By Kishore Mahbubani (ft.com)
Friends of Israel unite! The time has come to send a common message: time is no longer on Israel’s side. Geopolitical forces are moving inexorably against it.
One cardinal mistake no small state should make is to put all its eggs into one basket, even a basket as strong as the US. Despite its huge influence, Israel cannot change the shifting geopolitical tides. America’s power has peaked: its economy will not shrink in absolute terms but it will shrink irresistibly in relative terms. This would have happened naturally but gradually. But the continuing economic crises in the US will hasten the decline in America’s influence. Shrinking budgets will cut defence and aid expenditures. A crippled economic giant with no rockets to launch its astronauts into outer space will lose its “mystique”. Countries will no longer hesitate to vote against American preferences.
This is what happened with the Unesco vote of October 31. The news agencies reported correctly that 107 countries voted in favour of admitting Palestine into Unesco and 14 countries voted against. What they failed to report is that these 107 countries represented 77.5 per cent of the world’s population; the 14 countries just 7.3 per cent. The American founding fathers called in the Declaration of Independence for “a decent respect to the opinions of mankind”. The American decision to suspend Unesco funding clearly showed no such decent respect.
There can be no doubt where the opinion of “mankind” is headed on the Israel-Palestine issue. The world is exasperated with Israeli intransigence on the two-state solution. It is even more exasperated with the continuous increase in illegal Israeli settlements on the West Bank. Some European states voted with Israel but their citizens are clearly sympathising more and more with the Palestinians. The world knows that while Americans and Europeans love to preach the virtue of speaking “truth to power”, they have displayed total cowardice on the Israel-Palestine issue
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