The Geopolitics Of Israel: Biblical And Modern, by Stratfor
As a fan and frequent reader of Stratfor , I appreciate it when there are materials to read from the skillful analysis presented. In this particular case, an e-book was recently released by Stratfor from several years ago, and I am glad to have the opportunity to read and review it, as it demonstrates the way that my own interest in matters of strategy is often informed by others, especially when the thoughts are as elegantly expressed as they are here. This is a short book, only about twenty pages, and should not present a major difficulty for anyone to read it, even those on a vastly more limited schedule than my own when it comes to reading. Given the fact that the ancient and modern geopolitics of Israel are of great interest to me and to many people I know, I figured this was a particularly worthwhile and free resource to bring to broader attention .
The contents of this book are pretty straightforward. For one, there is a focus on defining Israel as a general region with a fixed general location in the Levant but with varying borders that always include parts of three regions (part of the coastal strip, Galilee, and the central hill country of Judea and Samaria), and sometimes parts of other regions, like the Negev. The author(s) look at various incarnations of Israel in three eras of history–the initial period of biblical history centered on the golden age of David and Solomon, the later Persian and Greek model of a dependent or subordinate Israel, and the modern post-1948 model of an independent Israel. The book does a good job of distilling larger patterns of history into a consistent pattern that demonstrates several threats and concerns–the ability of Israel to survive as a regional power so long as it remains united within, the continual vulnerability that Israel faces from external regional powers that wish to control the Levant, and the way that Israel manages these threats through cleverness.
There is a lot to like about this short book. Not only does it point to the reality that Israel’s position has consistent vulnerabilities, with whatever implications one wishes to take from that fact, but it also points out the fact that Israel’s location simultaneously makes it a regional power as well as gives them the attention of powers further afield on all sides. The strategic choke point of Israel and nearby territories is a frequent draw of the attention of the world, which serves the purposes of Israel’s existence in the larger scheme of global affairs. Likewise, the situation of Israel as a regional power with certain consistent patterns based on its geographic position reminds us of the fact that external context sometimes greatly determines the possible courses of behavior for a given person, institution, or nation, with implications that cut against our expectations that people are free to do whatever they will, without removing entirely the responsibility for the choices that are made among the available options. The view of this book, and the people who wrote it, is one of bounded freedom and consistent patterns, none of which are free from the possibility of error. That sort of food for thought and reflection and extrapolation is to be appreciated.
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