Israel a Strategic Ally?

With all the childish diplomacy going around between the US and Israel, which is seemingly all that’s employing many of the buffoonish commentators from both sides whose chatter and reading of the diplomatic tea leaves would put high school gossip to shame, one amusing statement out of the State Department caught my eye.

Israel remains a strategic ally of the United States, the US State Department reaffirmed Monday amid a dispute over Israeli plans to build settler homes in east Jerusalem

What does that even mean anyway?

How does an alliance with Israel help the United States achieve its strategic objectives today. I’m not talking about any ethnic, cultural or political ties we may share. Israel is just a country like any other and a country with serious baggage at that. Moreover, nowadays, everything seems to be “Strategic.” Everyone is a major or strategic ally and every problem (flavor of the month Yemen) is of strategic importance.

If Israel is really a strategic ally, then let’s first look at our National Security Strategy and its goals:

It is the policy of the United States to seek and support democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world. In the world today, the fundamental character of regimes matters as much as the distribution of power among them. The goal of our statecraft is to help create a world of democratic, well-governed states that can meet the needs of their citizens and conduct themselves responsibly in the international system. This is the best way to provide enduring security for the American people.

So how are we to acheive these goals (for better or worse)?

1) Champion aspirations for human dignity;
2) Strengthen alliances to defeat global terrorism and work to prevent attacks against us and our friends;
3) Work with others to defuse regional conflicts;
4) Prevent our enemies from threatening us, our allies, and our friends with weapons of mass destruction (WMD);
5) Ignite a new era of global economic growth through free markets and free trade;
6) Expand the circle of development by opening societies and building the infrastructure of democracy;
7) Develop agendas for cooperative action with other main centers of global power;
8) Transform America’s national security institutions to meet the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century; and
9) Engage the opportunities and confront the challenges of globalization.

Does giving Israel over a billion dollars a year and pretending to be angry when they disobey us really get us closer to those goals? Moreover, we must decide whether our perception of achieving those goals is more important than the perception of others. Logically, given that the goals are international and involve making positive changes in other parts of the world, I would argue that the perception of others is more important, based solely on those stated goals (not whether I agree with them). So let’s check that list again. Does an alliance with Israel help us achieve these strategic goals?

1) Nope.
2) Yes and No.
3) No.
4) Partially?
5) Irrelevant.
6) Irrelevant.
7) No.
8) Irrelevant.
9) ? A vague goal in general.

Of course, I admit and agree there are other reasons for our relationship with Israel, and that policy is not made in such purely logical manner. However, I think it’s time for the US to realize that Israel is more of a liability to us rather than an asset, not to mention a large recipient of government welfare. If we want Israel to be a strategic ally, then we need to adopt policies that truly force them to help us achieve our goals instead of acquiescing to actions that harm US goals and interests.

About Chirol

Sir Ignatius Valentine Chirol (1852 - 1929) was a journalist, prolific author, world historian, and British diplomat. He began his career as a foreign correspondent and later became editor of the London Times. After two decades as a journalist he joined Her Majesty's Foreign Ministry as a diplomat and was subsequently knighted for his distinguished service as a foreign affairs advisor. Additionally, he wrote a dozen books on foreign affairs including The Far Eastern Question (1896), Serbia and the Serbs (1914), The End of the Ottoman Empire (1920) and The Egyptian Problem (1921). He is generally credited with popularizing "Middle East" in reference to the Arabian Peninsula with his book The Middle Eastern Question (1903). "Chirol" is a US citizen and graduate student studying Defense and Strategic Studies and government contractor. As with the historical Chirol, he has traveled to over two dozen countries and lived abroad for many years. Chirol speaks English and German fluently with basic knowledge of manyl of others.
This entry was posted in General and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to Israel a Strategic Ally?

  1. IJ says:

    The strength of lobby power can determine a nation’s foreign policy. There’s little sign that Washington will get Israel also to sign up to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty; this is a huge stumbling block to hopes for global nuclear disarmament let alone peace in the Middle East.

    Consequently the US administration may also have difficulty agreeing the future direction of NATO. The S-G assured us last month that the nuclear policy of the military alliance will be one of the very important items on our agenda in the preparation of the new strategic concept.

    Incidentally John Hopkins has long been hosting a series of lectures on US foreign policy. Here’s one that refers to Israel. Is the US giving up on spreading democracy?

