Western civilization is at an inflection point. A precipice that requires each leader to unambiguously choose a side.
In his book, Leadership Is an Art, Max De Pree writes that “the first responsibility of a leader is to define reality.” I would like to add, accurately. The ability to accurately define reality has set apart leaders throughout the course of history.
Israel, as a nation living under constant existential threat, has developed the keen ability to accurately define its reality. The atrocities we witnessed Iran-backed Hamas commit only cement Israel’s assessment of current realities. For over a decade, they have sounded the alarm on Iranian aggression and Western appeasement. They have repeatedly warned the world of the real threat that belies, not only them but all of Western civilization.
Living amid Iranian hegemony with terrorist proxies positioned on multiple fronts, Israel’s leaders, like chess masters, have studied the game. They recognize the dangers and possibilities of any configuration of the pieces on the board, and they have the instinct and experience to know that each move will affect subsequent actions.
This perceptive ability has been demonstrated throughout history. Winston Churchill, amid the agony of World War II, discerned what his contemporary, Neville Chamberlain, could not. Chamberlain defined the challenge of his day through his attempts at peace, really appeasement, with a rising Nazi Germany. It took Churchill to recognize that this was not only the wrong approach, but also a deadly one.
Similarly, Abraham Lincoln navigated the great divide of American society. With daunting human casualties in mind, he faced no easy options. But Lincoln chose a side. He defined the abolition of slavery as the necessary step to preserve the union and the integrity of the American soul. In making a difficult choice on behalf of the larger vision, he secured a victory for the country.
These examples from the past give us a reference point to analyze what we’re seeing today.
This war brought on by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum. It occurred in the wake of Iranian radicalism and entrenchment.
To choose the side of Israel, Western leaders must support Israel’s military actions without calling for ceasefire before Hamas is eradicated, urge global solidarity with Israel, and reinstate previous sanctions against Iran and its proxies.
This includes cutting off financial support to Iranian proxy groups in various regions and blocking the $6 billion held by Qatar. Additionally, it is imperative that funding is cut from UN entities that provide a platform for the Iranian regime. By standing in solidarity with Israel, Western leaders must implement aggressive measures like these against known threats in the Middle East.
Hamas time and again creates and thrives off colossal humanitarian crises by invoking collateral damage in its strategy to fully destroy the Jewish State. The choice to support Israel in a war with Hamas is not difficult at first, but who knows what the future will bring.
To accurately define reality is to recognize the necessary outcome of this war: the complete defeat of Hamas.
Choosing Israel and then reverse course and pressure Israel toward a premature ceasefire is not a viable outcome. In fact, it would be a detrimental decision that anticipates a return to the status quo and empowers the terrorist proxies throughout the Middle East. Consistent with the laws of armed conflict, Israel will win its war over Hamas. Nations must choose a side.
Time will tell if Western leaders remain resilient in their support of Israel. We’ve seen how PR campaigns can cause war fatigue, but it’s essential that they commit to the long game. More importantly, will they recognize what Israel saw all along — Iran’s foothold in the world has in fact become a stranglehold and it must be cut off at all costs. History will judge if Western leaders chose the righteous side of this conflict.