Edward Lucas: Israel situation highlights dangers of complacency

IDF patrol in Israel
IDF patrol in Israel Source: SCANPIX/Arnaud Andrieu/SIPA

The Hamas terrorist attack on Israel, and the inevitable and bloody response it has prompted, comprise a world-shaping catastrophe with effects far beyond the Middle East, though much of the extent of this has still to become clear, security expert Edward Lucas writes.

Not only must the physical and human cost in Israel and Gaza be taken into account, but so too the reputations of Western intelligence, weapons systems, deterrence, and alliances, Lucas argues in his piece, for the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA).

While the collective West has, more or less, Lucas says, rallied behind Israel in its hour of need, the bulk of Africa, Asia and Latin America has not, while Russia is likely to exploit the situation to put the blame on "US hegemony," somewhat selectively given Russia's cooperation with Iran and interference in Syria, while China, too, is looking for opportunities, Lucas rights.

The upshot is that deterrence has failed, this time – even if Hamas finds that the costs of its campaign outstrip the benefits to the organization that would be cold comfort, while if the reverse is the case, the implications are "terrifying," as decision-makers in Moscow, Beijing, Pyongyang, Tehran and elsewhere will be wondering what else they can get away with, Lucas continues.

In the immediate term, while much blame has been allocated to Israel's much-vaunted suite of security and espionage organizations, equivalents in allied nations, too, bear culpability – to the extent that their value may be called into question by some bean counters.

In any event, turning a blind eye and the slipping, if not off, to the more outer fringes of the radar of the Middle East compared with the years following 9/11, is now reaping an unfortunate harvest.

The original CEPA piece, which appeared on the think-tank's online journal "Europe's Edge," is here, while an Estonian-language version has been published by daily Eesti Päevaleht here.

Formerly of The Economist and currently a columnist with The Times, Edward Lucas is perhaps most well-known here in Estonia for being the country's first ever e-resident. He is the prospective Liberal Democrat candidate for the Cities of London and Westminster constituency, at the next U.K. general election, to be held at some point next year.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: CEPA

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