    What won’t work

    One state solution with all having equal rights – would mean end of the Jewish state since the Israelis would be outnumbered

  2. Bob Harrison says:

    While I take that long list of security goals seriously, our primary goal is still to prevent any single power from being able to challenge our position in Eurasia. Central to this goal, in my opinion, is preventing any unifying forces from taking root in the Middle-East. Pan-Arabism, while in hindsight a silly farce, at one point threatened to unify the Arab states under a quasi-Socialist banner that would have been friendly to the Soviet Union. I can only speculate that Israel was instrumental in undermining this movement and turning the various Arab groups against one another. Today Pan-Arabism has been replaced by Islamism, which I can only assume Israel is just as effective at undermining (see Hamas). I may be giving Israel too much credit but the fact is that we share a common interest in maintaining divisions among the Arabs, and common interests make strong allies.
    However, Israel’s policy of expanding settlements into the West Bank is (in addition to being fanatical) doing more to unify Arabs and indeed Muslims against both Israel and her Western supporters. It seems these days the only thing Arabs can agree upon is that “Israel is bad.” A resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in my opinion, would eliminate the last piece of common ground shared by the various Arab groups.

  3. Admiral says:

    The question you ask is a good one, Chirol, but I’m not so sure about your analysis. First of all, obviously 5 and 6 are not irrelevant. Achieving those objectives is good for American interests, both as a matter of political and economics sciences.

    I see our need to re-assess our relationship based on the fact that we could get a better deal out of it with minimal cost. We should not be giving them billions of dollars for their military, as it would operate fine without the money. There are many low probability scenarios, that are nevertheless higher probability than other drastic scenarios, in which Israel may be willing to help advance American interests. Plus, there’s something to be said for dealing with democracies as opposed to dictatorships. The former will be more grounded in reason and predictability than the latter, basing its policies in greater equity than whim, all things being equal. Just as with 5 and 6 on your list, this is good for us because it leads to more peace and increased living standards– again, all things being equal.

    Finally, the power of the AIPAC lobby is wildly overstated, just as preoccupation with the settlements is. Although I don’t agree with Bret Stephens on everything regarding Israel (though I do on almost all else), he is absolutely right when he writes in the WSJ today: the problem here is not territorial, it is existential.

  4. Have you been reading Walter Russell Mead’s discussion of this issue on his blog?

  5. Chirol says:

    No, do share.

  6. Thomas says:

    We could stop allowing our people to hold unquestioned dual citizenship with Israel. Just a thought.

  7. lirelou says:

    I was under the naive impression that one wasn’t legally an Ally until a treaty of Alliance was in effect. Great Britain and Germany, for example, are allies as they too are members of NATO.

  8. tdaxp says:

    To answer your questions

    1) Yes.
    2) Yes.
    3) Yes.
    4) Yes.
    5) Yes.
    6) Yes.
    7) Yes,
    8) Irrelevent
    9) Yes.

  9. Chosunking says:

    “The Strong Horse’ By Lee Smith may dispel your notions about the US and the Arab/Muslim world.
    And why they REALLY hate us.

  10. Bob Harrison says:

    Also as far as lobbies go, while AIPAC seems to promote Israel’s interest there are examples of other ethnic lobby’s that work against the interest of their homeland. I’m thinking of the Armenian lobby that is pushing congress to pass anti-Turkish resolutions at what is the most critical point in Turkish-Armenian relations in a century. Opening of trade and diplomatic relations between Armenia and Turkey will alleviate Armenian poverty (see point 5) and weaken the Russian position in the Caucuses, yet Armenian Americans are preoccupied with history. So far I don’t think AIPAC has done anything to promote a policy as opposed to Israel’s interests as the Armenian lobby has (do they have a name?).
    Sorry to veer off topic but I think it’s worth mentioning that the Israelis are not the only nation with a powerful domestic lobby, though AIPAC is clearly the gold standard.

  11. Greg says:

    Perhaps the primary strategic objective – overriding all others – of the US is to make the world a securer one for Americans and a hospitable one for American economic activity.

    I don`t see how anyone can think that supporting a friendly Western democracy – in any part of the world, whichever Western democracy – is not an essential part of making the world hospitable for American interests, both in the security and economic realm.

    The more western-style democracies sharing our values there exists out there, the better place the world is for US – in terms of security and economic activity, etc.

    The world is a dangerous and unpredictable place and history often takes startling and unforeseen turns with previously weak powers suddenly growing to become serious menaces – and one of our best long term insurance policy is to encourage democracies to grow and proliferate and sprout forth all over the world.

