My longform article on Gaza and the shifting global balance

… is now up at the Boston Review website, here. The piece draws on a lot of the writing I did here at Globalities in the nine months of 2023 prior to October 7. The original title I’d given it was “Gaza at the Hinge of History”… Which I still prefer to the one BR gave it, though I realize I’d used “hinge of history” in the title of an essay here last April about the Arabian Peninsular. But hey, these hinges are definitely linked.

I hope you can read the whole of the new BR article. It opens with an intriguing (one hopes) anecdote/observation. The meaty substance comes down near the bottom:

The Gaza crisis, seventeen weeks old at the time of this writing, has not only brought West Asia (and the world) to the brink of a major war. It has sent shockwaves into the heart of a world order that United States took the lead in designing in 1945 and in which, since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, it has acted as hegemon. Netanyahu and his political allies have adopted an openly confrontational stand not only against the UN’s refugee agency, but also against the UN itself and its highest judicial body, remaining implacably opposed to all those fundamentals of the world system…

Anyway, since BR doesn’t have a Comments section, here is your chance to post any reactions or further thoughts you have about the article, in the Comments box below.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

5 thoughts on “My longform article on Gaza and the shifting global balance”

  1. Dear Helena,
    Once again you seem to have completely have nailed it in your comprehensive analysis of the shaking and shuddering of the world order in recent times. Thank you so much! One aspect I didn’t understand though was your assertion that the US’ stationing of 2 aircraft carriers in the Eastern Mediterranean could somehow act as a deterrent on Israel (re Hezbollah in Lebanon) as well. I would’ve thought that might act as a booster in their militaristic hubris. Would love to hear more from you on this. And more of whatever you choose to write on. You are a deep scholar, a great collaborator and mentor, and a wise treasure.

    1. Hi Sally. Your question is a really good one. I see that in the BR piece I’d written about Washington’s dispatch of the two carrier battle groups that, “Those deployments were certainly part of the ‘ironclad’ level of reassurance the United States has promised Israel, but they were also aimed at tamping down any desire by Israel’s leaders to launch a new and potentially destabilizing military adventure against Lebanon: an attempt to contain and deter Israel just as much as Iran.” Prompted by your question, I think I’d take out that word “deter”, since in strategic thought, over the past 70 years that term has come to mean that the deterrer threatens to respond to any unwanted action by the deterree by using a punishing (or even annihilating) level of violence against it; and that’s not what the US was doing with those deployments. I’d say, more, that the dispatch of the two CBG’s was intended to “contain and restrain” Israel from escalating against Hizbullah– while also of course being part of the “ironclad” level of reassurance.
      Fwiw, I’m not alone in that assessment. This article in Haaretz on October 16 said, “But by placing [the CBGs] off the coast of Lebanon, the U.S. is also giving itself a lever to restrain Israel if the Biden administration feels that its operations in Gaza or Lebanon are becoming excessive. There is a precedent for this two-pronged goal…”

  2. At some risk of oversimplifying, the Israelis have two forms of leverage left to make selfish gains. One is the threat of escalation. To clarify this point, it is the wild-eyed threat itself that is leverage. Actual escalation, for example in Lebanon, would probably no longer benefit. For those not familiar with the current balance of military power, there are too many missiles arrayed against Israel and these can be replaced when needed. The other form of leverage is to continue the horrific killing of Palestinian men, women and children in large numbers, hoping for another freeze of the conflict that will preserve their gains, repeating a past pattern.

    Looking at the matter from the other side; the axis of resistance must continue to mount legal, diplomatic and economic pressure against Israel to reduce or stop the killing of Palestinians and to bring the US backed Israelis to the reckoning that they face over a long series of existing United Nations resolutions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *