Saturday, November 6, 2010

Israel and India

Here's an interesting description of the burgeoning relationship between Israel and India. If you assume the Indians will get their act together sooner or later, by sometime in the second half of the century India will be the world's largest power after the US, with more people than China, a functioning democracy, and endless potential.


Y. Ben-David said...

This is a more important news item than 90% of the things you read in an Israeli newspaper. Europe has proven it doesn't want the Jews, so Israel's future lies in the East and in the former Communist bloc. These countries don't like the radical Muslim states of the Middle East (although many are Muslim themselves), they want western ideas of economic development and realize that Israel help without the political strings attached the US and Europe often add. Although it is popular for "progressives" to dump on Avigdor Lieberman as Foreign Minister, it is with countries like this that he is most effective, because he doesn't pull his punches. Stay tuned.

Avigdor said...

Actually I was looking for much more from Lieberman on the Former Soviet Union front. If there's one place where you'd think he would provide the appropriate atmospherics, it would be there. I'm not looking for much, a state visit from Putin or Medvedev would do.

A Soviet born, Russian speaking Foreign Minister of Israel (the first, or was that Golda?), whose party represents one of the largest Russian diaspora communities in the world... you'd think he would be able to do more with Russia and its environs, publicly, than he has.

So far I'm not impressed.

Barry Meislin said...

There is nothing for Israel to look for in Russia, politically speaking.

Except pain, deceit, and more pain.

In fact, I would find it very worrisome should there be any cozying up between the two countries.

Avigdor said...

They you must be very worried, Barry. Maybe Yaacov can tell you how much Russian-Ukrainian day tourism has exploded since visa restrictions were eliminated, or the second purchase of Israeli drones that Russia has now made.

Would it be so terrible if Israel could have a serious, respectable dialogue with a great power - such as about selling the S-300 to Iran - without bothering the Americans to intervene?

Russians don't like Arabs, at all. They might like Jews even less, but they respect the kind of salt-of-the-earth fundamentals that Israel still represents - national strength, stubborn purpose.

Read Abba Eban and you'll discover the Soviets may have sided with the Arabs to get a toehold against the West, but they never questioned Israel's legitimacy, even when their client states were getting hammered in '73.

If there is one place where Lieberman could help, it would be in restoring balance to relationships that are greatly out of balance solely for reasons of now irrelevant history. The Russian-Israeli relationship is still greatly out of balance, reflecting the Soviet-Israeli interests of 30 years past.

I'm just saying, I don't see him trying all that hard.

Barry Meislin said...

Everything you say makes a lot of sense, at those levels.

But trying to create working political relationships with revanchiste, paranoid, quasi-tyrannical regimes is asking for, sorry---begging for---disappointment.

On the other hand, sure, there's things they want that Israel could provide..... Lots of things....

Anonymous said...

paranoid me:

after Mavi Marmara there happened to be a meeting of Erdogan A'jad and Putin in Istanbul

recently Erdogan has granted the Orthodox church of Turkey a great favour (let them use some old building). Putin ululated.

UNESCO's chief is of communist high nobility stock*). Bulgaria has quite an Orthodox pedigree. Both Orthodox and Communist have Power first in common.

Moscow is eager on its claim on being the legitimate heir to Constantinople (Kiev competed for a while but caved in) Dialogue with Catholics about managing or healing the schism seem to have petered out.

UNESCO holds world philosophers' conference in Tehran said Sylvia at Point of no Return.

Connectinf those dots I don't see where Israel could find a niche in this alliance of the three wannabe allies. I remember nothing though about the Orthodox church's and/or Byzantium's history of anti-semitism down to if there is one.



Avigdor said...

Russia has two allies, her army and her fleet. A famous quote from one tzar or another that I used to append to my emails in high school - my russophile years.

The Russians hate the Turks, maybe more than they hate Jews. To be called a Turk in Russia...

Let's put it like this. When I was in high school, I met a Turk, a real Turk, for a first time in my life. We had been living in the US for six or seven years by then, so I wasn't fresh off the boat. We ended up becoming good friends, he and my other friend, a Moroccan French Jew, a real three musketeers, for a few years at least.

Anyway, when he told me he was a Turk, I thought he was joking. Why else would anyone refer to themselves that way, I thought? Where I grew up, a Turk was the lowest form of life, lower than Moldovan, lower than Gypsy, lower than Jews, lower than the few African blacks that studied in the local university on Soviet scholarships and waved their hands around when they walked, like monkeys ("to better climb trees, my brother, who was 11 at the time, explained to me").

"Turk" was a term of instant, reflexive derision. It was how you insulted someone on the schoolyard when they called your father a "toilet cleaner" (the lowest possible pedigree profession).

My great grandfather won a silver coin from the Tzar for fighting the Turks. At least the Nazis were civilized. The Turks were barbarians, raping, pillaging savages.

Maybe things have changed, it's been 20 years, but I can't imagine that they've changed that dramatically. Russia is always looking to open up a crack against American influence on its periphery, and then to sell it back to the Americans with interest, but in the end, it doesn't have friends, any friends, ever.

Avigdor said...

Except Castro. And Cuba. But mostly Castro. The Russians loved Castro. They loved him so much they gave him nukes, something they didn't trust to East Germany, even with 10000 Russian tanks on top of it. They still love him. When Russians hate, they hate with cruelty, but when they love, it is like a child's love, blind, unadulterated by experience. But mostly they hate - foreigners, each other, themselves, and in an instant they will love, and everything is forgiven.

Someone should write a love story of Castro and Russia. But even Castro, perhaps you have noticed, is no longer dining on caviar.

The Turks, the Iranians... forget about it. But I digress.

Anonymous said...

thanks, that was a real good one and I believe every word of yours, but my paranoia concentrates on the wheeling and dealing of the Orthodox - it is a pity that all the interesting news I get on it every now and then is audio only.

what Erdogan granted them recently was an unprecedented favour and that UNESCO chief stems from a country currently resurrecting its Orthodox past with vigour.

Churchill in all of his books about WW1 bashed nobody like he did the tsar-murdering bolsheviks and he wasn't one to revise judgment. But when they had something to offer which was good for his country he sucked up to them.

So between us the question remains what is stronger, Russians' wish to see the Orthodox take their rightful place as the finest Christians again or hatred of Turks?

Is it beneath them to screw the Turks, if they see a chance to do it on the sly? and maybe even gain passage rights for the Dardanelles for some of their Black Sea fleet?

I don't doubt, that should the Turks be so stupid as to play footsies with them, it will be uncomfortably interesting to watch who will prove to be the better screwer.