    In the short term, sacrificing Israel to gain a spurious and soon almost entirely illusory *good-will* of the Arab world – how long does anyone seriously think that would last? – is one of the most shortsighted -almost insanely so – policies America could adopt. Strategically, far better to have a strong and vital ally who is essentially like us.

    Israel is no different and should not be treated differently from any Western country – we should support them ALL, as a long term strategy for making the world hospitable to American interests. Support for Israel has nothing to do with sentiment or romanticism – it has to do with making the world a safer place for America.

    Think long term, people.

  12. Curzon says:

    Certainly my own sentiments on Israel have mirrored changes that have been reflected in US policy. I have rapidly lost much of my sympathy for Israel over the last year. Part of that may result from living in the Middle East for four months. Basically, I concur with what you, Chirol, wrote in 2007:

    Though I unfortunately spent a short time in the West Bank, I came to understand the situation on the ground a bit better and can now see more clearly what needs to be done in order to begin to solve the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. While, as noted above, I actually don’t think Israel is under any obligation to give back land which it conquered in a war started by the enemy in 1967, I do think the current situation is unsustainable. One day in Israel itself will show you a one state solution will never ever happen and thus the two state solution is the only one. Hammering out the details, as we all know, is supremely difficult but I believe the United States needs to use all its power to force, not pressure, force Israel to settle this conflict and give the Palestians a state. Nothing else will stop the terror and perhaps most importantly, the public relations value of such a move would be historical in and of itself. If the United States is serious about the war on terrorism, then we need not only to mercilessly destroy the terrorists themselves, but most importantly to fight the circumstances which tend to produce many of them just as hard.

  13. Greg says:

    I am curious – why do you think that Israel is not willing to trade land for peace – most of the Palestinian territories in fact – and that Israel needs to be forced rather than the Palestinians?

    I must confess I don`t understand this thinking – it seems pretty clear that since Israel offered in 200 and again in 2008 most of the Pal territories yet were refused because the Pals insisted on the *right of return*, it is not clear to me how anyone can conclude Israel is the obstacle and needs to be forced.

    I am not merely engaging in pro-Israel advocacy but am genuinely curious about what your reasoning might be – I am sure it will be interesting, and possibly compelling, at the very least.


  14. Curzon says:

    Greg, the negotiation position of Israel at the time in 2000, if it was still policy today, would be welcomed, with the one exception of the status of Jerusalem.

    Certainly Arafat is to blame for the failure of a settlement in 2000. But Arafat is gone.

  15. Greg says:

    But the 2000 position was essentially re-offered in 2008 under Olmert, only to hit the same snag – the right of return. The implications of that for the Pal position seem clear. The indications are that the same terms would likely be offered even now if the Pals decided to come to the table, but it seems likely they would reject them again for the same reason. And so it goes.

    I can understand why left-wingers think Israel is at the root of the problem, what I do not understand is why hard headed realists think Israel is the intransigent party, and I am trying to get a clearer idea why an unsentimental realist would think that.

    My personal position is that there will never be peace in the region and the parties should give up trying – peace isn`t important. An armistice will serve just fine. And as a realist, I think a state of war is quite historically normal and in no way a terrible anomaly that needs to be redressed at all costs.

    But while I can grasp a left-wingers position on Israel – fueled by romantic sentiment – I have more trouble grasping why a realist would consider Israel the intransigent party and the one needing to be *forced*, when recent history records in such startling clarity the opposite truth.

  16. Curzon says:

    Greg, the instinctive sympathy I have for Israel from my realist bones evaporates with letting the fundamentalists settle at their compounds in the West Bank — opposed by a majority of Israelis, I understand, but which gets promoted through the multi-party democracy. Promoting this is utterly unsustainable, and there is no possibility for a happy ending as long as it continues.

  17. Chirol says:

    tdaxp: Care to explain those choices?

  18. tdaxp says:

    Sure. In order.

    1) Yes. — The form of government that best promotes human dignity is a liberal government “of the people, by the people, and for the people” — that is, a liberal democratic nation-state that serves the interests of its population. Israel does that. I am not aware of any government in the mideast (perhaps Turkey?) that comes close.

    2) Yes. Israel has long-standing, deep, and detailed operational knowledge of terrorist and quasi-terrorist organizations in the mid-east, and an unparalleled track record of turning one against the other. The ability to operate in such subtleties is sorely lacking from our current efforts.

