Friday, September 23, 2022

Hypermilitarized Apartheid State The Future Model For What Little Will Be Left Of Ukraine

thegrayzone |   By April of 2022, Zelensky’s admiration for the Israeli state had apparently reached new heights. Immediately following his declaration that Ukraine would soon become “a big Israel,” Washington’s former ambassador to Tel Aviv, Daniel B. Shapiro, published a blueprint for Zelensky to achieve that dream at the Washington DC-based, NATO-sponsored Atlantic Council.

“By adapting their country’s mindset to mirror aspects of Israel’s approach to chronic security challenges, Ukrainian officials can tackle critical national-security challenges with confidence and build a similarly resilient state,” Shapiro, an Atlantic Council “distinguished fellow,” wrote.

The nearly 900-word outline offered eight bullet points detailing how Ukraine can become more like Israel, a country recently described by Amnesty International as an “apartheid state.” The points included advice such as to place “security first,” maintain “Intelligence dominance,” and remember that “technology is key.”

According to Shapiro, a central component of Israel’s security strategy is that “the whole population plays a role.” 

“Civilians recognize their responsibility to follow security protocols and contribute to the cause,” Shapiro wrote of the Israeli population. “Some even arm themselves (though under strict supervision) to do so. The widespread mobilization of Ukrainian society in collective defense suggests that the country has this potential.” These comments align directly with Zelensky’s prediction that in a future Ukraine, “people with weapons” will be present in nearly every aspect of civilian life.

Like the propaganda touting Israel’s “success” as a security state, Shapiro’s blueprint imagined Ukraine’s citizenry united by a “common purpose” with help from Tel Aviv’s “high-tech innovation” in the military and intelligence sectors. His game plan portrays Israel’s advancements in security to as an almost mythical achievement owing purely to the feisty, innovative spirit of its citizens, overlooking the single greatest material factor in its success: unprecedented levels of foreign military assistance, particularly from the United States. Indeed, without US taxpayers virtually subsidizing its military through yearly aid packages amounting to untold billions of dollars, it is difficult to see how a country the size of New Jersey would have attained the status of the world’s leading surveillance technology hub.

Even as Shapiro urged Zelensky to maintain “active defense partnerships,” he simultaneously downplayed the role foreign aid has played in preserving Israel’s settler-colonial imperatives, arguing that the “single principle” informing Tel Aviv’s security doctrine is that “Israel will defend itself, by itself—and rely on no other country to fight its battles.” 

Shapiro must have forgotten that principle when he tweeted, “Thank God Israel has Iron Dome” — a reference to Israel’s air defense system that US taxpayers funded to the tune of $1 billion in 2021 alone, on top of $3.8 billion in military assistance earmarked for Tel Aviv that year. 

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