I respect Joe Klein’s take on foreign affairs, and it seems like he’s beginning to see some of the negatives of invasion more clearly, but I have to say this some pretty poor reasoning.
As Swampland readers know, I supported the Israeli effort to diminish Hamas’s military capabilities–but the most valuable targets were probably hit in the first few days of the aerial campaign and, as time goes on, the possibility of a Hamas “moral” victory becomes more likely. The only way out now is a temporary cease-fire. Even a unilateral one would have the effect of demonstrating Hamas’s instransigence–and those who condemn Israel for its disproportionality in Gaza tend to be disproportionate themselves, ignoring the thousands of rockets Hamas has lobbed into Israel over the past 3 years.
Indeed, there has been speculation that Israel, like a drunken aggressor, is waiting to be restrained as to avoid of the potential blowback while managing to save face, and this underscores precisely why this was such a terrible idea in the first place. That is, if meaningful movement towards peace is the goal, it hardly seems productive to follow the “waiting to be held back” approach. What reason would Palestinian leadership have to trust Israel if the only reason they stopped bombing UN schools was because the international order told them to stop? Rather, this exposes the sort of short sighted and strategically lacking irrationality that led to the airstrikes.