    3) Yes. Ditto.
    4) Yes. Israel is part of a liberal democratic network of overlapping but independent nuclear umbrellas that allow us to benefit from the nuclear peace without shouldering the complete burden.

    5) Yes. Not only is the free market posture of Israel well known, as well as its position as the foremost liberal economy in the mid-east, but the long-term potential for a Singapore:Malaysia role is clear.

    6) Yes. Ditto.

    7) Yes. Cf. Nos. 2, 4, 5.

    8) Irrelevent. I don’t understand what transformation means in this context.

    9) Yes. Cf. Nos. 2, 4, 5.

  19. Chosunking says:

    A few random musings:
    If you were to poll the Arabs/Muslims/Lefties/righties(try wearing a yarmulke in the tube or the Paris Metro) they would, no doubt, feel the “solution” for the Israeli/Palestianian problem would be the extermination of the Jew, or at least their expulsion from the holy land.
    As you might expect, the Jews might have a problem with such a solution.
    Israel is a socialistic country with acrimonious political parties, at odds with each other as much as with the Arabs.
    It is doomed as a country for two reasons. Its ultra orthodox citizens are too numerous and obssesed with the idea that Israel should NOT exist as a state(they don’t serve in the army. live off welfare and have ooddles of kids) and the booming Arab Israeli population that all too soon will have a voting majority.
    Its quite possible that Israel,as a JEWISH, state, could be voted out of existence.
    Problem solved. All will be milk and honey in the promised land once the Arabs take over.
    Just look at all the other success stories in the Middle East eh? The current issue of “The Wilson Quarterly” is an interesting read/take on the Arabs in the Middle East.

  20. Master Cook says:

    One thing that is missing from these discussions is that Israel could impose the “one state” solution tomorrow if it chose too, just by giving everyone living in the West Bank and Gaza citizenship. The Palestinian parties would contest Knesset elections, just as Arab parties within Israel “proper” do as well. The settlements would remain exactly as they are, Arabs would serve in the Israeli military as they mostly don’t now, there would still be a right of return for Jews and not Palestinians, and all other laws and national symbols would remain the same until changed by future Knessets, which might be made up with a majority of Arab deputies.

    Imposing a “two state” solution unilaterally would be more difficult, but an Israeli government could announce what its borders are, build a security barrier along these borders, withdraw from everything outside these borders (don’t dismantle the settlements, just stop protecting them and offer to relocate the settlers to Israel if they wanted), and extend citizenship to everyone living within the new borders, including Palestinians, while withdrawing it from settlers who choose for whatever reason to remain outside (but they could regain it under the right of return if they relocated). Then recognize whichever entity succeeded in establishing itself in the abandoned area and offer to negotiate with them over any outstanding issues, such as rights of passage between non-contiguous territories, which would be as few as possible, water rights, mutual defense, etc.

    Both these solutions would avoid what is called a “South African” situation, which is code for Israel occupies a block of land, and the people living there have rights in various degrees according to their ethnic background, with the legal fiction maintained that some are citizens of other (non-existent) states. By postponing a unilateral settlement to the problem of the non-Jewish population under its control, Israel has been drifting towards a “South African” situation. The historical South Africa was a strong ally of the US and UK until, of course, it wasn’t.

    The point is that having a credible figure among the Palestinians to negotiate with (though the Israelis could steal a tactic from both the British and the Afrikaners and find someone currently in their own jails) would help the situation, but is not essential. This is no longer the 1960s or 1970s when Israel faced a real possibility -and actual attacks- from neighboring states. We are really dealing with an internal Israeli matter at this point.

    If the situation is viewed as an internal Israeli matter, from the US perspective and from a realist foreign policy perspective, the issue becomes the extent to which an alliance is less valuable to the US if the ally is prone to human rights violations, violations of UN resolutions, and has undefined borders. We may be comfortable with that. The extent to which Israeli espionage against the US is more extensive than the norm among US allies also becomes a more important consideration.

  21. Greg says:

    Curzon – I hear that, but Israel offered the return of nearly all of the West Bank and the Pals did not reject the offer because the land was insufficient, they rejected it because it would not give Pals the *right of return* to Israel proper – says something, no? Israel was – and remains – ready to dismantle settlements.

