Flotillas and Foreign Policy
In seminary, a buddy of mine who was interested, like me, in both foregn policy and theology introduced me to a great resource called STRATFOR. It is essentially a private inteligence company used by governments, corporations, and private individuals. You can pay for their full line of resources, or sign up for free analysis that comes on a weekly basis.
This maneuver was far more effective than suicide bombings or the Intifada in challenging Israel’s public perception and therefore its geopolitical position (though if the Palestinians return to some of their more distasteful tactics like suicide bombing, the Turkish strategy of portraying Israel as the instigator of violence will be undermined).
Essentially, they argue that the flotilla is less a humanitarian relief effort, as stated, and more a political ploy designed to weaken the position of Israel. it makes perfect sense, really; Israel has been backed into a corner – either don’t show force have their position weakened in the region, or respond as they are expected to and weaken their position on the international scene.
Judging by how often video of an Israeli “commando” raid is currently playing on the news, its obvious this tactic is working against Israel.
The STRATFOR piece goes on to suggest that most people in the international community – not having a taste for complexity – won’t see this situation for what it is (a geopolitical chess match).
How true. As Tom Friedman once wrote, “When it comes to discussing the Middle East, people lose their minds.” For most of us, our picture of Middle East relations fits into a very simple narrative such as Israeli aggression, or Palestinian terrorism. We like one side to be wholly right and one side to be wholly wrong.
In that part of the world, it’s almost never the case. That remains true in this instance, also.
[This report is republished with permission of STRATFOR]