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  • Bumper Sticker Sighting

    Posted by David Foster on July 15th, 2008 (All posts by )

    Saw a car today with two bumper stickers–one said “Support Israel” and the other was some kind of pro-Democratic-Party statement.

    It struck me that this was like a car in 1938 Britain with bumper stickers (did they have bumper stickers in those days?) saying:

    “Keep Czechoslovakia Free”

    and

    “Support Neville Chamberlain”

     

    13 Responses to “Bumper Sticker Sighting”

    1. Steve Skubinna Says:

      I live near Seattle, and on my visits to the city there are many opportunities for liberal watching. I noted a few years back that any car with a “Free Tiber” sticker was about 80% likely to also sport a “No War in Iraq” one. It puzzled me for a while, for stupidly I wondered how you could advocate freedom for one oppressed nation and demand another remain under the yoke.

      Then I realized that they are not using “free” as a verb. The sticker is equivalent to one proclaiming “I like Cheddar!” or “More pizza!”

    2. Lexington Green Says:

      The analogy, fortunately, is not that strong.

      Israel is nothing like Czechoslovakia.

      Israel has nuclear weapons. Real, deliverable weapons. Not something someone cooked up that can go “boom” under lab conditions.

      Everyone in the region knows it, too.

      If the Israelis really did need the USA to survive, they would be well and truly screwed. Eventually we would elect someone who puts Israel’s survival at risk, and even one moment of opening to Israel’s enemies will mean the death of Israel.

      Fortunately, the Israelis do not rely on us to keep them alive.

      If they were less reliant on us they would be freer to use methods that would be more effective to solve their problems, without having to worry about American political opinion.

    3. David Foster Says:

      Lex, the Czechoslovakia analogy is not perfect, but I think it is useful. Israel’s nuclear weapons have done nothing to protect it from year after year of terrorism. Nor can they protect it agains tthe delegitimization efforts that are so popular in the U.N. and among many factions in Europe. Indeed, Iranian nuclear missiles would certainly cause fear–and submission responses, including increased hostility toward Israel–among many within their range.
      Military actions below the nuclear threshold, such as conventional warfare and non-nuclear ballistic missile attacks, could drain Israel’s limited resources.

      A country can be worn down over time by ceaseless attacks and hostility. Democratic administration would be unlikely to provide a level of moral support for Israel equivalent to that from a Republican administration, and it appears certain that a Democratic administration would do nothing serious to prevent an Iranian nuclear capability.

      Also, it’s by no means inconceivable that the Iranian leadership will launch an apocalyptic nuclear attack on Israel–or anyone else who offends them sufficiently–even knowing that they themselves will be destroyed. Hitler wanted Germany to go down in ruins with him. Fidel Castro pleaded with Khrushchev to launch nuclear missiles at the U.S. Is Ahmadinejad saner than Castro?

    4. fred lapides Says:

      bumper stickers are (or wee) strictly an American idea and certainly not seen back then in Europe on cars. Leftists back then fully supported a zionist state (the time referred to did not yet have an Israel)…Chamberlain was as deluded about Hitler as Bush about WMD.

    5. Lexington Green Says:

      David, what I am saying is there is no Chamberlain-equivalent in the USA, because there cannot be. When France and Britain refused to defend the Czechs, they were doomed If the USA failed to defend Israel, Israel would survive without us, maybe it would even be better off after some period of adjustment. The Third Reich was overwhelmingly more powerful than Czechoslovakia. Israel is overwhelmingly more powerful than its neighbors.

      Of course nuclear weapons don’t protect against terrorism. They prevent conventional wars, which do present an existential threat, where terrorism does not. No one has tried a conventional attack on Israel since the October War. No one ever will, either, unless Israel got rid of its nuclear weapons, which they will never do. The whole reason people turn to terrorism and other forms of violent gestures is that a military victory is no longer possible.

      Nuclear weapons also can deter a nuclear attack. Perhaps the Arabs and/or Iranians are too stupid, deluded, hate-filled or insane to be deterred. I doubt it. Leaders in that part of the world send other people out to die as suicide bombers, not their own families. They let other peoples sons die in their wars, not their own.

      “Is Ahmadinejad saner than Castro?” Castro did not have the firing keys, for a reason. I think Castro was ignorant rather than stupid. And he was probably showing off for the Russians. Ahmadinejad will be out of office next year, unless we go to war first, in which case he may survive. That is what he wants.

      As to “delegitimation in the UN” and “ceaseless hostility”, the Israelis had better not get “ground down” by it. They settled themselves in Palestine, among Muslims. There will NEVER be a time when the hostility ends. There will NEVER be a time when Israel can lower its guard. There will NEVER be a time when the Iron Wall can come down. Vladimir Jabotinsky was right about that. The defeated and humiliated Arabs will never forgive, and never forget, as Jabotinsky also correctly predited. They will have to be dealt a series of crushing, bloody, humiliating defeats, on a regular basis, forever, to keep them at bay. There too many of them to annihilate them, the way the USA did to the Apaches, for example. The Jews wanted Palestine, they got it, and they have to live with the neighborhood as it is, was, and ever shall be. If they do not have the moral stamina to fight to keep their country they will lose it. That would be sad. I hope it never happens.