    The current *row* with the US over the settlements are part of a section of Jerusalem that even Pals accept will remain part of Israel in a long term deal, that is why it is so bizarre. It was Obama – not the Palestinians – who insisted Israel stop building in this part of Jerusalem that everyone, including the Palestinians, have for some time now been accepting would remain part of any eventual deal. Once Obama made that bizarre insistence, the Palestinians could no less than jump on the bandwagon – they couldn`t let Obama be more *maximalist* than they had ever been. Palestinians had even negotiated in the Past with Israeli leaders who built deep inside the West Bank. That`s one of the reasons Obama`s behaviour on this seems so shcokingly amateurish.

    But I digress – there is no reason to *instinvtively* side with Israel – one can and should do so for realist reasons. And since Israel has shown itself quite willing to let go of the settlements and let go nearly all the West Bank, such sympathy, whatever its origin, has no cause to feel itself undermined.

  22. Eddie says:

    “One day in Israel itself will show you a one state solution will never ever happen and thus the two state solution is the only one.”

    Indeed, Walter Russell Mead’s eloquent thoughts (1) on this matter are integral to understanding why eventually Israel will acquiesce, if it can only shake the madness of its extremist parties (which Jeffery Goldberg (2) rightly called yesterday a group of “gangsters, messianists and medievalists”, full of Russians of Jewish heritage who are professional criminals, settlers willing and capable of grotesque violence against Palestinians and other Israelis who don’t agree with them and who are willing to commit treason against the Jewish state and are yet still tolerated, and Orthodox Jewish extremists who refuse to fight in the military or serve in the police but yet demand Israelis sacrifice their security and success for them to have ever more land), it can begin to avoid what Ariel Sharon, Rabin and other Israeli greats of the past few decades came to realize was their nightmare scenario; a one-state apartheid-like state of affairs (Olemert said this himself in 2008 on numerous occasions) or a one-state which has lost the very Jewishness which is the cohesive glue that holds so many disparate Jews together.

    Yet, we cannot afford to wait for Israel to get its act together over the next few years. They have a credible partner in today’s PA, a vastly weakened opponent (Hamas) whom they can further discredit by promoting the continued success of the PA in economic, security and political reforms, Arab neighbors (KSA, Saudi, Jordan) increasingly interested in making Israel a sideline issue compared to the greater Iranian threat and are now “neighbors” with the US in the sense that we have and will continue to have boots on the ground in two countries (and likely more in the near to mid future) whose populations are enraged at and violent with us every time Israel blows off the peace process.

    Whatever Obama’s mistakes, as Mead himself mentioned, for a country who depends on us for welfare to the tune of 3-6 billion dollars in loans, grants, discounted military hardware, intelligence, free trade, UN veto protection, etc. led by a leader who was a blithering incompetent 15 years ago and actively promoted dissent and discord in American politics throughout his term to (a) disrespect a great friend of Israel (which Biden has been to a “T”, whatever else his many, many faults) openly and (b) then complain about the US trying to pressure him into dropping the extremist nuts in his coalition in favor of the center-right Kadima party who he lost to last year is beyond acceptable, whatever Israel’s debatable value to us.

    Dan and Greg’s points in response to Chirol’s writing are valuable though because they are far more effective and based in reality than the talking points of pro-Bibi partisans who dominate the airwaves and blogs on this issue at this point.

    “Israel by rights should be in even worse shape than it is. Even more than the United States, it is a nation of immigrants, as Jews from all over the world sought refuge there. Traumatized European survivors of the Holocaust, hundreds of thousands of penniless refugees forced out of Arab countries after Israeli independence, hundreds of thousands fleeing the wreckage of the Soviet collapse, black Ethiopian Jews, and many others have had to build a new society and a new state under constant threat of terror and conventional war while facing non-stop criticism from all over the world. That Israel would be a flawed and divided society was inevitable; that it would grow into a dynamic and lively democracy with one of the world’s most innovative economies was not.”


  23. Eddie says:


    While Israel may have been able to undo its vast network of settlements nearly 20 years ago in order to reach an accord that kept some in exchange for granting Palestinian lands elsewhere, it is not possible anymore. The extremists living in some of those settlements have promised (and given a preview to Sharon during the Gaza disengagement) a massive campaign of violence and terrorism against the Israeli government that tries to dislodge them from their dubious territorial claims.
    Israel would have to finally confront its extremists in the manner it did not after Rabin’s assassination and the borderline-treasonous campaign waged immediately before then by Bibi and his far-right allies who attacked Rabin’s character and policies via unprecedented lies and hyperbole, promoting the interests of the far-right settlers over those of the majority population of Jews who dislike the settlements and agreed with Rabin’s policies. With no unifying figure for an overwhelming majority of Israelis to rally around (like a Rabin or Sharon), I don’t see how that could happen.

