May 28, 2011
Islamic Spring, American Winter, Jewish StateBy Anurag Maheshwari
President Obama's approach to Arab-Israeli peace process on May 19 was ill-conceived and shortsighted. The conspicuous absence of a broader moral, demographic, and strategic calculus in Obama's call for Israel to recede within its 1967 borders is beyond belief.
There are many Christian/post-Christian states, dozens of resurgent Islamic states, and three Hindu majority states, but only one Jewish majority state. It is intriguing why Obama has asked Israel whose population density is almost 1,000/sq-mi and a territory less than 10,000 sq-mi to cede any land or stop its expansion in Jerusalem.
Israel is surrounded by a hostile multitude of 600 million Arabs, Turks, Persians, and Punjabis with birth rates between 1.9-5.1 children/woman, cumulatively higher than Jewish birth rates at 3 children/woman. The contemporary Middle-East neither has the relaxed attitudes of Scandinavians, nor the non-threatening birth rates of Japan.
Except Iran, not a single Islamic country has sub-replacement birth rates. In matters of existential nature, demography is destiny. To put it bluntly, this is a numbers game and Israel is outnumbered 100:1.
Israel's technologically advanced military-industrial complex, its several-hundred state of the art nuclear missiles, its highly talented and driven scientific manpower, and its ability to provide a high quality and prosperous life to its citizens must not be perturbed by unilateral territorial demands. The Arab league possesses 5.3 million sq-mi of territory, more than 500 times that of Israel, so in principle there is enough land for all Palestinians.
Even if there is complete Israeli-Palestinian population transfer as part of a comprehensive peace process, the destitute millions outside Israel's borders will persistently seek entry through Africa or Arabian Peninsula in search of a better life. This is not just a narrow and internal Israeli-Palestinian demographic problem; this is a much broader Israeli-Islamic strategic and demographic conundrum.
The turbulence in the Middle-East has been fueled by a confluence of massive population explosion, an ideology of Koranic-literalism, harsh despotism, humiliating American military occupations and rising food prices. This means the momentum for further radicalization and mass-mobilization of hostile populations is high.
Israel's post-2011 future will remain imperiled even if the calamitous Obama-Brzezinski framework of 1967 borders is implemented. In the immediate future it is likely that Israel's center-right Knesset under Benjamin Netanyahu's premiership will respond assertively and negatively to this irksome and unwelcome approach.
The long term security of the Jewish state will be decidedly better if Washington DC ceases to interfere in Israel's sovereign affairs and refrains from constantly dictating to them the rules and rims of engagement with the Arabs.
There is absolutely no indication, let alone a lasting guarantee that if Israel recedes within its 1967 borders, its existence itself will not be still a festering wound in the radicalized hearts of tens of millions in the Islamic world.
Due to endless and draining American military occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan alongside hundreds of military bases littered all over Eurasia, a paradox of security has emerged. As Americans sink deeper and deeper into an epic quagmire, the overall security environment in the Islamic-World and Pacific Asia becomes even more crushingly tenuous. Moreover, simmering memories of humiliation and countless civilian deaths are building a poisonous spirit of revenge deep in the Islamic psyche.
Iraqi occupation has not only senselessly destabilized the Shia-Sunni-Kurd triumvirate; it has deeply and perhaps irreversibly alienated Turkey, Israel's once only solid Islamic ally.
In Turkey's smoldering eyes, the restive, stateless Iraqi-Kurds are determined to carve out an independent destiny, and the lion's share of real-estate will come from Turkey whose 20% Kurdish minorities zealously want to politically unite with their ethno-linguistic kin. Iran and Syria also have peripheral and restive Kurdish minorities who are waiting to participate in the birth-pangs of a new nation.
American presence in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan has also made a historically resentful Iran even more malignant, as it sees itself surrounded from east, west, and south by American troops and Navy. Iran is therefore determined to feed Washington DC's self-destructive strategy by aiding de-stabilization of both Iraq and Af-Pak, while rapidly improving relations with Turkey in strategic, commercial, and cultural spheres and making repeated overtures towards the Arabs.
This growing Turko-Iranian entente has a natural and enduring quality since one-third of Iran's population is Turkic, and both sides share nine centuries of evolving Turko-Persian cultural-political intercourse since the time of the Seljuk Empire despite the previous five centuries of Shia-Sunni divide.
Furthermore, the enormous proliferation of well-funded madrassas in drone-saturated and nuclear-armed Pakistan is fomenting exceedingly hostile designs in millions of young minds from all over the globe. This lasting multi-generational hostility in an arc of instability from the Mediterranean to Mumbai is bringing Arabs, Turks, Iranians, and Pakistanis to a boiling political crescendo, whose timing will depend on the manifest and unforeseen forces of nature.
