Irrespective of the final outcome of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it should serve as a wake-up call for Israeli and Western policy-makers and molders of public opinion.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has exposed the flawed nature of certain assumptions, which have impacted the worldview of the Western establishment – but not the worldview of most of the world – while attempting to induce/coerce Israel into adopting these assumptions.
*The illusion that most of the world subscribes to the Western worldview of a new world (and new Middle East) order, which is supposedly more stable, predictable, tolerant and trending toward peaceful-coexistence, focusing on butter rather than guns;
*The ostensible end to the era of major wars and massive ground force invasions;
*The self-destruct notion that a military posture of deterrence can be effectively-replaced by peace accords, security guarantees and generous financial and diplomatic packages. Thus, the seeds of the current predicament of Ukraine were planted in the reckless December 1994 Budapest security assurances, which were extended to Ukraine by the USA, Britain and Russia in return for Ukraine’s surrender of its most-deterring nuclear stockpile (3rd largest in the world). In 2022, these assurances are exposed in their futility.
*Ignoring the tenuous, unreliable, unpredictable, non-committal and open-ended nature of all security guarantees, even article 5 of the NATO Charter, which is supposed to be the tightest security commitment. But, article 5 states that all NATO members shall assist an attacked member “as [they] deem necessary, including the use of armed force….” As they deem necessary….
*The delusion that peace and security agreements are more important (for national security) than military capabilities and geography/topography-driven posture of deterrence. This delusion ignores the fact that while peace accords and security guarantees are tenuous, topographic dominance (e.g., the Golan Heights and the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria) and geographic depth are everlasting.
*Overlooking the fact that a gradual reduction of defense budget is interpreted by most of the globe as erosion of deterrence in a stormy world (and volatile Middle East), undermining stability and crippling national security, and therefore inducing terrorism and wars;
*The presumed superiority of the diplomatic option as a more effective negotiation tool than the military option in settling conflicts with rogue regimes, which have systematically revealed themselves as bad-faith negotiators (e.g., Iran’s Ayatollahs since assuming power in February, 1979);
*The alleged subordination of national ideologies and strategic visions to a cosmopolitan/universal peaceful-coexistence state of mind;
*Preferring the speculative assessments of the future track records of rogue regimes over their realistic historical track record, which highlights the centrality of rogue history in shaping their radical national vision, policy-making, school curriculum, religious sermons and media.
*The illusion that rogue conduct (e.g., subversion, terrorism and wars) is despair-driven, rather than ideology-driven.
Western policy makers have attempted to induce/coerce Israel into a withdrawal from the topographically dominant mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria – in return for a peace accord and security guarantees. However, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has highlighted the false sense of security, which is generated by security guarantees, which replace geographic depth and dominant topography in the highly volatile, violent, intolerant and unpredictable Middle East. The global experience has reaffirmed the centrality of the military-driven posture of deterrence in the shaping of national security.
Moreover, unlike Ukraine (the 2nd largest European country), Israel’s lack of geographic depth (a 7-15 miles sliver from the Mediterranean to the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria) provides for an extremely small margin of error. Thus, if the 1973 surprise Arab military offensive were launched against a pre-1967 Israel (without the dominant topography of the Golan Heights and Judea and Samaria and the strategic depth of the Sinai Peninsula), the Arabs would be able to annihilate the Jewish State.