Whilst wars are tragic by any definition, they are indeed a political manifestation. It is in this context we found this piece from the fairly outspoken Edward Luttwak, of interest. Professor Luttwak is a strategist and historian known for his works on grand strategy, geoeconomics, military history, and international relations. His most recent book is The Art of Military Innovation: Lessons from the Israel Defense Forces.

Luttwak talks about how support for Israel from the developed world has changed from the times of the wars in the 60s and 70s to the current ongoing war.

“How times have changed since 1967, when socialist Israel still enjoyed the enthusiastic support of global “progressives”, but was so diplomatically isolated that it received no support at all from Europe or America when openly threatened with war by Egypt, Jordan and Syria. Before launching its pre-emptive attack, only France had been willing to sell weapons to Israel, but Charles de Gaulle stopped all further sales as soon as the fighting started. In Rome, meanwhile, a cargo of gas masks headed for Tel Aviv was intercepted at the airport, even though Egypt’s occupying force had recently killed many in Yemen with phosgene and mustard gas.

For Israel, however, the greatest penalty of its diplomatic isolation was the inevitability of the UN Security Council imposing a ceasefire as soon as it started to win. In 1967, this came after only six days of fighting. Israeli forces had just fought their way up the steep tracks onto the Golan Heights when they had to stop. I was there myself, eager to visit Damascus when the Soviet Union found itself unopposed at the Security Council in demanding an immediate ceasefire.”

He goes on to highlight how it was no different during the 1973 Yom Kippur war either. But how now it is all very different.

“The US, UK and European Union did not try to stop the Israeli counter-offensive against Hamas. The US found itself unimpeded in sending military supplies, while the Italian government came out in full support of Israel.

On the other side, in UN venues highly suited for empty words, Russia and China both ceremonially declared their support for the Palestinians. Yet Moscow has continued to co-operate smoothly with Israel’s air force as it operates over Syria to attack Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, while not one Chinese partner has withdrawn from any joint venture in Israel. Nor did the rising calls to reduce the bombardment of Gaza, led by Belgium of all countries and eventually backed by the White House, have any actual consequence — Israel’s bombing was reduced in any case by the diminishing supply of worthwhile targets.

Likewise, not one of the Arab countries with whom Israel has diplomatic relations has interrupted them in any way, while relations with Egypt have blossomed into a veritable security partnership over Gaza and Sinai. Even more important are the statements of Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, who has made it clear that normalising ties with Israel will not long be delayed once the fighting ends.”

Luttwak reckons it is the transformation of Israel from a poor country in the 60s and 70s to an economic, technological and military power that has changed its fortunes in garnering global support.

“The purpose of that deliberately horrific attack [the Oct 7 Hamas attack] was precisely to stop any alliance between the Saudis and Israelis. That was certainly the goal of Iran, which has every reason to dread the fusion of Israel’s technology with Saudi Arabia’s financial resources: Tehran rightly fears this would entail some form of military co-operation, which in turn might bring Israeli air power within a short distance of its Iranian targets.

For now, though, Saudi Arabia’s declared goals are more prosaic. Just like the world’s venture capitalists, the Saudis believe that joint investments in Israeli tech will be profitable. But far more important is Israel’s proximity, which can greatly facilitate the training of Saudi engineers, technicians and skilled workers — thus achieving progress towards the central aim of putting Saudis to work and ending its reliance on expatriate labour.

…Israel’s diplomatic success is not just due to its changed economics however: its high-tech military equipment has arguably been more influential. It is the reason, for instance, why India has emerged as a steadfast ally, as it relies on Israeli tactical missiles for both its air and naval forces, along with much else. It is also the reason why the Pentagon does not begrudge military aid to Israel — it benefits from a constant backflow of valuable technology, including famous helmet-mounted display at the core of the F-35 fighters that now equip the Air Force, Navy and Marines.

Of course, such high-tech weaponry did nothing to prevent the October 7 attack, but it has proved itself since. Almost 10,000 Hamas rockets have been intercepted by the Iron Dome, avoiding many deaths and much damage, while a full-scale ballistic missile made in Iran and launched from Yemen was intercepted by an Arrow 3 out in space — mankind’s first instance of space combat.”

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