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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Trump’s Business Approach to Foreign Aid Diplomacy

No. 734
| February 7, 2018

Until now, two approaches have dominated American foreign aid: the strategic and the humanitarian. Trump has added a third: the “business approach.” The strategic is based on interests, the humanitarian on compassion, and the business on yield. The great powers use the strategic approach and the Europeans the humanitarian. The business approach now guides US aid to the Palestinians. Trump has threatened to cut off US aid to the Palestinians if they refuse to negotiate with Israel, and cut US allocations to UNRWA. This new approach influences the attitudes of Egypt and Jordan, both large recipients of American aid. This can be seen in their low-key responses to Trump’s Jerusalem decision. It can also have ramifications for Israel’s relations with the Palestinians and the US.

Chinese-Palestinian Relations: What’s Really Going On?

No. 733
| February 6, 2018

On December 23, 2017, Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi observed that “it’s been seventy years since the UN adopted the decision to create a Palestinian state, but seventy years later, a Palestinian state is yet to be created.” Other Chinese voices in recent years have made similar statements on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Why the Chinese preoccupation with this issue? Perhaps because words and gestures allow Beijing to show involvement while avoiding intervention.

Russia’s Eurasian Disunion

No. 732
| February 5, 2018

When the Eurasian Economic Union (aka the Eurasian Union) was unveiled in early 2015, it had one major goal: to strengthen Moscow’s position across the former Soviet space. By promising economic benefits and military protection, the Kremlin managed to bring Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan into the Union and solidify its influence over them. However, the Eurasian Union has stalled since then. It lags considerably far behind other major unions across the Eurasian continent in terms of overall economic and political influence, and will continue to face major geopolitical competition from the European Union (EU).

Trump’s National Security Strategy: US and Israeli Viewpoints Converge

No. 731
| February 4, 2018

Though the recently released US National Security Strategy (NSS) is not intended to present a concrete and detailed set of American policies for the Middle East, it does reflect the general logic and goals of the Trump administration for the region – and indicates a convergence of US and Israeli views on the Middle East. Its substance and implications warrant close attention in Jerusalem.

39 Years Since the Establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran

No. 730
| February 1, 2018

Thirty-nine years have passed since Ayatollah Khomeini returned from exile and established the Islamic Republic of Iran. Under his leadership, Iran has undergone significant changes that have left a mark on the basic concepts and worldview of its leaders. That process can be divided into five periods distinguishable by the effects they had on the discourse of the Republic. The signal achievement of the theocratic regime that emerged from the revolution is its ability to maintain its power. However, Tehran’s quest for regional hegemony has created a wave of social protest that arose from the gap between the foreign ambitions of the Islamic leadership and the people’s desire for a better life.

Why Won’t Russia Support the Investigation of Chemical Weapons Attacks in Syria?

No. 729
| January 31, 2018

Because of Russian antagonism, 2018 might see a termination of investigations by an internationally authorized apparatus into chemical weapons (CW) attacks in Syria. There is a tight, if indirect, connection between that termination and the existence of a residual and possibly renewed stockpile of CW in the hands of the Syrian army, which is backed by Russia (and Iran).

India and Israel: Strategic Partners on the Move

No. 728
| January 30, 2018

India and Israel elevated their bilateral relationship to that of a “strategic partnership” in July 2017. While agriculture and opportunities for cooperation in the innovation economy hogged the limelight during both the prime ministerial visits, the defense/security peg of the partnership continues to have the greatest traction. The two countries hope to take it forward with an ambitious agenda that includes joint manufacturing as well as joint research and development.

Trump’s Jerusalem Statement Shakes Up the System

No. 727

The Trump Declaration should be examined from a point of view that goes beyond questions of cost and gain. Prevailing interpretations are trapped in a Western perception of the nature and logic of a strategic process.

US Allies Should Back President Trump

No. 726
| January 28, 2018

Donald J. Trump is facing unprecedented criticism one year into his term as president of the world’s greatest power. The allies of the US can assist him by making clear how much he has advanced American foreign affairs interests.

Will the Mullahs’ Missiles Backfire?

No. 725
| January 26, 2018

Important new Middle East developments give the US and its allies a real chance to push back on Iranian hegemonic ambitions in the Middle East. Key to this effort will be Congressional focus, not just on the Iran nuclear deal, but on sanctions legislation to undermine both Iranian missile proliferation and terrorist-supporting activities.