Professor Martin Van Creveld is one of the premier thinkers in modern military strategy, especially when it comes to issues of asymmetric, or 4th Generation warfare. This is the form of conflict that the US is embroiled in both in in Iraq and Afghanistan, and it’s also what Israel is currently engaged in as well. The recent flare-up of conflict in Gaza and Lebanon is having an impact on oil prices, and it’s threatening to morph into a broader regional conflict, with both Syria and Iran being blamed by both Israel and the US for supporting Hezbollah in their recent actions. If you’re thinking oil prices are jittery right now, just wait and see where they’ll go if the conflict spreads.
This quote from Van Creveld in an 2003 article in the Guardian is especially chilling:
We possess several hundred atomic warheads and rockets and can launch them at targets in all directions, perhaps even at Rome. Most European capitals are targets for our air force. Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: “Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother.” I consider it all hopeless at this point. We shall have to try to prevent things from coming to that, if at all possible. Our armed forces, however, are not the thirtieth strongest in the world, but rather the second or third. We have the capability to take the world down with us. And I can assure you that that will happen before Israel goes under.’
Well, guess who’s yanking the mad dog’s chain right now? The Lebanese army is not the strongest military force in Lebanon right now, and the state will suffer due to it’s inability to have a monopoly on the application of violence. We’re already witnessing Israeli forces systematically destroying Lebanon’s infrastructure, even while the government is protesting it had no foreknowledge of nor complicity in recent events. The Israeli’s, from the looks of it, don’t really care, and it’s obvious that both sides are using this conflict to help set new rules and conventions regarding their interactions.
The Israeli’s can’t afford to back down and negotiate with either Hamas or Hezbollah right now. Hamas is learning that being in charge is a whole lot harder than simply being a polticial/military group, since they are now subject to all sorts of pressures that they weren’t before. Hezbollah? Who knows. Perhaps the Iranians goaded them into doing something to take pressure of them, or perhaps they are just picking a poor time to try and flex their might.
Regardless, even if the hurricanes don’t jack with the price of oil this summer, other events will. I gassed up today for $2.89 a gallon. We’ll see where prices are sitting at the end of August.
Hat Tip to Cryptogon