Thursday, February 12, 2009

Bibi or Tzipi?

Martin Sherman’s* lowdown of the Israeli general elections, from The Acorn (India) 11/2/09:

...Bibi (Mr Netanyahu) is by far the most talented politician presently in the system. He was a brilliant foreign minister and a very competent finance minister (although too much Friedman and too little Keynes in his mix for my personal taste) and as a prime minister was far better than was given credit for.

He is however an anathema to the media who will maul him whatever he does—or doesn’t do. This will make it very difficult for him to operate as he is will be under tremendous pressure—particularly internationally. Thus I am very concerned over his resolve. In the past he has not been the free of blunders and has often snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

Ms Livni is all spin and no substance and a stunning example of the success of failure in Israeli politics. Her success is inexplicable in terms of any rational calculus. On a party level, the platform she was elected on in 2006 proved to be a delusional disaster.

Her party was wracked by corruption scandals and led the country to two non-victories in poorly managed wars which it itself initiated. In the personal level she has shown herself to be devoid of any qualities that could conceivably justify her as a choice of leader.

By abandoning her 2003 electoral pledges not to support unilateral withdrawal she proved that she has no intellectual integrity or commitment to principles. This might have been excused in the utilitarian world of politics if the policy she abandoned her principles for proved to be a stunning success. However it was a crushing failure, proving that she also has no political wisdom or judgement.

Again this might have been excused in the utilitarian world of politics if she proved to be a astounding success in the sphere of practical policy implementation—but the present unprecedented assault on Israel can only be described as a diplomatic debacle, which, as foreign minister for the last three years Livni must take responsibility for. Her main asset was the aversion people have to Bibi, especially among the supposedly “intellectual” elites here—for whom he is a red flag...

*Dr. Martin Sherman acted as a ministerial advisor in the 1991-2 Shamir government. He also served for seven years in various defense related capacities and now teaches political science at Tel Aviv University. His works have been published in academic journals such as Journal of Strategic Studies, Journal of Theoretical Politics, International Journal of Intelligence and Counter Intelligence and Nations and Nationalism. He is the author of two books on international conflicts (Macmillan UK). Dr. Sherman is also a member of the advisory board of the Nativ journal in which he has published frequently.

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