What Israel and Russia Have in Common

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Recently, there seems to be more and more in common between these two countries. Faced with attacks on their own people in the case of Palestinian bombings against Israelis and on their own citizens (many South Ossetians hold Russian citizenship) in the case of the recent invasion by Georgia into South Ossetia, both Israeli and Russian responses have been very much alike.

Israel launches full scale invasions in retaliation (Lebanon War 2006) to deter future attacks, destroy terrorist strongholds and satiate its own bloodlust. Russia similarly strikes beyond the borders of South Ossetia to make a point, weaken the enemy and pander to nationalistic sentiment.

It is therefore supremely ironic that while the USA supports Israel, ostensibly buying their arguments that they need to take such harsh retaliatory actions to protect themselves, it at the same time fails to acknowledge Russia's equally justified or unjustified claims of self-defense. While it may be true that the USA has only condemned Russia for striking beyond what is necessary, it ultimately never did condemn Israel, only giving vaguely worded comments and on the contrary actually even vetoing resolutions that condemn Israel.

This difference seems hard to reconcile if one sees the USA as truly a bastion of all that is good. On the contrary, the USA simply practises realpolitik, basing their foreign policies on very pragmatic issues. In this case, the strong pro Israel lobby as well as an American public that is largely sympathetic toward Israel partly explains the pro Israel stance that the USA often takes. As for Russia, the USA has probably not fully let go of its Cold War baggage yet. And as for why the USA supports Georgia, it apparently is because Georgia's such a democracy, something I might want to point out was quite a pivotal issue related to the Cold War. The USA wanted bastions of democracy in Eastern Europe while Russia feared the collapse of communist and a consequent erosion of their control over their satellite states.

But above all, I find it supremely ironic that Russia is becoming the new Israel (albeit a lot bigger and a lot less hated) and also pretty telling of how good ol' USA is actually quite a patron of the doublestandards.