The deterioration of US foreign policy in Israel

The deterioration of US foreign policy in Israel

These days, America is Israel’s closest ally. Since the Arab-Israeli War in 1967, every US administration has shown strong support for Tel Aviv. The political class in Washington views Israel’s backing as a basic moral matter, transcending geopolitical considerations. US President Joe Biden’s response to the events of October 7, 2023, and Israel’s ensuing assault on Gaza, as well as prior US administrations and DC elites, follow a predetermined moral path. In spite of this, US foreign policy is harmed and America’s strategic interests are not served by Israel’s attack on Gaza. We are joined by former US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Chas Freeman, who feels that backing Israel in its present conflict has damaged US reputation, put the US in a solitary position, and may cause instability in the Middle East. 

Shifts in diplomatic priorities

The latest example of how US and Israeli policies have nearly coincide since Donald Trump’s inauguration is US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s claim that “the establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not per se inconsistent with international law.” But beyond the personal chemistry of particular leaders, the United States and Israel have enjoyed a close and strong connection that precedes the Trump Administration. 

That alliance is, in fact, exceptional in many ways relative to American foreign policy and particularly vital to Israeli security. It is based on a common story of frontier cultures inspired by the Bible that have attracted immigrants and refugees, subdued the wildness, and established free democracies. This explains why the idea of US-Israeli commonality has found widespread acceptance in the US. However, there is no assurance that the partnership will last. The relationship between the two nations will be maintained, if not reinforced, if their political cultures and societies either go in parallel, illiberal directions or concurrently change in a more liberal path.

Discord over Palestinian-Israeli conflict

But if they differ, particularly if America continues to move in one way while Israel continues its rightward tilt, the normative basis of their partnership would crumble, with severe consequences for Israel. But to common belief, Israel’s main great power ally was not always the United States. It was actually the Soviet Union that provided the vital, if brief, support required to thwart Arab attempts to sabotage the birth of the Jewish state in 1948, as the United States imposed an arms embargo on both sides in the Arab-Israeli War (and Great Britain continued to train and supply several Arab client armies). 

France assumed the position of Israel’s major power patron in the 1950s and early 1960s, when the Soviet Union grew hostile and the United States was, at best, noncommittal. US public opinion and political leadership did not see a confluence of ideals and interests until after 1967, particularly after 1973, which allowed US-Israel connections to become stronger. Since then, the two countries have developed a unique relationship of the kind that neither Israel nor, arguably, the United States has with any other foreign partner. This is despite occasional tensions, which are primarily related to differing approaches to Arab-Israeli conflicts.

Iran nuclear deal dilemma

There is no denying Israel has benefited greatly from these connections. The US has lavished Israel with military aid, currently providing $3.8 billion annually, or roughly 1% of Israel’s GDP, access to cutting-edge technologies and weaponry (64% of Israel’s weapons purchases between 2014 and 2018 came from the US), and participation in cooperative development projects that have helped Israel maintain a competitive military advantage over its enemies. 

In addition, the US has provided significant intelligence resources and real-time military supplies during periods of intense warfare. Economically speaking, Israel trades more with the US than it does with any other nation (albeit not the EU as a whole), and the US is a significant source of capital for investment in Israel. Additionally, in terms of diplomacy, the US has offered political cover against attempts by Israel’s enemies to ostracize, condemn, and otherwise penalize the country in international forums.

Shifting alliances in the region

Additionally, Israel’s relationship with the United States has not only prevented or deterred harmful actions by others who are hostile to Israel, but it has also encouraged some third parties to forge closer ties with Israel in the hopes that doing so will help them gain more clout in Washington. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been a top priority for most American presidents over the past 40 years, and the United States has been the main facilitator of efforts to contain or resolve tensions with Egypt, Jordan, and Israel. Israel views the United States as the most trustworthy middleman in these efforts. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, The political and strategic advantages of this partnership for the United States are less substantial but nevertheless noteworthy. Israeli military might helped US-aligned regimes withstand Soviet advances throughout the Cold War, while Israeli military victories on the battlefield improved US security establishment knowledge of Soviet military concepts and technologies. The US is now better able to assess the Middle East and respond to military challenges not only counterterrorism than it was after the end of the Cold War because of ongoing intelligence exchanges and cooperative research and assessment of new technology.

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