Turning Point For U.S.-Israeli Relations?
No matter what course it takes, it’s clear that the U.S. -Israeli relations are at a turning point — with yet another factor added just today with news that Iran has announced a new surface-to-surface missile test — a missile that can reach Israel.
Typically a meeting between an Israeli Prime Minister and an American President would not generate such voluminous commentary as the one that kicked off this week between Benjamin Netanyahu and Barack Obama. But the punditry is anchored in a very real issue: after decades of fruitful partnership, American and Israeli interests are diverging.
For decades, American support for Israel has rested on three pillars: political affinity, religious sympathy, and strategic logic. Each pillar represented a clear convergence of interests. Both nations are democracies. Both nations have a deep tradition of religious faith rooted in Biblical traditions. And during the Cold War, both nations came to see the merits in exerting strong military power over the Middle East. Two of those three pillars remain as strong as ever, but the third, the strategic, shows signs of stress.
The strategic pillar has been creaking ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union eliminated the U.S. need for powerful proxies. It groaned still further as the U.S. discovered its vulnerability to transnational terrorism – a terrorism nurtured, if only in part, by America’s steadfast support of Israel in its territorial dispute with the Palestinians. Real cracks, however, are developing over the viability of the Arab-Israeli peace process and the threat posed by Iran.
In both cases, Israel and the U.S. are faced with different security concerns.
Read his analysis in its entirety…
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post said the test was for a surface-to-air missle. That was wrong. It was for a surface-to-surface missile. TMV regrets the error.