Giap’s Insight

Via Lex: Hamas’s forever war against Israel has a glitch, and it isn’t Iron Dome

[The two retired Israeli generals] were avid students of military history, including of the Vietnam conflict. They applied for visas and made a special request to the Vietnamese authorities: to meet General Vo Nguyen Giap.
Unexpectedly, the request was approved. Giap agreed to meet them. When the Israelis arrived in Vietnam, they sat down with the man who by then had spent decades as his country’s defense minister. It was a long meeting, as [Gen.] Ben Hanan would later recall to Eran Lerman, a former top-ranked IDF intelligence officer and later deputy national security adviser. Lerman, now at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, told the story to this writer.

When the Israelis rose to leave, Giap suddenly turned to the Palestinian issue. “Listen,” he said, “the Palestinians are always coming here and saying to me, ‘You expelled the French and the Americans. How do we expel the Jews?’”
The generals were intrigued. “And what do you tell them?”
“I tell them,” Giap replied, “that the French went back to France and the Americans to America. But the Jews have nowhere to go. You will not expel them.”
The war abroad and the war at home
It’s no accident that Giap’s final observation stuck so vividly in Ben Hanan’s mind, or in Lerman’s.
There is a profound tragedy here for the Palestinian cause. Even as it gains overseas support at levels unseen since the 1970s, those supporters, largely ignorant of the strategic discourse within the Palestinian national movement, have spent the past 11 days lining up squarely behind the very party that has driven the Palestinian cause into a brick wall.

Related: A fighter to the end: Meir Dagan’s daring life

14 thoughts on “Giap’s Insight”

  1. He certainly was a top notch strategist. I have been reading this fascinating book by Robert Mason called Chickenhawk. It is about Mason’s time, from training, to a Huey pilot in some of the roughest fighting, such as Ia Drang.

    He got into the Vietnamese way of thinking. Something the “whiz kids” of McNamara et al never considered.

  2. Long before General Giap, Chinese strategist Sun Tzu advised in his “Art of War” that a wise general never staged a battle in which his enemy’s back was to a river and the enemy had nowhere to run. Then the enemy’s only choice was to fight to the death, and the outcome of the battle would be very uncertain. (In contrast, the general’s own forces would be able to turn and run, and facing unexpectedly strong resistance might chose that option).

    The Palestinians face something of the same problem themselves, with no place to run. They are much more popular among the Western Usual Suspects than they are with fellow Arabs. That is why the Egyptians built a border wall between themselves and the Palestinian territories. Ever since Palestinians in Kuwait lined up behind invader Saddam Hussein, Arab countries have been very dubious about having large numbers of Palestinians on their territories.

    But we could broaden this to the actions of the Leftie Usual Suspects in the West with their wokeness and their cancel culture. Are the Lefties foolishly attacking the Normals without leaving Normals an avenue for escape? If Sun Tzu was right, the outcome may severely surprise those Lefties.

  3. I have known a number of Palestinians. All were Christian and had been smart enough to get out. They are intelligent people and many have done pretty well in the West. Those that stayed may have been less intelligent and they are certainly all Muslims, although a few like George Habash, were Christian terrorists.

    They have been unfortunate in their leaders, like Arafat who was called “The Tunisian” when he came back to Lebanon. Arafat, an Egyptian, walked away from the best offer the Palestinians will ever get. Dennis Ross, the negotiator for Clinton wrote an op-ed about it at the time.

  4. The Israelis are taking the West Bank for themselves and will continue to do this. Its the Palestinians who have their back against the wall.

    I fear for Israel, well its people, as it will lose this war. We are almost to 10/1 casualties which the Palestinians can and will sustain. The much vaunted Israeli armed forces will not prevail without American help, if wider conflict breaks out. Hizbollah won the last war, and Israel retreated after being bloodied. Their vastly superior missile capacity will make the latest Gaza efforts in this area seem very small. As well you have a battle hardened Syrian army with Russian weapons. The only reason the Israeli air force survives is that they have not had their bases targeted. They only way they can strike into Syria as they often do, is by never entering Syrian air space, which would get them shot down. They loiter over Lebanon and the missiles do the work.

    On another note, you might have noticed the US is retiring its F22s early. I would guess its because the Su35s playing pin the tail on the donkey in Syria with them have demonstrated exactly how stealthy they are. The F35s are considerably less stealthy.

  5. Van Creveld’s “As I Please” blog always has an interesting historian’s take on current and future events.

    Cousin Eddie

  6. “Hope is not a substitute for objective evaluation.”

    Indeed the Israelis are in real danger, because of this. Believing your own propaganda is always dumb.

    Watched the Houthies just trashing Saudis and their mercs, a little while ago. Those kids in sandals are just amazing. Watched the Lebanese war in 2006 as well. The kids in that war were impressive too. “We hunted them like birds” A 17 year old Kornet group commander talking about their exploits potting Merkvas. The 16 year old kid who drove the Kornets was a gamer ace with a controller.

  7. The Israelis have the second best Air Force in the world, and an Army that may be the best. The Palestinians have kids throwing rocks and fools launching oversized pop bottle rockets. The only thing that saves the Palestinians is the restraint of Israel. There is not a thing in Gaza or the West Bank that will survive as long as 30 seconds past a decision that its destruction is necessary.

    It would take far less than a day to render both places uninhabitable, blacked out with no water, sewer or any transportation and the Palestinians are completely powerless hinder that in any way. The only reason that Israel has refrained is because of basic decency and the realization that the Palestinians are incapable of inflicting serious damage and always will be.

    The Israelis are flying sorties into Syria and Lebanon almost daily. Unmolested by the Russians that have the only possible defense. So far, the Syrians have managed to bag one Russian plane and one Russian ship.

    The Israelis tolerate the Palestinians because they are impotent.

  8. I think the Israelis are also impressed by “world opinion,” a mistake in my opinion. The real risk is not the Hamas or PLO idiots. It is Iran and the suicide ideology in the Shi’ite psyche. Maybe if Obama had supported the green revolt, the 98% of Persians would have won out. Mosque attendance is at 2%. The birth rate is below Europe. As the military age cohort declines, the suicide urge might intensify.

  9. Just got back from a 20 State Drive and stopped at the San Jacinto Monument outside Houston Texas.

    It was Sam Houston’s strategy to keep retreating before the superior army of Santa Anna until he could get them boxed in by the bay

    Then he decimated them.

    Good comments here.

  10. Don’t forget George Washington, Mao and Ho Chi Minh among many more. They, of course, were true insurgents. As proven in Iraq and Afghanistan, still the perfect strategy to tie an army still re-fighting WWII in knots.

  11. A danger to Israel right now is that it depends on the US for resupply of many of its armaments. This leaves them vulnerable to the whims of the Biden administration and an increasingly anti-Semitic democrat party.

  12. The Israelis are flying sorties into Syria and Lebanon almost daily.

    No they don’t fly over Syria. They lost an F16 to an S200 in Feb 2018 and now just loiter over Lebanon.

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