Aaron David Miller : Failed Policy Intellectual Opines on Gaza Blitzkrieg, a comment by Political Realist

The failure of America’s policy intellectuals that inhabit both government and various ‘think tanks’ and front organizations is surly a phenomenon that defies….

Political Cynic

Mr. Aaron David Miller is a man and Policy Intellectual who represents American failure in the pressing matter of Israel/Palestine. Or should intellectual honesty demand the exercise of more accurate appraisal of  his dismal record, of a very particular kind of Zionist apologetics, allied and anchored in the hegemonic claims of the American National Security State? His record of twenty years of government service is very impressive, yet as we approach the Third Intifada, pending the cessation of Israel’s blitzkrieg on the open-air prison of Gaza, are we at all bothered that Mr. Miller hardly mentions the carnage that Israel has wrought on a civilian population, with nowhere to go. A vicious, bloody re-enactment of the Warsaw Ghetto? Here is his mention of that human cost:

I understand the US determination to do it all – the death toll is rising, a crisis is escalating-…

But the rest of the paragraph is utterly revealing:

but Kerry is out of sync, both in trying (and failing) for ceasefire after ceasefire and in trying (and flailing) to make peace between Binyamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas. “It’s crazy just to be sitting around,” he said on a hot mic Sunday. But is it?

Out of sync with what? The imperatives of the Netnayahu government, a supine American President and a Senate that redefines the obsequious?

In his essay at the Guardian titled America needs to end it’s obsession with trying to fix everything in Gaza, Mr. Miller demonstrates that he is a man of practicalities, of hardheaded evaluations of the present dilemma. That evaluation is unimpeded by the exercise of what might be called a moral/ethical dimension. Like almost all American Policy Intellectuals Mr. Miller is an intellectual inheritor of  the dubious Herman Kahn, and as such Mr. Miller’s evaluation is focused on those practicalities.

Mr. Miller seems to be constructing an obtuse apologetics for Sec. Kerry, a man whose ambition to be an actor on the world stage is unaccompanied by any actual skill or talent, except for his constant assurances that he is a committed Zionist, a true believer, not just an ally.

One might ask the very pressing question: when will this Israeli blitzkrieg stop, this shelling of hospital, U.N. schools etc.,etc., Mr. Miller provides no real answer except for those practicalities which do play a major role in pursuing peace, yet Mr. Miller’s twenty year government service seems in the view of history, utterly misspent.

Mr. Miller enumerates three assumptions, all based in what, one can ask, forgetting momentarily that propaganda, of what ever kind, is meant to blunt critical analysis, and play on assumptions of both the experts and the lay reader, whose interests are closely held i.e. America and Israel.

His last paragraph proves, without question, that Mr. Miller, as strategic policy thinker/planer, has emancipated himself from the usual agonizing of the Liberal Zionist coterie.

It’s too early to sketch out precise terms for how this ends. But if John Kerry wants to have any chance of stabilizing Gaza – let alone pursuing a broader peace process in the next two years – he needs to remind himself that Netanyahu is tough, frustrating and requires patience. And that Gaza is the poster child for doing the best you can.

See this long quotation from Hannah Arendt from her book To Save the Jewish Homeland, 1948, as prescient description of contemporary Israel, perhaps a partial answer to the questions that might have been asked in Mr. Miller’s essay.

And even if the Jews were to win the war, its end would find the unique possibilities and the unique achievements of Zionism in Palestine destroyed. The land that would come into being would be something quite other than the dream of world Jewry, Zionist and non-Zionist. The ‘victorious’ Jews would live surrounded by an entirely hostile Arab population, secluded into ever-threatened borders, absorbed with physical self-defense to a degree that would submerge all other interests and acitvities. The growth of a Jewish culture would cease to be the concern of the whole people; social experiments would have to be discarded as impractical luxuries; political thought would center around military strategy…. And all this would be the fate of a nation that — no matter how many immigrants it could still absorb and how far it extended its boundaries (the whole of Palestine and Transjordan is the insane Revisionist demand)–would still remain a very small people greatly outnumbered by hostile neighbors.

Under such circumstances… the Palestinian Jews would degenerate into one of those small warrior tribes about whose possibilities and importance history has amply informed us since the days of Sparta. Their relations with world Jewry would become problematical, since their defense interests might clash at any moment with those of other countries where large number of Jews lived. Palestine Jewry would eventually separate itself from the larger body of world Jewry and in its isolation develop into an entirely new people. Thus it becomes plain that at this moment and under present circumstances a Jewish state can only be erected at the price of the Jewish homeland…

My source for the above quote:


Political Realist


About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
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2 Responses to Aaron David Miller : Failed Policy Intellectual Opines on Gaza Blitzkrieg, a comment by Political Realist

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