Netanyahu and Trump: The soldier and the shopkeeper

This may seem like a strange thing for an adult not resident in a psychiatric institution to write, but in my ideal world, there would be a lot more Donald Trumps and a lot fewer Benjamin Netanyahus. Netahyahu spent much of his youth as a soldier, serving in an IDF special-forces unit in the War of Attrition and the Yom Kippur War, and has spent much of his political career trying simply to ensure that his lonely little country will survive, beset as it is by hostility on all sides. By way of contrast, Trump’s career in business has from time to time constituted an assault against creditors and good taste both, but Trump’s life has been the sort of life that is possible only in nations blessed by peace and prosperity. Napoleon scoffed that the British were a nation of shopkeepers, but even while we honor the courage and sacrifice of the fighting man, a nation that spends more of its time and energy keeping shop or, God forgive us, developing casino resorts is a happier nation than the one whose men and women are obliged to spend their time soldiering.

It is naturally very difficult for us Americans to understand the domestic political realities of Israel. Israel is not a party to the pending U.S.–Iran nuclear deal, but Israel has more of a stake in the outcome than does the United States, at least in the near term. All honest parties acknowledge that some portion of those unsequestered Iranian funds are going to find their way into financing terror operations, and that may be of some direct concern to the United States at some point down the road; it will be a critical concern for Israel the day after the funds are released. The prospect of an Iranian nuclear weapon being lobbed into Tel Aviv is much closer than that of one being lobbed into San Francisco.