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America’s Strategic Future Lies with India and Israel

July 28 2017

As the geopolitical balance shifts throughout Asia, and the Trump administration is formulating its foreign policy, India and Israel have moved closer together—as exemplified by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Jerusalem earlier this month. The U.S., argues James Jay Carafano, should encourage this realignment and support these two democratic, pro-Western countries:

Prime Minister Modi has unmoored his country from its stagnant, “non-aligned” [i.e. anti-American] foreign policies. Moreover, India is an emerging economic power. Combined, these developments leave India poised to become a net-exporter of regional security, particularly in the Indian Ocean.

Additionally, the prime minister’s historic trip to Israel this month augurs an important shift of the Modi government on Middle East policy. For decades, India has had warm relations with Iran, if for no other reason than the country was a major importer of oil. . . . New Delhi has not walked away from Tehran. Still, once the 2015 Iran deal lifted many sanctions against the regime, New Delhi noticeably did not race to ramp up ties. Modi’s visit to Iran last spring was restrained and very carefully orchestrated. . . .

India’s shift dovetails well with the view from Washington toward both South Asia and the Middle East. The Trump administration shows every sign of continuing the momentum toward a closer relationship with India. The recent meeting between Modi and Trump could not have gone better, and there is plenty of room to grow that relationship. . . .

[Public signs of trilateral cooperation] among India, the United States, and Israel would draw the attention of friends and competitors alike. . . . It would also reassure the other participants that Washington sees them as valued global strategic partners—not just regional allies. . . .

From terrorist attacks to Islamist ideology, the United States, Israel, and India have the same problem—stopping terrorist murderers, dangerous ideologues, and building common cause with the breadth of the Islamic world that rejects the violence and extremism that affects them worst of all. Few topics merit joint discussions and action more.

Read more at National Interest

More about: India, Israel & Zionism, Israel-India relations, U.S. Foreign policy

Israel Agreed Not to Retaliate During the Persian Gulf War—and Paid a Price for It

Feb. 19 2018

During the Persian Gulf War of 1991, Saddam Hussein fired 39 Scud missiles at Israel, killing one person and causing extensive property damage. Under intense pressure from the first Bush administration to sit still—ostensibly because Israeli involvement in the war could lead Arab states to abandon the White House’s anti-Iraq coalition—Jerusalem refrained from retaliating. Moshe Arens, who was the Israeli defense minister at the time, comments on the decision in light of information recently made public:

[W]hat was George H.W. Bush thinking [in urging Israel not to respond]? His secretary of state, James Baker, had accompanied the U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Charles (Chas) Freeman, on a visit to King Fahd in Riyadh on November 2, 1990, two-and-a-half months before the beginning of the war, to obtain the king’s approval for additional deployment of U.S. troops in his kingdom in preparation for the attack on Iraq.

He was told by the king that although they would not welcome Israeli participation in the war, he understood that Israel could not stand idly by if it were attacked by Iraq. If Israel were to defend itself, the Saudi armed forces would still fight on America’s side, the king told Baker. So much for the danger to the coalition if Israel were to respond to the Scud attacks. Israel was not informed of this Saudi position.

So why was President Bush so intent on keeping Israel out of the war? It seems that he took the position, so dominant in the American foreign-policy establishment, that America’s primary interest in the Middle East was the maintenance of good relations with the Arab world, and that the Arab world attached great importance to the Palestinian problem, and that as long as that problem was not resolved Israel remained an encumbrance to the U.S.-Arab relationship. If Israel were to appear as an ally of the U.S. in the war against Iraq, that was likely to damage the image the U.S. was trying to project to the Arabs.

In fact, immediately upon the conclusion of the war against Saddam Hussein, Baker launched a diplomatic effort that culminated in the Madrid Conference in the hope that it would lead to a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It didn’t. . . .

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: George H. W. Bush, Israel & Zionism, Israeli history, Peace Process, Persian Gulf War, US-Israel relations