HOWARD EPSTEIN: FOUR MORE YEARS AND THEN…?
Last week, I made a clarion call to Oren Yakobovich and Uri Fruchtmann, who empower Arabs with hidden cameras to pick up on IDF abuses, to introduce some balance into their work by kitting out Israelis too so that they can record the evidence that to accuse Israeli of being an apartheid society is a calumny. I ended with a promise to try to contact Yakobovich and to send him the piece. I duly found the website of his organization, Vedere e Credere, and emailed a copy of my article to the contact-us email address. The response was so deafeningly quiet that it would have thrilled a Trappist monk.
It would seem – but appearances can be deceptive – that PM Netanyahu had a good meeting with President Trump, and it can only have been more pleasant than anything he experienced these last eight years at the hands of Obama – or what he would have had to endure from of a president Hillary Clinton. Yet so confused are the messages that emanate from a Trump administration that has barely got into its stride, and so painful is the process of settling the major actors into their roles, that one cannot be sure of anything in the short, medium or long terms.
What we can say, however, is that there is a window of four years certain within which Israel must secure its future beyond that. We know that the intransigent Palestinian leadership can wait it out, and force their long-suffering people to endure continuing nihilism and inertia. They have waited almost seventy years for Israel to stumble fatally (as it almost did in October 1973), so another four is nothing to them.
Of course, in those four years our economy is likely to continue to be amongst the most dynamic in the world, and we can expect exponential advances in hi-tech (rather like Moore’s Law that number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits would double every year – and it still does and probably will until it accelerates even further with the advent of quantum computing). Yet, one feels instinctively that if the Trump administration is kinder to us than any predecessor, things can only get worse once it is over. Let us hope that any present euphoria in Jerusalem is sufficiently tempered to work towards a fundamental improvement in our position, before Trump reverts to being a full-time businessman and TV celebrity.
We should not think that all will be plain-sailing in the interim, since we see Angela Merkel taking us to task over settlements (cancelling a summit conference with us – as though abstinence will be more productive than mixing it) and self-delusionally refusing to meet Trump’s perfectly reasonable call to up Germany’s contribution to NATO from its miserly 1.2% of GDP to the agreed 2%. She seeks to justify that on the basis that the cost to Germany of resettling migrants is a contribution to the security of the West. When some-one as successful as Merkel used to be is that blind to the dangers she imported – though not to the extent that she has not started rolling back on her open door to all-comers policy – you have to worry even more for the future of Europe. Whilst Putin mulls invading the Baltic states – and has put the wind up the Swedes and the Finns, into the bargain – and has three million troops carrying out exercises from time to time that rattle the Ukrainians and the eastern European nations too, the UK’s sending 300 troops to Lithuania has a ring about it that is not so much hollow as tragic. And Britain does spend 2% of GDP on NATO.
Of course, France continues to worry. Marine le Pen, who surely is no more likely to be elected than say Corbyn as UK Labour Party leader (though he was) or Trump as President of the USA (though, in case you missed it, he was) has threatened that, should she become the next President of France, she will require French Jews to return their Israeli passports, should they wish to stay in France. She did not disclose what would happen to those Jews who do so and then try to leave for Israel at some future date. I suppose it could be the Velodrome and a train to some undisclosed destination, “vache-car” class. Jews, gypsies and assorted political prisoners were interned in so many concentration camps throughout France in WWII, it became a full economic sector. If you go to: https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Internment_camps_in_France you can read about all 49 of them.
Of course, Marine may really not be elected this time around but that could open the way for her gorgeous niece who, deceptively, as she looks like beurre would not melt in her bouche, is more of a fascist than tante Marine. The other le Pen girl, Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, is a high-flyer of whom anyone who cannot trace their lineage back to the storming of the Bastille should be very afraid.
And Democrats are afraid of Trump? He did not like the verdicts of the courts on his badly executed five-nation immigration ban – but he cannot change them (except by lawful means) and he accepts that. I should not place too much reliance on a President le Pen being so respectful of the rule of law. I would put money on an état d’urgence being declared in the first week.
As I explained in my book: Guns, Traumas and Exceptionalism: America in the Twenty-First Century, America invokes martial law very sparingly:-
Immediately after the Pearl Harbor attacks, martial law was (surely not surprisingly) declared in Hawaii by its Governor, and in February 1942 by the Department of War along the entire Pacific coast of mainland USA.
And that was that. I should think that it is the furthest thing from the mind of President Trump so whilst he may be unorthodox, he is not the monster portrayed by those on the Left.
So, four more years, and then I expect Israel will be on its own again. Something to ponder on whilst you smoke your Cuban cigars and your wife quaffs the pink champagne….
© 2017 February – Howard Epstein
Howard Epstein is a political commentator and the author of Guns, Traumas and Exceptionalism: America in the Twenty-First Century, recently published by Amazon and on Kindle. He writes:-
There is no need for me to tell you that the scourge of gun crime is perhaps the most pressing issue in the USA. My book takes a new approach – support failing gun control by viewing gun crime through the prism of gun culture.
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