Perspectives Papers

Perspectives Papers provide analysis from BESA Center research associates and other outside experts on the most important issues pertaining to Israel and the Middle East.

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In Mideast Protests, Ultras Are Down but Not Out

No. 1116
| March 19, 2019

Middle East soccer fans played an important role in the 2011 popular revolts. Regimes across the region are determined to ensure that they will not have another such opportunity.

How Trump Should Counter Putin in Ukraine and Venezuela

No. 1115
| March 18, 2019

If Nicolás Maduro is removed from office in Venezuela, Putin might act as he did when a popular revolution overthrew Yanukovych in Ukraine in 2014. At that time, he launched a surprise invasion of Crimea. This time, he may launch a surprise naval and land attack on Mariupol, set up a land bridge from Crimea to Russia, and continue intensifying his attempt to strangle Ukraine’s economy in order to subjugate that country to Russia. Trump must take immediate preemptive measures to prevent this by increasing naval aid to Kiev.

The US Does Not Lose Much by Withdrawing from Afghanistan

No. 1114
| March 17, 2019

In December 2018, the Trump administration announced that its military will start withdrawing roughly 7,000 troops from Afghanistan in the coming months. Though the decision seems an abrupt shift in the US’s 17-year-old war in Afghanistan, it fits into the American grand strategy of keeping Eurasia divided.

Saudi Gas Export Plan Shines New Light on Efforts to Isolate Iran

No. 1113
| March 15, 2019

Saudi plans to become a major gas exporter within a decade raise questions about what the real goal of the kingdom’s policy, and by extension that of the US, is towards Iran.

Peace with the Arab States and the Palestinians Must be Delinked

No. 1111
| March 13, 2019

US officials and envoys dangle the prospect of peace with Arab states in front of Israel as bait to encourage it to make painful concessions on the Palestinian issue. It would be a grave strategic mistake for Israel to fall for this gambit. As the Oslo Accords proved, peace is not made on the White House lawn but in Ramallah, Jerusalem, and Gaza.  

Iran’s Ballistic Missile Program: New Developments

No. 1110
| March 12, 2019

Iran’s rapid development of missile expertise has raised concerns in Washington and among its allies about Tehran’s intentions. Despite international censure, the Revolutionary Guards have been able to develop the largest and most diverse ballistic missile arsenal in the region. Tehran is determined to develop and acquire ever more advanced and accurate ballistic missiles – but its efforts to achieve that goal are hampered by American and Israeli determination to subvert it.

Wanted: Scholar to Document Progressive Perversity

No. 1109
| March 11, 2019

The academy needs a competent and ambitious historian to document the many instances of progressive perversity throughout the centuries. Topics to be examined should include the antisemitism of Erasmus of Rotterdam, the “Prince of Humanism”; the French Revolution, during which progressives guillotined other progressives; the antisemitism of progressives like Voltaire, most French socialist leaders of the nineteenth century, and Karl Marx; communism; and the 2001 World Conference Against Racism, which was an iconic example of progressive perversity.

Hamas Is Willing to Risk War to Avoid Economic Collapse

No. 1108
| March 10, 2019

Tensions between Israel and Hamas are surging again following a string of attacks from Gaza and Israeli retaliatory airstrikes. The reason is simple: Hamas is struggling to manage Gaza economically, it refuses to divert funds from its military wing to civilian needs, and the Strip’s infrastructure is eroding at an alarming rate. Only brinksmanship with Israel can extricate Hamas from the disarray it has created.

The Failure of Palestinian Nationalism

No. 1107
| March 10, 2019

The Warsaw Conference demonstrated that the popularity of the Palestinian cause continues to decline, suggesting that Palestinian nationalism has failed. Historically, the positive elements of Palestinian nationalism have been offset by its negative features, including reliance on antisemitism and negation of the Other. Pressures from above, in the form of Arab and Islamic identities, and tribal and clan pressures from below have impeded the development of a stable national identity. At the same time, strong state security institutions protect elites while weak social welfare institutions create dependence, mostly on foreign aid. While continued development of the Palestinian economy is encouraging, the contradictions of Palestinian nationalism are not easily resolved.

The End of “Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok”

No. 1106
| March 8, 2019

The geopolitical divorce of Russia and Europe is not confined to the military or economic realms. Over the past several years, the differences have been ideological as well. A good example is the death of a once major political project, the “Economic Space from Lisbon to Vladivostok.”