By Robert Dreyfuss
"Israel’s reckless , high-stakes decision to launch simultaneous wars against both Hamas and Hezbollah last week is a critical, perhaps world-shattering event. It cannot be seen merely in its local context, that is, as an act by the unilateralist regime in Jerusalem to crush the armed wings of two Islamic fundamentalist organizations in Gaza, the West Bank and southern Lebanon. Nor can it be seen merely in its regional context, that is, as an effort to raise the stakes in the struggle against Syria, Iran and rejectionist factions in occupied Iraq. Rather, Israel’s actions must be seen, first and foremost, in the context of global politics.
The key question: Is the Israeli offensive designed as a calculated effort to catapult the hard-right, neoconservative ideologues back to power in Washington?
Outflanked, temporarily, in the United States, the neocons are now flexing their muscle outside the United States in a way that can give them added new leverage at home.
As long as Israel has the support of the United States, it will forge ahead relentlessly. So far, in a shocking display of craven capitulation to the Israeli fait accompli, President Bush has repeatedly endorsed Israel’s aggression. But Israel is clearly counting on more than just Bush’s support for its actions in Gaza and Lebanon. More broadly, Israel is seeking to shift the balance in the Bush administration back in favor of the neocons, the hawks, and their radical “New American Century” comrades.
Make no mistake: Until last week, before Israel went to war, the neoconservatives were losing across the board. They watched in horror as the war in Iraq faltered, and they were appalled by President Bush’s Condi-led opening to Iran. Indeed, to many it seemed as if the entire post-9/11 project to remake the Middle East and build American hegemony on that cornerstone was in jeopardy.
Speaking at a forum at the American Enterprise Institute last week, Frederick Kagan warned that the United States is in “danger of losing everything” because the war in Iraq is not being pursued aggressively enough. “All of this success can and will be undone … if we do not get the security situation [in Iraq] under control, and fast,” he said, accurately enough. Now that Israel is at war, they have the chance once again to go on the offensive, against Iran, in Iraq, against Syria, and against the mythical Terrorist International that they warn about so regularly. You can imagine what Cheney and his allies are whispering to the president: Be resolute, be strong—and bring ‘em on! "