Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Israel’s Good and Bad New Realities

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

One of the most radical changes in the labyrinth of the Middle East is the near cessation of the old formal hostility of the Arab nations to Israel. That does not mean that the destruction of the Jewish state is not still a commandment among hundreds of millions of Arab speakers throughout the Middle East in general and on the proverbial West Bank in particular.

Rather, a number of currents has convinced most of the Gulf monarchies, frontline Arab states such as Jordan and Egypt, and the other North African nations that of all the existential crises in the world threatening their regimes, Israel is no longer perceived as their font.

Instead, elemental dangers to Israel arise mostly from Iran, Iranian-backed Hezbollah in the badlands of Syria and Lebanon, and Turkey. Why this fundamental realignment?

One reason, of course, is Iran’s likely soon-to-be nuclear status. Iran detests Israel. But such hatred is relatively recent and dates from 1979 — unlike the ancient schisms between Shiite and Sunni, Persian and Arab, and the Straits of Hormuz versus the Persian Gulf.

Arab nations believe that a nuclear Iran will threaten them explicitly. They assume that a messianic Tehran is quite capable of carrying out what would be serial nuclear threats. And they are certain that such constant tensions would embolden Shiite minorities in their own states, much like millions of Eastern European Germans of the 1930s were suddenly deemed oppressed, and believed that they could be liberated only by eventual protection from and incorporation into Hitler’s ascendant Third Reich.

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About Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services. He is also the Wayne & Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History, Hillsdale College, where he teaches each fall semester courses in military history and classical culture.

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