Tuesday, September 8, 2015

US still needs Israel - Prof. Abraham Ben-Zvi



by Prof. Abraham Ben-Zvi

-- upgrading Israel's strategic position during this tumultuous time, when the disastrous results of the Obama administration's soft power policies are becoming evident, is not just a necessary move given Iran's expected military reinforcement -- it is necessary so as to serve broader American interests in the region

Despite the opposition the nuclear deal with Iran has aroused among the American public, it seems Capitol Hill has already made its decision. The White House has managed to secure the support of at least one-third of the Senate, which is expected to block the efforts by Republicans, as well as a handful of Democrats, to stop Congress from backing the deal.

Although this legislation stands to garner only minority support among lawmakers in Congress, the fact that this minority is about to give the deal its blessing and tip the balance in favor of U.S. President Barack Obama reflects exactly how dubious the congressional process and the public legitimacy afforded to it have become.

This paradox is rooted in internal American politics. With the 2016 presidential elections 14 months away, Democrats in the Senate have decided to toe the line and support Obama's position, despite their expressed reservations over the bad deal with Iran, so as not to torpedo it, which would be a victory for their Republican opponents. 

Assuming the final details of the nuclear deal with Iran will be hammered out within the next few weeks, the real question is what impact they will have on U.S.-Israel relations.

Contrary to the apocalyptic scenarios predicting a tectonic fracture in Washington-Jerusalem ties, reality paints a very different picture, at least on the security level. 

Given the continued chaos, murderous violence and prolonged disintegration of political entities in the Middle East -- the humanitarian consequences of which have become a pan-European question -- the Obama administration has clear strategic interest in bolstering Israel's military capabilities. 

Israel is a strategic ally and a pro-Western stronghold located in the midst of a radical sphere threatening to drown the Middle East in a tidal wave of uncontrollable violence. In other words, upgrading Israel's strategic position during this tumultuous time, when the disastrous results of the Obama administration's soft power policies are becoming evident, is not just a necessary move given Iran's expected military reinforcement -- it is necessary so as to serve broader American interests in the region, not all of which are linked to Iran.

Even the appeasement-driven Obama administration cannot ignore the upheavals that continue to plague the Middle East, which amplify the refugee issue in Europe and mandate increasing America's strategic cooperation with Israel.

The disagreements over the Iran deal cannot undermine the fact that the White House sees Israel, alongside the moderate Sunni states, as the main device that could be leveraged into presenting actual red lines to the fanatic forces of radical Islam. 

Given the Obama administration's "contribution" to the ongoing civil war in Syria, especially in light of its reluctance to take any military action against the Assad regime in Damascus, the decision to upgrade Israel's military capabilities is meant to offset, even if only partially, Washington's disengagement and subsequent helplessness in the region.

The generous aid package to be offered to Israel reflects Washington's eagerness to minimize, somehow, the damage its failures have brought upon the Middle East and the new threats looming over it. After all, foreign policy means to reflect diplomatic, political and strategic interests, not terms of endearment.

Even if some of the personal differences between Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu persist, the rattled, burning regional sphere around them is likely to overshadow any other consideration and prompt them to forge closer strategic ties.


Prof. Abraham Ben-Zvi

Source: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=13689

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

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