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Why US Should Stop Supporting Israel?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Colonel Houshang Bordbar, Senior Military Analyst &
Diako Hosseini, Researcher; Center for Graduate International Studies (CGIS); University of Tehran

Excerpted By: Iran Review Research Team

The powerful alliance between the United States and Israel during the past half a century has been the most important geopolitical reality in the Arab Middle East. It has been also to the same degree a major reason for the hatred which is prevalent among the regional Muslim countries toward the United States. Today, however, after the passage of more than 60 years of the establishment of the Israel, the number of people who issue warnings about victimization of the United States national interests as a result of Washington’s unbridled support for Israel has been constantly on the rise. At the same pace but in a different direction, the ethical and international legitimacy of Israel has been on decline because of its inhuman and aggressive measures. The main question now is how long will the Washington be able to continue its unilateral support for Israel? The emergence of Al-Qaeda and the increasing ability of this and other terrorist groups for dealing blows to the interests of the United States has proven that the US policies cannot be implemented cost-free in Muslim societies most of whom are protesting to the United States behavior as a rogue, bullying and unjust state. Apart from the increasing hatred of Muslims toward the United States performance in this regard, continuation of the US support for Tel Aviv may unwillingly draw the United States into the vortex of a possible war with the enemies of Israel. This would be a war in which the United States would not be necessarily able to guarantee military victory in association with the improvement of the political atmosphere. The war in Iraq clearly explains this dilemma. Although the United States managed to topple the former Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, in a short period of time, it could not prevent subsequent flare-up of regional skirmishes in Iraq and the fall of Baghdad into Iran's natural domain of influence.

In general, there are three main reasons why the United States should curtail its unquestioning support for Israel.

1) The first reason is the shift in the focus of the United States foreign policy from Eurasia to the Pacific side of Asia. The main cause of this rational shift was alteration in sources of threat to the United States’ position in the global system. Following the collapse of the former Soviet Union, Eurasia was experiencing an unprecedented power vacuum. At present, no country is as motivated and as potent as China for challenging the United States superiority which has continued unrivaled for more than half a century. Not only economic forecasts show that the Chinese economy will overtake that of the United States by 2020, but a parallel boost in China’s military power and transregional influence may even initiate the international power transfer cycle. However, all these developments are focused in the Pacific part of Asia, not in Eurasia. 

In parallel to this geopolitical event, we are witnessing that the region which was called the Middle East as a result of the power struggles among big global powers, is losing its past importance in the large-scale strategy of the United States. On the one hand, Eurasia is no more threatened by the risk of being dominated by a rival world power. On the other hand, the United States’ decreasing need to imported oil from the Persian Gulf, compared to the past decades, has further downgraded the ranking of the Middle East on the list of national interest priorities of the United States. At present, fighting the Islamic fundamentalism and protecting Israel are the sole powerful reasons which justify continuation of the United States military and political presence in the Middle Eastern countries. On the other hand, in an ironical twist, the root cause behind the emergence of the Islamic fundamentalism and its anti-American orientation has been the way that Washington has chosen to deal with the Arab-Israeli conflict. Therefore, the path to getting rid of the threat posed by the Islamic fundamentalists goes through Tel Aviv. The United States cannot want to eradicate the Islamic fundamentalism while maintaining its unwavering unilateral commitment to protecting the security of Israel. It would be also impossible for the United States to maintain its unusual attachment to the security of Israel while trying to remain in control of a new world order pivoted around the Pacific region.

2) Unlike what some analysts have tried to push, the wave of the political awakening is not a new phenomenon and is also not limited to a number of Arab nations that have rose against their dictatorial regimes. There are two common denominators among all those uprisings. Firstly, all of these social movements challenge the power and authority of governments, and secondly, they try to judge values, motivations and actions on the basis of a vivid human conscience. In practice, from the gathering of anti-globalization protesters in Seattle, to the Wall Street Movement, and from organizing tens of demonstrations in London, Madrid, Paris, and Washington against the ongoing inhuman wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, to the gathering of the opposition in Seoul (South Korea) to protest against the rape of a Korean girl by the US soldiers, or widespread protests by Muslims to burning of the holy Quran by the American pastor, Terry Jones, all instances of such social movements aim to convey a clear message to Westphalian structure of global management: you cannot expect us to give in to whatever you do. Such awakening movements not only consider a right to protest for themselves, but also try to mount pressure on governments in order to make up for their shortcomings.

