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The Vanishing Blue Line

Israel, Ma'ariv

By Dr. Haim Assa

Red lines and calls for attack are not  vision or leadership.


Translated by Viktoria Lymar

Edited by Steven Stenzler


30 April 2013


Setting red lines or attacking Iran does not reflect leadership. When will a political party arise that would aim for political settlement and break the iron wall that encircles us?


The Iranian subject is becoming a leading topic in the public positioning of the Prime Minister. While releasing the rope for [Finance Minister] Yair Lapid1 on the issue of cuts, that keeps tying with extreme stubbornness the noose around his neck, Bibi is busy rescuing the Jewish people from the Iranian threat. He is no longer doing it alone. He gathered that a prime minister shouldn’t talk too much, but instead, let others do so. This is the only way to understand the words of the head of the Institute for National Security Studies [Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin] who informed that Iran has reached “Bibi’s” red line.2

How does a private body know that Iran has arrived at the red line? Quite simply, it was told. It was instructed to announce that, too. Why? It is easy to guess and also has yet to become apparent in the near future. So now even the Institute for Security Studies is in the service of the Prime Minister’s political strategy? Rabin would not do that even at the price of his seat. He would ask the Institute staffers in a booming voice: "How do you know?"

And indeed, if the Institute for Security Studies shot this statement based on a personal knowledge then where from? Does it have an intelligence collection system? It is to be briefed. There is no other option. Like cheap newspapers. Yellow noise and some red noise, and some more noise just so that there’ll be noise. And the small citizen is drowning in a sea of troubles, fears, panic, drifting between Lapid’s cuts and Iran's red line and looking only for the foreign passport.

They say, new politics oh yeah. Cuts are not a plan and red lines not a strategy. This is red gossiping which replaces the yellow one. Media headlines are achieved here through cuts or murder or something about a red line. That’s it. There’s no single word about a blue line, about a political settlement, about a plan for settlement, about an idea for settlement. Nothing.

The relentless pursuit of power is the arena of absolute decadence and the decay of values. If a research institute for security (sounds bombastic) declares that Iran has reached Bibi’s red line (in my opinion, even Bibi has no idea what his red line is), then what can Mazaliko from Bat Yam3 say about it? Not true? True? For she and this institute have exactly the same tools to know whether it is true or not. The difference is that she’s named Mazaliko, and they are the security experts...

And here, one can already discern the eye-rolling of those righteous whose cunning is wrapped in holy words, as rendered by Friedrich Nietzsche “what an art of 'righteous' [slander]!”4 Luckily, Meir Dagan and Ehud Olmert are still speaking out in New York and presenting these things like doves let go.5


A Device to Soften the Intensity of Hostility


For Israel, a strong, advanced and vigilant army is a must. But Israel also must identify political avenues to make it easier for the military structure. This is a reverse thought of the conventional outlook cast by Carl von Clausewitz who defined: the war is supposed to serve the political objectives. Since the train of regional stability has long left the station, and big political goals are just out of sight, what’s left for us is apparently a sword fight. That is, a Sisyphean fight, lacking objectives, lacking a clear result. To fight in order to not be hit again and again and again until who knows when.

According to Clausewitz, and according to Ben-Gurion as well, war is designed to impose a stable and permanent settlement. Now is exactly when the Israeli state requires political processes as a device for softening the intensity of hostility toward Israel, undermining the process of the delegitimization of Israel, improving its image in the global economic market, and mainly creating a goal or vision to which we will all aspire and will fight for it, we and our youth.

They have to know what they are fighting for. Otherwise, the enlistment rate will continue to dwindle, as has been seen. We also badly need the smartest among those youths. We're talking not only determined fighters, but also no less determined researchers and security scientists. This thing has a name: leadership. Unfortunately, it does not exist today.


Red lines and call for an attack are not vision or leadership. These are just collaborator’s PR. Perhaps, there will finally arise a political movement or party that will draw the blue line instead of the red one? The blue line is a point in time up to which Israel is obliged to break the iron wall encircling it strategically. A point in time that we might have not yet missed.


Original Hebrew article:

The author is strategic expert who served as an adviser to former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin


Photo credit: Commentary/Not-ready-to-die-in-your-war photo campaign; Sonambulistas






2. e.g.;


 3. A [diminutive] form of the Israeli name “Mazal” - here, meaning an ordinary Israeli citizen from a small town




5. e.g.