Humility doesn’t mean loathing yourself or pretending you’re worse than you are. It means understanding your limits and avoiding self-destructive hubris — of the kind that toppled Lucifer, drove Napoleon into Russia, and led Americans after the fall of the Soviet Union to imagine we’d “ended history.”
“Hubris” is the sense that too many guys after too many beers often have that they’re invincible … and maybe it’s time to go tell those noisy immigrants over there to pipe down and “act like Americans.” No matter that there are ten of them, or that some look pretty strong. What are you, some kind of coward?
And anyway, you remember that one of them treats his dogs pretty badly, while another breaks labor laws, and a third lets his son sell weed out of his house. If you don’t do something now, you’re acting like … that guy with the walrus moustache who gave in to Hitler. “Erkel” Chamberlain? You aren’t sure, but what does it matter … ?
Not a Patriot, Not a Friend
A friend who goads you to act on impulses like this isn’t really your friend. And politicians who jack up this kind of attitude among citizens aren’t really patriots. Keep that in mind the next time Liz Cheney, Lindsey Graham, or Dan Crenshaw starts pounding his chest like a silverback gorilla, and declaring that this or that threat to American interests is “the new Hitler.” And if you don’t agree you’re an “isolationist” or an “appeaser.”
I’m here to talk about the grim, real-world limitations we face in dealing with the crisis in the Middle East. In the broad sense by “we” I mean Americans, Israelis, and other Westerners faced with the implacable evil of militant Islam. When I speak more narrowly than that, I’ll say, “We Americans” or “We Christians.” It’s important to remember that these categories don’t perfectly overlap. Nor do all our interests.
In the spirit of humility, I’ll admit that I don’t have what it takes to offer a plausible, palatable peace plan that would resolve the Middle East. If you meet someone who really does, congratulations: You have ID’d the Antichrist.
Welcome to the Engine Room of the H.M.S. Titanic
I can’t pilot this ship of state safely through the icebergs. But I do see where they are, while many Americans don’t. That keen eye for looming catastrophes led me to vote third party for president in 2000, and oppose both the Patriot Act in 2001, and the Iraq War in 2003. None of that was because I was an “unpatriotic conservative,” the term coined by Canadian jingoist and Bush speechwriter David Frum, who is now an open leftist. It was because I loved my dad enough not to urge him into stupid, useless fights.
Israel’s enemies will settle for nothing less than its citizens jumping en masse into the sea.
So I’m going to lay out the hard facts, both moral and material, about the confrontation in the Middle East today. I leave it to wiser heads than mine to figure out the prudent path that evades these brick walls and landmines. But if someone you’re listening to insists on driving straight through them at 85 mph, you’ll know that you’ve spotted a rogue or a dangerous fool.
The Hamas Attack on Israel Means a “Two-State Solution” Is Dead
The overwhelming majority of residents of the Gaza Strip support Hamas, a rabidly jihadist Islamic group that seeks to exterminate Israelis. It’s unclear what percentage of those elsewhere who back the Palestinian Authority favor peaceful co-existence with Israel on any terms at all. It’s likely a low one, and sinking. No policy Israelis could adopt short of jumping en masse into the sea would likely change that.
The bitterness dividing Israeli and Palestinian is as deep, or maybe deeper, than the enmity between Czechoslovaks in 1945 and the country’s German minority, which had aided and welcomed Hitler. The solution in 1945 was obvious to the Allies: the Germans would have to go. All of them, quickly and in a large group, to Germany immediately — whether a defeated Germany wanted them or not. The process was ugly and cruel, but that historic ethnic conflict was finally resolved.
Likewise in the early 1990s, the U.S. acknowledged that the Croatians and the Serbs in each other’s newly independent countries were unlikely to live there peacefully. So large scale ethnic removal was imposed on those populations, which the U.S. government winked at. The result? An end to that regional war. By contrast, in Bosnia, where we tried to prop up a “multicultural” country, the civil war raged for years.
You Can’t Find a Two-State, Jew-Nazi Solution
Are you getting the picture? There’s zero likelihood that in 20 years both the Gaza enclave and the State of Israel will exist. History will pick one, and the other will be emptied of its current population. The only question is which. Israel right now is acting to ensure its own survival, given that its Jews have literally nowhere else in the world to go … except if perhaps (by a long and gruesome route) the survivors of a Muslim pogrom wash up here in America, stripped of all their belongings like their ancestors after the Holocaust.
Some in Israel are boldly talking right now about the need to remove from Gaza its millions of jihadis, and dump them in some mostly empty Muslim country — of which there are plenty, though none are willing. That seems like the least bloody solution in the long run, short of every Israeli simply moving to the U.S. tomorrow.
Our Fingerprints Can’t Be on This
Less bloody, that is, if the Israelis’ attempt to do this doesn’t spark a Third World War, which it very well might. If the U.S. is perceived as backing such an ethnic cleansing, it almost certainly would. (Read this sobering analysis which proves that alarming claim.) And here’s the thing about such a war: Even if it doesn’t go nuclear, we very well might lose.
Donald Trump, for all his faults, enacted a brilliant policy in the Middle East, managing to align major Arab countries with Israel against the threat of Iran. That was the last chance for a reasonable outcome in the region. But it’s lost forever, thanks to Deep State apparatchiks, cowardly GOP governors, and judges who — unlike the Superior Court Judge in Connecticut who just overturned the results of the Bridgeport mayoral primary — refused to consider election fraud claims on the merits.
Now the whole region is united against us, aligned with China and Iran — and the Russia we drove into China’s arms, via cheap stunts like the Russia Hoax and power-grabs like extending NATO right up to Russia’s borders. (Read this detailed explanation of just how completely American power has collapsed in that part of the world.) Even if we (somehow) had an honest election in 2024, and Donald Trump won, American power in the Middle East is not coming back in our lifetime.
That’s what happens to countries that let crime families like the Bidens take power. Act like Honduras in the 1950s, end up like Honduras in the 1950s.
Israel Stands Alone
Israel is on it own. That’s probably as it should be, since we don’t have the guts, the wisdom, or even the power at this point to influence the outcome. The best thing for both countries right now would be for Israel to “go rogue,” reject U.S. advice and assistance, and act resolutely to transfer all the Gazans to some location where they can do no harm — perhaps some conquered tract in Iraq or Syria … it doesn’t really matter. Because the Muslim countries that claim to love Palestinians won’t accept them or protect them. They want them chained up like pit bulls menacing Israel — not happy, prosperous, or safe. The Arab regimes don’t care about the Palestinians any more than the Turks care about the Uyghurs. (Egypt just threatened to start a total war with Israel costing “millions of lives” to keep the Palestinians out.)
There’s zero likelihood that in 20 years both Gaza and Israel will exist. History will pick one, and the other will be emptied. The only question is which.
Israel realizes all this, and if it wants to survive it will act accordingly. But the U.S. can’t back its play, intervene if it fails, or otherwise risk a catastrophic war against the whole Muslim world, plus nuclear superpowers that are ruled by steely-eyed statesmen … not rogue intelligence agencies and senile crooks. Given our corrupt elites and anti-American media, we couldn’t even hold Afghanistan.
But hey, at least we got rid of mean tweets.
John Zmirak is a senior editor at The Stream and author or co-author of ten books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism. He is co-author with Jason Jones of “God, Guns, & the Government.”