Old rock-and-roll lyrics show up years later in the strangest places. Musician-poets seem to have some kind of strange visceral connection with both culture and the world of power and politics. For example, I have always believed that often it is true that “the words of the prophets are written on the subway walls.” Simon and Garfunkel apparently knew more than they really new. It’s too bad Shakespeare didn’t play the electric guitar and have a recording studio. He undoubtedly would have upstaged Rousseau, Hobbes, Karl Marx, and all the other pretenders of public policy.
So how does Israel’s military posturing towards a nuclear-powered Iran really connect with Bob Dylan? It seems there was an Israeli rock-and-roll fan in the 1960’s who was destined for the realm of politics. They heard Dylan say, “When you got nothin’, you got nothin’ to lose,” and connected the dots to foreign policy. That’s Israel’s greatest political empowerment: they have the capacity to move forward as if they have “nothing to lose” in key areas. As foreign policy goes, they seem free to do what they’ve got to do. Israel has a clear “nothing” and an incredible “something” that allow them this “nothing to lose” mentality: 1) They, no matter what they do, have very few friends in the political world, and 2) the Holocaust was such a mind-boggling and ultimately defining experience for the Jewish people that it “freed” them in ways that are powerful beyond words. It gave them a permanent galvanizing experience that makes them capable of putting all of their chips on the political table in ways unlike any
However ineptly I am saying it, I believe the Jews know exactly what I am saying. The Holocaust is forever imprinted in their collective psyche and, unlike some in the world; they are not naïve enough to think such atrocities are forever in our past. Their political enemies know how real Israel’s resolve is in this area. It makes them powerful, present, and a potential threat to the political policies of all other nations incapable of putting all their chips on the table. Dylan, you’re a genius and a great icon in the realm of ultimate foreign policy.
Principle – A commitment to truth, even in the face of great loss, brings freedom.