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.

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

How Israel Can Best Benefit from Its Newfound Friendship with Brazil

Jan. 21 2019

Earlier this month, Benjamin Netanyahu was in Brazil—the first Israeli prime minister to visit the country—for the inauguration of its controversial new president Jair Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro has made clear his eagerness to break with his predecessors’ hostility toward the Jewish state, and Netanyahu has responded positively. To Emanuele Ottolenghi, the improved relations offer an opportunity for joint cooperation against Hizballah, which gets much of its revenue through cooperation with Brazilian drug cartels. In this cooperative effort, Ottolenghi cautions against repeating mistakes made in an earlier outreach to Paraguay:

Hizballah relies heavily on the proceeds of transnational crime networks, especially in the Tri-Border Area [where] Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay [meet], but until recently, Brazilian officials were loath to acknowledge its presence in their country or its involvement in organized crime. [But] Bolsonaro’s top priority is fighting organized crime. Combating Hizballah’s terror finance is a vital Israeli interest. Making the case that Israel’s and Brazil’s interests dovetail perfectly should be easy. . . .

But Israel should be careful not to prioritize symbols over substance, a mistake already made once in Latin America. During 2013-2018, Netanyahu invested heavily in his relationship with Horacio Cartes, then president of Paraguay. Cartes, . . . too, had a genuine warmth for Israel, which culminated in his decision in May 2018 to move Paraguay’s embassy to Jerusalem. Most importantly, from Israel’s point of view, Paraguay began voting with Israel against the Arab bloc at the UN.

However, the Paraguayan side of the Tri-Border Area remained ground zero for Hizballah’s money laundering in Latin America. The Cartes administration hardly lifted a finger to act against the terror funding networks. . . . Worse—when critics raised Hizballah’s [local] terror-financing activities, Paraguayan ministers confronted their Israeli counterparts, threatening to change Paraguay’s friendly international posture toward Israel. [And] as soon as Cartes left office, his successor, Mario Abdo Benítez, moved Paraguay’s embassy back to Tel Aviv. . . . Israel’s five-year investment ultimately yielded no embassy move and no progress on combating Hizballah’s terror network. . . .

Israel should make the battle against Hizballah’s terror-finance networks in Latin America its top regional priority.

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More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Brazil, Hizballah, Israel & Zionism, Israel diplomacy, Latin America