Israel's principal ally America is aging, fragmenting, and declining with a looming entitlement Armageddon of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid bankruptcy; rising price inflation; falling or stagnant incomes for the middle class; crumbling infrastructure; and a dwindling worker to retiree ratio -- from 16.5:1 in 1950 to 3:1 today and 2.2:1 in 2030.
In such perilous circumstances, the Obama administration has so completely miscalculated its priorities that it will further accelerate the American decline even as China patiently but rapidly builds its capacities and seems poised to topple America as the leading economic power sometime in 2015-2016. By many measures such as metals, cement, and most recently energy consumption, it already has.
This combination of the Arab spring, China's rise, and the American nightmare has only one feasible solution. The US should dissolve all its overseas land-based commitments and expeditiously withdraw from Eurasia to re-align its ambitions in wake of its rapidly diminishing capacities. The US should re-orient its resources judiciously for rebuilding and rejuvenating its infrastructure and society, while forging new multi-lateral partnerships to jointly stabilize the Middle-East via an island-based strategy similar to one accepted by the fading post-1945 British Empire.
The US can affordably and discreetly maintain two island military bases in the Mediterranean on Cyprus, as well as in the Persian Gulf on Bahrain -- headquarters of the 5th fleet, avoiding unwarranted visibility. It will help guarantee a striking proximity to Israel while monitoring every Middle Eastern activity through sophisticated sea, space, and island based surveillance in addition to human intelligence. This will sharpen awareness of the internal Middle Eastern environment, save diminishing resources and reduce response time.
In addition, American sea and air power with over 90,000 sailors and Marines, a dozen aircraft-carriers, and hundreds of sea/air based nuclear missiles will safeguard overwhelming strategic hegemony in the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Sea, and Pacific Asia.
Meanwhile 1.2 Billion Indians, growing economically at 8-10% per annum, are perhaps the only natural strategic ally for Israel and US in Southern Eurasia as economically vibrant Turkey gradually but irreversibly drifts apart from the West and struggles to assert its neo-Ottoman stature in the Arab-World.
The thriving and occasionally vacillating Indo-Israeli partnership -- due to imperfectly aligned strategic objectives -- should be strengthened within an institutional framework which could be christened Mediterranean-Arabian-Treaty-Organization (MATO), focused on regions neighboring Mediterranean and Arabian Sea.
Core Members of MATO could be the US, Israel, Cyprus, Bahrain, and India. The European Union (EU)- and Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) could participate as auxiliary members. These structural-functional steps should be supplemented with generous non-governmental charity efforts to promote one-child policy and women's education, health, and rights programs in the Sunni world to sharply arrest the ongoing and unsustainable baby boom.
India's full participation in this security structure will be constrained by its expanding need and dependency on energy resources from the Middle East as well as its 170 million-strong Muslim minority. This energy problem will have to be addressed either by a sharply expanding Russian role in the supplier mix, or some unexpected development, including a vast expansion of Thorium based nuclear power.
Obama or perhaps a more gifted Presidential successor can draw a new sustainable strategic doctrine for a diminished America under the umbrella of MATO, which will have EU-Russia securing their South, India containing its West and North, and Israel in conjunction with US Navy monitoring the East-West Axis of the emerging Islamic Spring.
I believe that in not too distant future there will be a drive towards political unification of the Arab-World as well as some security alliance in the Turko-Persian world. To what extent this geopolitical consolidation influences Pakistan's foreign policy trajectory is not easy to predict at this time.
A doctrine of containment which shuns democracy-by-gun with boots-on-the-ground impulse and relies on exploiting internal religious and ethno-linguistic contradictions in Middle East under the aegis of MATO in combination with uncontested sea and air deterrence is the only plausible approach to avoid cataclysmic financial and social crises in America and Europe.
Such an approach will salvage and secure America's socio-economic future and Israel's realm. MATO will forge solid and enduring partnerships which will carry immense strategic heft by utilizing India's enormous manpower and its prime peninsular location as a vast springboard into the Arabian Sea and Indian-Ocean.
This strategy will be global in its scope and outcomes and immensely superior compared to Obama-Brzezinski doctrine which advocates a reduced 1967 Israel. Israel should not be nudged towards making another covenant with death itself.
Andy Maheshwari (PhD) has been writing on National and International affairs since 2008. He has been published in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's The-Tech, Canada Free Press, American Thinker and Examiner.