Thursday, May 03, 2007

One Final Thought

The political situation in Israel is I think a fitting summation of the basic beliefs I expressed in this blog. Hopefully the grossly incompetent left-wing tetrarchy of Olmert, Livni, Peretz, and Halutz is soon to end. I'm not in Israel so I'm not certain of the exact situation but from news reports it appears the Israeli people would easily elect Benyamin Netanyahu to replace Olmert should he finally give into the near universal pressure to resign.

Part of the reason for this extra post is also that I wanted to give a shout out to Netanyahu. He was one of the first world leaders I became aware of and liked when I was in middle school back in 1995. I think he has served his country extremely well as Prime Minister then and more recently as Finance Minister (where he was called "Thatcherite", all I need to know to like him). With Israel facing potentially the greatest crises in her recent history, and with the US/UK essentially rudderless and apparently unwilling to do anything, I can only hope that for Israel's sake there are elections soon and the Israeli people elect Netanyahu with a sizable margin of victory. If we again leave it to the Jews to deal with our problems they will need a firm, competent, resolute Prime Minister at the helm.

The political problems in Israel are a far more extreme version of the problems besetting the Western world in general. Israel’s case is more extreme since the threat of militant Islam is most acutely felt there and the ineptness of the current prime minister is hard to match. Even though the rest of the West doesn’t stand to lose as much as Israel should militant Islam emerge triumphant, we will still lose plenty. That alone isn’t much to fear since Islam, nor anyone else for that matter, has the slightest hope of defeating a confident responsibly led West. The worrisome aspect of this is that the West seems to be generating a string of actual and potential leaders who are utterly, almost farcically, unsuited to lead. Olmert in Israel may be the most egregious example of this but he is not alone. Canada has Paul Martin, France Dominique de Villipan, Britain Gordon Brown, Germany Gerhardt Schroeder, Italy Romano Prodi, Australia Mark Latham and we in America had John Kerry with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama waiting in the wings. All of these people share several traits, they are from the far left, consider every problem through domestic political lenses, prefer sweet talk to substantive action, seem to have little understanding of history, national honor, power politics, or shifting global power balances, and view leading their country as another stop on their journey of self fulfillment not as a solemn duty contingent on what’s best for their country (hence the difficulty of getting rid of them as can be seen with Olmert).

Many would compare this current crop of left-wing leaders to the group who led Western democracies in the 1930’s. I think that is unfair to Chamberlain and Daladier. Unlike today’s wannabe appeasers, they at least understood what they were doing, what the potential consequences of their actions were, and why despite that they still considered it worth the risk. They also did wake up to the threat posed by Hitler prior to the war (though it was too late for a democracy to get itself on a war footing in time). Today’s appeasers seem to not know any of those things. It’s also unclear if they will ever wake up seeing as not even the destruction of two of our largest skyscrapers was enough to rouse them. Say what you will about Chamberlain but I’m pretty sure had Hitler bombed Big Ben and St. Paul’s he would have at the very least stopped the appeasement policy. As the adage goes, the first appeasement was a tragedy, this second appeasement, should it happen, would be a farce.

Of course there are good-great leaders still around. I’d obvious list Netanyahu as one but there are several others both in the West and outside of it. I always intended to a series of posts entitled “Jarod’s Leaders” detailing why I like them. Just to list them in no order, they are John Howard of Australia, Alvaro Uribe of Columbia, Junichiro Koizumi and Shinzo Abe of Japan, Vladimir Putin of Russia (probably my favorite), Silvio Berlusconi of Italy, and Jose Aznar of Spain. The most important thing that separates these leaders from the leftist group listed before is that under them their nations have prospered both internally and externally.

So in summation the key points of this is that contrary to what these leftist leaders believe history never ends, the world will keep turning, and success is never final. We in the West need to elect leaders who understand that we can either choose the arduous road of maintaining our peace, prosperity, and security or we will be forced down the terrible road of fighting to hold onto what prosperity and security we can. Otherwise we may learn all too well that while Rome wasn’t built in a day, she did fall in a day.


  1. Interesting comparison between today's appeasers, and the those of the '30s.

    I think you are right, that this generations' crop of appeasers is worse; as you pointed out, Chamberlain approached the policy as a calculated risk, and accepted war when it blew up. The Left today isn't that smart.

    Since you are interested in Israeli politics, you find these posts of mine to be good reading:

    I'm no pundit; these are just my takes on what's been going on. The problem with Bibi is twofold: as Finance Minister, and PM, he is seen as responsible for the tremendous inequities in Israeli society today (the largest gap between poor and rich in the Western world), and he is also seen as 'in it' for his own ambition.

    Personally, I think he'd be best in the Foreign Ministry, where his erudition, charm, wit, and vast knowledge of history and debate would serve Israel to the best advantage.

  2. The problem with Netanyahu is that he has a weak backbone.

    He talks a good talk, but when push comes to shove (though he needs a stronger push & shove than the rest) he also folds under pressure (such as in Hebron, or with his recent statement that he "won" a concession from Assad for the Hermon mountain).

    Perhaps with Sharansky forcefully behind him to help him keep his eye on the goal and reminding him that real peace can't be made with a dictatorship he could be better.

    I agree he would make an excellent Foreign Minister.

    He also made a big mistake as Finance Minister.

    There is no doubt that his finance reform ideas were right, but he made a big mistake.

    It's good he tried to reduce government expenditure, taxes, spending, and begin privatizing, but (a) he didn't go far enough, for instance he lowered VAT to 15.5%, but that was only after he upped it from 17% to 18% for half a year or so. A token reduction.

    True there are long term plans to lower other taxes, but again, too little, too slow (and other taxes replaced them, such as a serious increase on employee vehicles).

    And then we get to problem (b)which is that it is very nice that he reduced government budgets, but when a significant portion of the economy relies on government spending (the government is the largest buyer from the private sector) but he doesn't first create (or open up) alternative markets, all he did was strangle local business who didn't have an local alternative as to who to sell to.

  3. Like I said, Joe, we need to put him where his strengths will work to our advantage, and keep his weaknesses out of the limelight.

  4. Sorry for not responding, and a double thanks for commenting even after I wasn't.

    Well as I said I don't know a whole lot about the Israeli political scene. I know more I would presume than most non-Israelis but that's not saying much. I think I'll just say that since JPost columnist Caroline Glick seems to be taken with him and since I rather like her I'll have to go with her on this one.

    At any rate, no matter how vain or ambitious he would still do a much better job than either Olmert, Barak, or the dreadful Peres at this point in time. I think its safe to say that even a monkey would do a better job than Olmert.

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    Genting Princess