July 13, 2022 | Tablet

Biden’s Visit Bodes Ill for Israel

Israel’s caretaker government is unequal to the strategic challenges posed by Team Obama’s policy of punishing friends and rewarding enemies
July 13, 2022 | Tablet

Biden’s Visit Bodes Ill for Israel

Israel’s caretaker government is unequal to the strategic challenges posed by Team Obama’s policy of punishing friends and rewarding enemies

Way back during the Napoleonic era, the ace Austrian diplomat Klemens von Metternich once quipped that “when France sneezes, the whole of Europe catches a cold.” For allies and clients of the United States, Metternich’s wit is a useful guide to navigating the whims of a disoriented hyperpower that appears to have gone down an Alice in Wonderland-type rabbit hole where the police must be abolished to ensure the safety of poor neighborhoods, men celebrate their victories in women’s sports, and economic progress is achieved by shipping your entire manufacturing base off to your supposed great-power rival in China. Yet since even a hyperpower run by the Mad Hatter is still a hyperpower, it is best to tread carefully.

America’s Alice in Wonderland foreign policy carries special dangers for watchful allies and client states, who must balance their concern for their own citizens against the folly of alienating the most powerful country on the planet. The new watchwords of American Middle East policy—“de-pressurization,” “balance,” and “integration”—signal that America is no longer interested in pursuing the time-honored path of rewarding friends and punishing enemies. Rather, wise American policy consists of downgrading friends while integrating enemies into the trade and security structures they seek to destroy, in order to achieve a more “balanced” policy.

Sound nuts? It is. But when President Joe Biden schedules his first official visit to your country, you bend over backwards to accommodate your superpower ally and patron. In pre-visit preparations, you strive mightily to paper over areas of disagreement that cause friction. If your American guest is determined to amp up the friction, you answer with a smile during the joint presser, offer noncommittal statements, and move on. Such is the Israeli playbook for Biden’s visit, and the Saudi playbook, too. It’s worked before.

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Issues:

Arab Politics Gulf States Hezbollah Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran-backed Terrorism Israel Lebanon Palestinian Politics