Topic:

US

The 1981 AWACS Deal: AIPAC and Israel Challenge Reagan

| November 8, 2018

In 1981, US President Ronald Reagan’s decision to implement a large arms deal with Saudi Arabia involving aircraft, tanks, and Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS) prompted a determined campaign against it spearheaded by the America-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). AIPAC and the Israeli government found the inclusion of the AWACS in the deal particularly troubling, as they threatened to speed up the regional arms race and erode Israel’s technological edge. President Reagan was equally determined to see the deal go through, as failure to do so would have had a detrimental effect on his authority and international standing. In his first major policy challenge in the White House, Reagan led a no-holds-barred effort to convince Congress to approve the deal.

This conflict between a US president and Israel illustrates the peril into which a small state wades when it asserts its own perceived national interest at the expense of that of a far more powerful ally. This dynamic would come to the fore once again decades later, when Benjamin Netanyahu would openly resist the efforts of President Barack Obama to
reach a nuclear accord with Iran.

Normalizing Anti-Semitism in the US

| October 12, 2018

Anti-Semitism is growing increasingly normalized in American society, particularly in progressive circles. Today’s progressive Left, led by Bernie Sanders and others like him, is even further removed from the facts than the Democratic Party was under Clinton. One of the most pernicious effects of this normalization relates to the discourse on Israel.

The US-Turkey Diplomatic Crisis

| September 3, 2018

The present Turkish-American diplomatic crisis is fundamentally different from other such crises in 1964 or 1975. Turkish public sentiment in the 1960s and 1970s was largely pro-American (and anti-Soviet). Today, 79% of Turks have an unfavorable opinion of the US. Also, the earlier Turkish-American crises were largely single-case issues whereas the current one is multi-dimensional – and more difficult to resolve.

The Aftermath of the Helsinki Summit

| August 12, 2018

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin held a historic summit in Helsinki, Finland on July 15 that was assessed by many as a defeat for US prestige and interests. The summit should not, however, be construed as a Russian victory. US foreign policy moves after the summit indicate that there is little chance for meaningful improvement in bilateral relations. The complexity of issues surrounding Syria, Ukraine, Georgia, and Iran will continue to weigh heavily on US-Russian diplomatic efforts.

The US in Eurasia: New Challenges

| July 24, 2018

The dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the US the sole indisputable world power with almost unlimited resources. However, over the past decade, it has become clear that US resources are not limitless. The Eurasian landmass now contains many competitors with strategies opposed to those of Washington. In a sense, the monolithic Soviet Union was easier to contain than the simultaneous challenges of a rising China, a revanchist Russia, and an ambitious Iran. There are further serious problems to be dealt with, such as terrorism and cyber security. Containment of post-Cold War Eurasia will be no easy task for the US.

Russian Hacking in the US and the Gulf

| July 23, 2018

The covert cyberwar that helped spark the 13-month-old Gulf crisis, which pits a Saudi-United Arab Emirates-led alliance against Qatar, may have just gotten murkier with the indictment of 12 Russian intelligence agents by US Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

The Iranian-North Korean Nexus After the Singapore Summit

The summit that took place in Singapore in June 2018 between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un likely had a significant impact on the Pyongyang-Tehran nexus. Given the depth of strategic cooperation between the two countries, Iran can be expected to take steps to minimize any challenges that will be posed to that cooperation, either directly or indirectly, by the tentatively developing Pyongyang-Washington relationship.

How Sun Tzu Might Approach US Nuclear Strategy

| July 6, 2018

Although nuclear strategy must, by definition, be shaped without historical precedent, it should contain certain ancient core concepts. The strategic postulates first laid down by Sun Tzu could be referenced usefully by the current architects of US nuclear strategy, especially with reference to an already nuclear North Korea, and to a plausibly future nuclear adversary in Iran. These first principles could be applied to US ally Israel, in consequence of their direct impact on US policies, and to ongoing North Korean military activity in Syria or the wider Middle East.

The China-US Confrontation: A Russian View

| July 4, 2018

China and the US have different geopolitical imperatives, so tensions are bound to increase between the two powers. Russia’s position in the nascent confrontation will be important to watch, as it is simultaneously under pressure from the West and in the shadow of Chinese economic strength. Russia will likely see US-China competition as providing an opportunity to improve its own geopolitical position.

The Bible, Secularism, and Anti-Semitism

| June 28, 2018

Anti-Semitism is the most insidious hatred in history. Aversion to Jews has flourished under so many circumstances that it is hard to find a common denominator accounting for its manifold manifestations. However, there have been periods when non-Jews showed strong sympathy and solidarity towards Jews. Perhaps the best illustration of this friendship is modern America.