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Monday, August 20, 2007

The monkey on Israel's back: Shaking the America habit

In  Uncle Sam forever?, Gidi Grinstein notes that the US-Israel alliance may not last forever. The defense agreement signed this week may represent the zenith of that alliance, which is being battered by claims that commitments to Israel should not take precedence over US self-interest. Therefore, Israel must forge alliances with emerging states.
Grinstein is right. Multiplying your allies is always a good idea, and gives a state more leverage and more freedom to act.
The engine of change is America's floundering in Iraq and the waning hopes for victory there or a quick and elegant exit. In addition, at this time it is hard to see the US acting decisively in order to curb the nuclear project advanced by Iran, which is increasingly reinforcing its status as a regional power with a blatant anti-American agenda.
Moreover, the US is entangled in a series of wars and political struggles involving Afghanistan, Syria, Lebanon, Russia, and the Palestinian Authority. It is hard to see America gaining the upper hand in any of these arenas.

Meanwhile, new forces headed by Russia, China and India are taking front stage in the global theater. These countries are looking to undermine America's status and threaten its interests worldwide.

This reality will lead to a reassessment of America's interests and priorities in the region, to be undertaken at the beginning of 2009 at the latest, as a new administration takes office. It is unclear what new global perception will guide American policy in the post-Bush era and to what extent will Israel maintain its special status.
Another aspect of this process sees the pro-Israel lobby and US Jewish community under attack. They are being accused of preferring Israeli interests over American ones and of pressuring US decision-makers accordingly. There are voices charging that the pro-Israel lobby is responsible for the Iraqi failure, and a military move in Iran is presented as an Israeli interest more than it is an American interest.

As a result, we cannot reject the possibility that George W Bush's presidency will turn out to be the zenith of the relationship with the US, and we should prepare accordingly.
The core of the Israeli preparation must be premised on reorganization of the foreign policy component in Israel's national security. We must manage this area as we do the defense establishment. That is, the prime minister must make sure that authority and powers are clearly designated for each major issue.
In addition, we must upgrade the manner in which we nurture relationships with emerging powers in the international system....
I have discussed Israel's over-dependence on the United States more than once, and could not agree more with Grinstein's thesis.
The question that Grinstein leaves unanswered, is what are the conditions of these other prospective allies for cooperation with Israel. Is our dependence on the United States the price we pay for holding on to the "territories?"
Ami Isseroff

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors. Originally posted at Please do link to these articles, quote from them and forward them by email to friends with this notice. Other uses require written permission of the author.


  • Its good that this debate over Israel's relationship with the US is getting more out in the open.

    Anyone interested in reading other opinion pieces by Gidi Grinstein should go to his personal blog BloGidi - A Link in the Chain at

    By Blogger Calev, At August 21, 2007 10:19:00 AM GMT+00:00  

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