    6. Ginny Says:

      Somewhat off topic: The powerful pagan rituals of Heydrich’s funeral might imply that the Nazis found transcendence in dying for the fatherland, but the current Muslim vision of martyrdom may be stronger stuff. Believing that one’s own family is safe – say, bunkered – might take off that edge Lex gives Israel. On the other hand, “ever shall be” seems reasonable when we hear Osama bin Laden, but such feelings are likely to be muted if societies develop other things to do than nurse grievances.

    7. Lexington Green Says:

      ” The powerful pagan rituals of Heydrich’s funeral might imply that the Nazis found transcendence in dying for the fatherland.”

      Few probably found transcendence in seeing the Fatherland itself destroyed, their homes flattened, and their wives and children incinerated by Allied bombers, or fleeing as refugees and being bulldozed off the road by Soviet tanks. Also, the leaders of Arab and Iranian states have, as an observed fact, not been willing to sacrifice their relatives. The whole reason they are in power is to obtain power and influence for themselves and their extended families. They use ideology to motivate other people to die for their benefit. Nuclear weapons should raise the stakes in this game.

      During the Cold War, we saw a similar dynamic. The Soviet leadership was horrified by the Pershing II missiles going into Germany. How come? We had thousands of missiles aimed at Russia already. Because they were very accurate, and were going to destroy the underground bunkers where the Soviet leadership and their families were going to try to survive a nuclear war. We were saying, you, personally, and your families, will die in the opening minutes of World War III. (So, for this and other reasons, the “Cold War ended”,meaning the Communist leadership “privatized” the country’s assets into bank accounts they controlled, and shut down the whole bogus business about communism, red flags and the brotherhood of the workers of the world.) Such threats are usually effective if they are believed. Another historical item. Mao was literally insane, probably, during the 1960s, the era of the Cultural Revolution, when China got nuclear weapons, and he said some nutty things. He never used them. This is cause for some hope.

      The Arab and Iranian leadership quite correctly fear the Israelis, who are willing and able to use force to defend themselves. They know that Israel can and likely will release their nuclear weapons and destroy them and most of their populations if Israel is attacked with nuclear weapons.

      Israel is now faced with mutually assured destruction. No one likes that situation.

      We lived with MAD for decades with the Russians.

      MAD may be the one way Israel may actually some day achieve a semblance of “peace” with its neighbors.

      “…if societies develop other things to do than nurse grievances.”

      That is up to them. I see no reason anyone should try to babysit these communities until they learn to behave. I think we will, instead, see them fall into a decline in the decades ahead, as the value of oil from the Mideast declines due to new technology. As their incomes based on subterranean wealth fall, and as their societies’ fundamental incompetence to function under modern conditions loses its oil “cushion” these communities will sink into Sub-Saharan-type conditions, or lower, and basically die out. We live in a world based on trade and once the oil is gone and all the Iranian women are already shipped off to Europe to be prostitutes, they will have nothing left to sell. There will be a lot of desperation and violence accompanying this die-off, probably. We need to be ready for that.

    8. fred lapides Says:

      Any guess as to when oil will run out in the Middle East and when China and India and the US will find it unnecessary to use oil to fuel their economies– and I mean oil for plastic etc and not just for running autos.Iran has been around a lot of years and my guess is that they will hang around a long time more. As for prostitutes in Europe, East Europe sends lots of girls, and Iran and other states, esp. Muslim ones, seem to crank out young ones at an incredible rate.

    9. david foster Says:

      A few more thoughts..

      1)Obama has said that a centerpiece of his administration would be the elimination of nuclear weapons in the world. Can anyone doubt that, under such a policy, tremendous pressure would be exerted on Israel to get rid of its nuclear capability? I can certainly picture an Obama administration, together with a Democratic congress, making nuclear disarmanent a condition of advanced weapons sales and military cooperation with Israel.

      2)I agree with Lex that it is wise for Israel to be as self-sufficient as possible. But a country, especially a small country, cannot be entirely self-sufficient. For instance, I don’t think Israel has much of a steel industry or an aluminum industry; probably not much in the way of chip fab (as opposed to chip design) either. It is dependent on trade with other countries, and again, it’s easy to imagine a Democratic administration, eager to curry favor with international “progressives” banning the export of certain items to Israel–especially if oil prices get much higher and these are blamed on Israel.

      In a dangerous world, a country needs friends and allies, and electing a Democratic administration would risk a sharp decline on the level of friendship Israel can count on from the U.S.

    10. virgil xenophon Says:

      David Foster anticipates my own views. But to add further: Is there any doubt that an Obama Administration (eagerly egged on by squishy State Dept. types) would see pressure on Israel to give up it’s nuclear option as a way to “painlessly” (to Obama) “convince” Iran to eschew obtaining
      it’s own? Everything Obama has said on the subject, taken with the fact of the sort of advisers he surrounds himself with, leads me to that conclusion. Am I wrong?

    11. hahaha Says:

      Please remove any reference to Chicago from your site. It’s bad for my city.

    12. Lexington Green Says:

      “…a centerpiece of his administration would be the elimination of nuclear weapons …”

      That is pure stupidity. He will quickly “flip flop” on that one.

    13. Vince P Says:

      Apparently he never watched Superman IV