As far as relations between the United States and Israel are concerned, the political awakening will affect these relations in two ways. Firstly, it will affect the inhuman behavior of Israel against Palestinians. A prominent example was seen during the siege of Gaza when Israel’s attempt to prevent shipments of goods and food from reaching this deprived region where more than one and a half million people are denied their most basic human rights, elicited global protests. From the viewpoint of international public opinion, what Israel did was indefensible and, therefore, it cost very dearly for both Israel and its global supporters. Secondly, this wave of political awakening has already reached the United States where the academics and political scholars have been issuing warnings about inhuman actions taken by Israel, which also endanger the interests of the United States in the Muslim world. Therefore, it would be reasonable to assume that the US government will be faced with escalating internal pressures in the near future in order to think twice about continuation of its unconditional supportive relations with Israel.

3) The allegations about Washington’s plans to reduce the United States international commitments are at odds with the interventionist policies followed by the US leaders in various parts of the world. At present, many observers maintain that the United States is losing its position as the superpower and, subsequently, its unrivaled position in controlling the global affairs. According to the economists working with the Goldman Sachs Group, the Chinese economy will surpass that of the United States in terms of gross domestic product by 2027. The United States foreign debts amounted to 14 trillion dollars in 2011, which accounted for 90 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, making the United States’ foreign liabilities the biggest in the world. Undoubtedly, such an emaciated economy can no more act as an impetus behind the global economic growth; a role that the United States has been playing since the end of the World War II.

The United States financial aid to Israel pours a total of three billion dollars a year into Tel Aviv’s pockets. Although it is not a very big figure, the total financial aid given to Israel since its establishment some six decades ago, adds up to over 233 billion dollars (including military aid and grant-in-aid) which can be quite unacceptable in the eyes of the American taxpayers.

Apart from the above three instances, it is also unclear how Washington’s commitment to the promotion of human rights, international laws and institutions as well as liberal values can be reconciled with its support for anti-human rights behavior of Israel, Tel Aviv’s frequent violations of international law, and practical establishment of an apartheid regime on the occupied territories. In addition, the nature of Israel, especially its expansionist aspirations, is in fact a function of its paranoid approach to its neighboring countries. As a result, reactions shown by this regime to regional political developments are mostly unpredictable, not only for regional countries, but also for its international allies. From the viewpoint of the Israeli leaders, the Jews inhabiting the occupied territories can only feel safe if the goal of the establishment of the Greater Israel (Eretz Yisrael in Hebrew) is achieved, the right of the Palestinian refugees for going back to their homeland is restricted and Israel is established as a truly Jewish state. Apart from this reality, the United States has exposed itself to the aftermath of the adventurous behavior of an ideological regime by offering unbridled support to Israel.

On the whole, the fate of the United States will depend on lessons its leaders have learned from history. Within this geopolitical puzzle, putting an end to unconditional support for Israel will help the United States to remain as a big power which is less hated by the general public in the world. At least, it will ensure that the fall of the United States will not start in the Middle East.

Key Words: US, Israel, Powerful Alliance, Eurasia, Pacific side of Asia, Islamic Fundamentalism, Anti-American Orientation, International Commitments, Middle East, Bordbar, Hosseini

Source: This article contains excerpts from another article entitled “The Fall of Washington in Geopolitical Puzzle of the Region: Why US Should Stop Supporting Israel?” The original article [in Persian] can be found here.

Excerpted & Translated By: Iran Review.Org

More By Diako Hosseini:

*Arab World Revolutions: Turkey’s Strategic Choice: http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/Arab_World_Revolutions_Turkey%E2%80%99s_Strategic_Choice.htm

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