Israel is not North Korea

Just a bit of perspective on the comparison, now gaining traction, between the U.S. reaction to the Gaza flotilla assault and the Chinese reaction to the Cheonan sinking, which Dan Drezner was the first to raise:

The Obama administration has reacted to this incident in remarkably similar ways to China’s reaction to the Cheonan incident — with a call for more information.

It bears noting that the U.S. and South Korean reaction in the immediate aftermath of the Cheonan sinking were along the same lines. The difference is that China’s reaction comes after a thorough, multilateral investigation has provided pretty overwhelming evidence of North Korea’s involvement in the Cheonan sinking.

I mentioned in passing in my previous post that I didn’t feel that Drezner’s comparison between Israel and North Korea in terms of diplomatic isolation stands up under scrutiny, either. To add some more detail, Israel enjoys what amounts to a free trade agreement with the EU, was recently admitted into the OECD, is a member of the EU’s Union for the Mediterranean, has healthy relations with South American countries, and has significant overlapping interests — including in Gaza — with many of the Arab countries most vehemently attacking it today.

Furthermore, while Israel is under enormous diplomatic pressure and is increasingly isolated on the international stage, the sad truth is that there are many constituencies in America and Europe, if less so in the latter, that fully support Israel’s policies in Gaza, both now and during the last war.

There’s plenty to criticize in Israel’s policy of heavy-handed and disproportionate reprisals without needing to resort to thinly stretched comparisons to North Korea.

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