Topic:

US

The Trade War Is Just the Start of a US-China Cold War

| June 16, 2019

Many observers view the current confrontation on trade between China and the US as temporary. However, the two countries have opposed geopolitical imperatives that make it highly unlikely that a long-term solution will be found. The US will have to consider how to contain China, which is a far more formidable competitor than the Soviet Union ever was. The US will need much more than a Cold War-style “containment” strategy to counter Chinese ambitions. 

Iran and North Korea Highlight Pitfalls of Trump’s “Maximum Pressure” Strategy

| March 24, 2019

President Donald Trump’s hitherto failed “maximum pressure” approach to Iran, as well as, for that matter, North Korea, begs the question what his true objectives are and what options he will be left with should the policy ultimately fail.

DEBATE: Can China and the US Peacefully Coexist?

| March 14, 2019

DEBATE: In his account of the Peloponnesian War, Thucydides wrote, “It was the rise of Athens and the fear that this instilled in Sparta that made war inevitable.” Harvard scholar Graham Allison subsequently applied the term “Thucydides Trap” to describe Sino-American relations. Following a meeting with former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping said: “There is no such thing as the so-called Thucydides Trap in the world. But should major countries time and again make the mistakes of strategic miscalculation, they might create such traps for themselves.” BESA poses the question: Can China and the US peacefully coexist?

US-Chinese Competition over the Haifa Port

| January 23, 2019

However economically insignificant it may be for both China and the US, the Haifa port could become a critical battleground in a new Cold War between the two superpowers.

The US Withdrawal from Syria: A Blessing in Disguise?

| December 30, 2018

However misconceived, President Trump’s decision to withdraw US forces from Syria might have a silver lining for Israel. It forces Jerusalem to reevaluate the basic assumptions of the “peace process” with the Palestinians that has been actively and coercively led in recent decades by successive US administrations.

US Troop Withdrawal from Syria Could Fuel Gulf Assertiveness

| December 30, 2018

President Donald Trump, in shrugging off allegations that Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman may have been responsible for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, described the world as a dangerous place. Gulf leaders are likely to share that perception in response to the president’s seeming unwillingness to fully take their interests into account, particularly in the wake of his announced US troop withdrawals from Syria and Afghanistan. The vacuum created by Trump risks fueling greater Gulf assertiveness, with potentially messy consequences.

The Implications of Sanctions for the Iranian Oil Market

| November 25, 2018

Senior officials in the Trump administration have indicated that the sanctions recently imposed on the Islamic Republic were intended to significantly change its behavior. This declaration is inconsistent with its granting of an exemption to the eight countries – particularly China and India – that make up the bulk of Iranian oil exports. The administration’s decision reflects, among other things, the desire to avoid a shake-up in global oil prices and a pragmatic approach that allows room for maneuver for countries that are not ready to immediately halt their purchases of Iranian oil. However, the decision is being interpreted by Tehran as a sign of weakness and an achievement for Iranian foreign policy.

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.