Although concerns about a Trump confrontation with a nuclear North Korea are widespread, there has been little corollary discussion of crisis implications for other parts of the world. Yet there are important spillover implications to be considered, specifically with reference to the Middle East and Israel’s nuclear strategy.
Many believe that US financial and military support for Israel harms the interests of the US, especially in the Middle East and North Africa. One way to test this assumption is to explore whether US support for Israel has a negative effect on exports of the US to the countries of the region. It doesn’t. US exports to the region have grown. Fluctuations within that overall growth trend are easily explained by oil prices, the chief source of income of many of the consumer states – not by Israel’s “offenses” against Hezbollah and Hamas.
Two reports on cybersecurity – one commissioned by President Obama and the other by CSIS – have been placed on the desk of President Trump. They are different in their approach: one promotes an evolutionary policy based on procedural and “soft” tools, and the other espouses an activist approach domestically and a more combative one regarding foreign opponents. Both contain recommendations that may be relevant to Israel, including a national program to strengthen identity authentication mechanisms, a nationwide “protective umbrella,” a national awareness campaign, and the transfer of government infrastructure to external cloud services. Israeli hi-tech industry could also be incorporated into the programs suggested in the reports, should they materialize.
The US is usually thought to be biased in favor of Israel, even after its recent acceptance of UNSC Resolution 2334. But for many years, the US has been a big part of the reason why the diplomatic world accepts a false narrative of the Arab-Israeli conflict that harms Israel and makes it harder to achieve peace. Washington should move to a truth-telling strategy to dismantle the structure of false views that slander Israel and stand in the way of peace.
With the start of a new era in the White House, Israel must let go of the two-state solution as defined by the Clinton Parameters. It is time for a reassessment of Rabin’s approach, which stressed the importance of the preservation and development of Area C in Judea and Samaria under Israeli control as a prerequisite for defensible borders.
Widespread moral revulsion at the horrors of the battle for Aleppo, and the aftershocks of the assassination of the Russian ambassador in Turkey, should not blind us to the dark strategic implications of the recent turn of events in Syria.
Israelis who cultivate the pipe dream of substituting Israel’s long-term bond with the US for an alliance with China and Russia should take a long, hard look at the votes of Moscow and Beijing at UNESCO, where they joined in denial of Jewish links to Jerusalem. Russian and Chinese policies lack the ethical basis that is so prevalent in US policy, and the chances of forging a similar long-term bond with either are slim.
Some pundits contend that in the absence of a direct threat from state armies, and in a situation where terror, guerrilla and rocket threats predominate, Israel no longer needs heavy maneuvering formations. This study argues the contrary.