Does Israel have a future?

The existence of Israel is repudiated by the majority of Arab and Muslim governments, and the organisation Hamas is explicitly dedicated to the destruction of Israel.

Does it have a future?

The population of Israel is approximately 7.5m.
The population of the states neighbouring Israel (Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon) is 112m.
The Arab population as a whole is 358m.
The Muslim population is 1.57 billion.

Israeli GDP is 200,000 million USD
Arab world GDP is 1,624,042 million USD

Some 11,000,000 Muslims have been violently killed since 1948, of which 35,000, or 0.3 percent, died during the sixty years of fighting Israel, or just 1 out of every 315 Muslim fatalities. In contrast, over 90 percent of the 11 million who perished were killed by fellow Muslims.

Around 1200 people have been killed in Israel by terrorists since 2000.

This is the context in which Israel is repeatedly attacked by the West, which tends to have an attention span shorter than a goldfish. No wonder the people there are wanting their children to emigrate.


I think this is worth quoting in full:

To summarize, and to make the sequence clearer using nothing more than explicit assumptions and accounting identities, let me suggest schematically the list of factors that require either much greater flexibility on the part of surplus nations or much greater deficits on the part of the US:

1. I assume that for the foreseeable future the major trade deficit countries in Europe are going to find it very difficult to attract net new financing. At best they will be able, through official help, to refinance part of their existing liabilities.
2. If these countries cannot attract net new capital inflows, their currency account deficits, currently equal to two-thirds that of the US, must automatically contract.
3. If European trade deficits contact, there must be one or both of two automatic consequences. Either the trade surpluses of Germany and other European surplus countries – larger than that of China and just a little larger in sum than the European deficits – must contract by the same amount, or Europe’s overall surplus must expand by the same amount.
4. We will probably get a combination of the two, but a much weaker euro – combined with credit contraction, rising unemployment, and German reluctance to reverse policies that constrain domestic consumption – will mean that a very large share of the adjustment will be forced abroad via an expanding European current account surplus.
5. If Europe’s current account surplus grows, there must be one or both of two automatic consequences. Either the current account surplus of surplus countries like China and Japan must contract by the same amount, or the current account deficits of deficit countries like the US must grow by that amount, or some combination of the two.
6. If the Chinas and Japans of the world lower interest rates, slow credit contraction, and otherwise try to maintain their exports – let alone try to grow them – most of the adjustment burden will be shifted onto countries that do not intervene in trade directly. The most obvious are current account deficit countries like the US.
7. The only way for this not to happen is for the deficit countries to intervene in trade themselves. Since the US cannot use interest rate and wage policies, or currency intervention, to interfere in trade, it must use tariffs.

Tariffs in the US, Asia and probably in Latin America and Europe will rise. These are big numbers and the risk is that the adjustments are likely to occur rapidly. This means the rest of the world will also have to adjust just as rapidly.

I don’t really see how the numbers are going to work…

Ghost (Robert Harris)

Got this to read because I saw the trailer for the movie, and thought it looked intriguing. Fascinating plot – and consideration of what ghost-writing involves – and a satisfying ending, albeit a little predictable. At some stage I’ll have to do a rant on attitudes to the Iraq war, but not today.

Captain America had a point

John Hobbins links to two interesting articles here and here.

One of the things I enjoy reading in my spare time is comics – occasionally called ‘graphic novels’ at the higher reaches of the form, but, basically, comics, involving people who have large muscles and poor taste in clothing. One of the most interesting ones I’ve read recently has been the ‘Civil War’ sequence put out by Marvel. I won’t bore you with explaining why it is that Captain America and Iron Man are slugging it out (though it IS extremely interesting social commentary) I just want to point out that there comes a point when Captain America surrenders – not because he has changed his mind about the justice of his cause, but because too many innocent bystanders are suffering because of the struggle.

The man has a point.

Spectacularly wrong

I’ve been reading some reviews and 2010 predictions from various people (like Kunstler, linked to previously) and I thought it would be a useful exercise in humility to link to a post where I was quite spectacularly wrong: World War Three by Easter 2006! I pursued the thought here and elsewhere.

I suppose one of the good things about a blog is that it becomes a record of such things – which means that I have become much more circumspect, and that is healthy.

I still think we have entered into a great dislocation though 😉

PS feel free to add in any that you remember. 9/11 I covered here.

Not a picture

More like a round up of things I’ve been looking at recently, in lieu of the next TBTM (because I forgot to take a picture this morning).

First things first: word count 12,000 or so, poised to start ch3 (tho’ I’ve been “poised” for about 48 hours now and probably won’t do anything until Monday!).

Now here is a video from our corporate sponsors:

What the church should be doing??

Why capitalism fails.

The UN Human Rights Council is a scandal.

The Top Ten things you didn’t know about Iran. (Tho’ I did already know several, I’m sure you do too.)

Why Obama is right on Iran.

Rob Bell is a heretic performance artist.

Some thoughts on violence.

British soldiers are strong but their government is pitiful.

On Polanski.

And last, but certainly not least, what Transition Island Mersea should be pursuing.