly everything in the Fables. In this case, it stand for the pain and the aggravation within your own midst, within your reach, that you’re powerless to control.  The lion can swat at the thorn, bat it, rub it against trees and in the dirt, but the pain cannot be diminished, the thorn cannot be removed.

And I realized that just as Cuba was to the United States, Israel is the thorn in the Middle East’s paw.

Cuba and the United States

The Cuban Missile Crisis did not escalate so quickly just because the United States didn’t want nuclear missiles in a communist country in the West.  The Crisis escalated so quickly because Cuba is only miles from Florida, and the US was unwilling to accept a nuclear power so close to the United States’ borders.

But as big as the United States is, and as little as Cuba is, the US was never able to force a regime change or take the country. Regardless of the United States’ actions, Cuba remained the thorn in the country’s paw.  And to this day there are strained relations, if any, between the United States and one of its closest geographic neighbors.

Israel and the Middle East

Israel has been batted at numerous times, unsuccessfully, by their Middle Eastern neighbors and those living within their own borders as well.  War after war, Israel has defied the odds and won, maintaining their existence, and the presence of a clear, inalienable ally to the West within the volatile Middle Eastern region.  

Israel comes complete with very advanced technology including nuclear capability and surveillance on all the Middle Eastern neighbors that surpasses nearly any system in the world in accuracy.  This makes Israel’s presence very dangerous to the Middle East if it is looking to take the vacant roll of a world superpower.

What Israel Should Expect

Already, we have seen Iran, as the front nation in the Middle East’s push for increased world power, begin to push  the envelope, to test the West to see how much we will take before we retaliate against the country, with actions like their nuclear program, inflammatory statements against Israel and Jews in general, and instigating the Mohammed Cartoon Protests.

Iran bets that the US and the West are too weak to react substantively to these actions, what with our present involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.  They even dare the West to retaliate, even threatening to “cut off the hand of any aggressor”.  But this past weak the attention shifted more concretely to Israel, as Iran uses terror to attack the thorn; like in the fable, the thorn can only be removed by a friend, two parties cooperating together.

As much as it pains me to say it, look for these attacks to increase, as Iran dares the United States to defend its favorite international partner. These tests will continue until there is a substantial retaliation, or until Israel is removed from the region, which we all know would never happen without a very bloody fight. This led Ahmadinejad to renew his call for Israel to be wiped off the map.

I hope that I am wrong, and that Iran is simply posturing to back the West into a corner, and that they’ll leave Israel alone, knowing the threat Israel can pose at any given time.  Unfortunately, I suspect this is not the case, and that tumultuous times lie ahead for Israel, unless either Israel or the US is able to make a statement forcefully enough to be heard by Iran.  Scary times for Israel!

One Additional Point

This point is going to be very controversial, and I’m sure I’ll get some flack for it. But as I was doing the posts on superpowers last week, it became apparent that it can be beneficial to Israel that Hamas condones the Iranian-backed terrorist attacks in Israel last week.

Already I hear the anger on the other side of the net.  But think about it; as long as Hamas is an ally to Iran, they act as a deterrent to total destruction of the country, something which Iran may be capable of accomplishing before too long.  Were Hamas to show support for Israel against the terrorist attack, Iran could point to this as a sign of Hamas’ allegiance with the country, and thus justify their destruction.  As is, such justification is harder to come by.

I hate to hear a government that is representative of the Palestinian people condoning terrorist attacks.  But if it keeps Iran from making a nuclear strike at the homeland one day, than I’ll live with it.  Of course, I would hope that the presence of the Dome of the Rock would be enough to deter Ahmadinejad, but I’m not convinced.

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Posted by Scottage at 2:02 AM / | |