  24. M Brueschke says:

    Yes, Israel is a strategic ally of the US. It is also a powerful business partner producing software, hardware, avionics and agricultural technologies.

    Much of my sympathy comes from living in Israel (Upper Galilee) for a year and being wounded in a Hezbollah attack on 1 June 1994.

  25. Bob Harrison says:

    The “right of return” (for Palestinians) to Israel proper is an unreasonable demand and would derail any hopes for a two-state solution however I was under the impression that the major problems with the 2000 and 2008 peace proposals were that they did nothing to remove the settlements deep inside the west bank and indeed would annex them as Israeli enclaves. The Palestinian “state” would not be a contiguous geographic territory but a series of city states surrounded by Israeli highways, settlements and military bases. Even President Bush (43) called this “Swiss cheese” and unacceptable.
    There is also that not-so-minor issue of control of the Jordan River and its water resources.

  26. Master Cook says:

    One thing I forgot to approve in my 4:06 post was a possible hybrid approach where the Israelis annex the West Bank and give everyone there citizenship, but abandon Gaza. I’m looking at this from the perspective of the Israeli leadership. The security problem posed from Gaza (mostly rockets if the borders were sealed) would be no worse than what they are already dealing with in Lebanon, while if citizenship is extended to the West Bank Palestinians alone, there will still be a Jewish majority in the electorate for some time, maybe effectively forever if the birthrate comes down as the standard of living and education opportunities rises for the West Bank Palestinains.

    I’m not sure if we aren’t dealing with an increasingly dysfunctional government, that is finding it difficult to make even decisions that would protect its own security.

  27. M Brueschke says:

    I’ve thought about this today and wondered, what would have happened if there was no Israel to unite the Arab states against an enemy?

    If in 1945-1948 all the Jews had given up the thought of nationalism or if the Arab Legion had won the war, what would have happened then?

    Would Syria, Lebanon and Jordan have gotten along? Or Jordan and Egypt, Jordan and Saudi or an UAR have coexisted with the other states in the region?

    Probably not, the US and USSR would have made allies and someone would be getting the US aid. Probably Jordan if it had survived since Jordan and the Saudis would have been the US proxy against the UAR and USSR.

  28. Walter Russell Mead has had many good posts about Israel recently.

    This one is very good.

    So is this one.

  29. IJ says:

    Stephen Walt responds often to criticisms from Walter Russel Mead.

    Here are Walt’s comments on the latest proposal by Israel to build in Palestinian territory. Crisis in U.S.-Israel Relations?.

    However the consequences of Israel’s behaviour for the world’s NPT, NATO’s future and the Middle East are especially troubling.

  30. Walt is funny. There is no “two state solution.” The Palestinians want it all back.

    Can’t say I really blame them. So would I.

    And the Israelis know that, and are going to act accordingly.

    Mead’s point is very simple. American support for Israel is very deeply rooted, is not based on the supposed power of the Jewish lobby, and it is not going to go away.

  31. IJ says:

    Frustration has grown in the international community at the lack of progress. They don’t think it’s funny.

    Middle East Quartet set to meet in Moscow on Israel row.

  32. The international community, whatever that may be, is going to have to assuage its frustration by itself, with no helping hand from Israel.

    This current tempest if funny because it is going to lead nowhere.

    Some people will write a memorandum strongly condemning the Israelis. You cold build an igloo out of similar scraps of paper that have been generated over the last 62 years.

    The USA is not going to compel the Israelis to do anything. The political support does not exist for it. If Mr. Obama wants to embark on another highly unpopular venture right now, that will also be funny to watch.

  33. IJ says:

    Yes, the consequences of Israel’s behaviour for the world’s NPT, NATO’s future and the Middle East are especially troubling.

    The authority of the Middle East Quartet? Washington formed the quartet some years ago including as members itself, the UN, the EU, and Russia on the basis that such a grouping would remove any suggestions of bias and make progress. But not so long ago it became known as the quartet sans trois; little has changed. Middle East Quartet condemns Israel over Jerusalem settlements.

  34. Pingback: Stick that in your pipe… « The World According to Me…