The legitimacy of the recent Turkish referendum is under dispute, further polarizing an already divided Turkish society. With no effective mechanisms for conflict resolution, and headed by an authoritarian Erdoğan, Turkey is heading towards a socio-political crisis. This might include a deteriorating economy, a flight of elites, and possibly even violence. Turkish nationalism remains very strong, however, and can be enlisted to divert attention from Turkey’s domestic problems. Erdoğan might decide to use his increased power to pursue an adventurist foreign policy rooted in his Islamist and neo-Ottoman impulses.
Considering the ways Israel’s opponents have changed over the decades, the collective yearning among Israelis for a decisive, 1967-style victory is unrealistic. The false hope for such success impedes clarity of thinking and causes the Israeli public to lose confidence in both the military and the political leadership. The only approach that can succeed in Israel’s current conflicts is a patient, attritional, repetitive use of force. Israelis should take comfort that time is on Israel’s side.
Since the 1970s, every American president has attempted to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Senior American diplomats and envoys have spent a great deal of time on this Sisyphean endeavor. For all his iconoclasm, President Trump has this goal in mind as well – but his eagerness might prove self-defeating.
At the “Strategic Challenges in the Eastern Mediterranean” conference, Prof. Efraim Inbar of the BESA Center reviewed the strategic landscape in the Eastern Mediterranean. The US has become absent, he said; Turkey is increasingly becoming a revisionist power; and Iran’s presence is increasing along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. It is not clear whether
Israel is a very pro-American country, possibly more so than any other country in the world. As in the past, Israelis followed the US presidential election with great interest, amazed that the American political system had not produced more palatable presidential candidates. After eight years of a frosty relationship with the US Commander in Chief, many Israelis cautiously welcome the advent of Donald Trump.
Making strategic choices requires distinguishing which issues are urgent and which are important. Right now, the securing of Jewish control over Jerusalem is both urgent and important. Jerusalem carries great symbolic and strategic value for Israel, and Israeli control of the city must be protected.
Though he might be a novice in foreign policy, Donald Trump could bring about dramatic changes in the global arena by aligning with Russia against China. In this scenario, Russia would have an opportunity to align with Western civilization, ending a millennium-long schism. Will Russia be ready to end its cozy relations with the radical regime in Iran to become a true US ally in the fight against militant Islam?
Australia and Israel should develop a more significant strategic partnership. They are each small countries that play important roles in their respective regions. They have democratic values in common as well as a pro-American orientation in their foreign policy.
Israel must at long last acknowledge Jerusalem’s unique strategic significance as well as address the city’s demographic challenges in a way that manifests determination to keep it united under Israeli sovereignty. Jerusalem is the place where the future of the Jewish state will be determined.
The threat to Israel of terror attack tunnels from Gaza is exaggerated. Thus the Israel Ministry of Defense’s plan to build a very expensive subterranean wall around the Gaza Strip, reaching a depth of dozens of meters, makes no strategic sense. It is a waste of money and effort, and hands Hamas a public relations victory.