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Narendra Modi’s Arrival in Jerusalem Heralds Israel’s Integration into the Non-Western World

On Monday India’s prime minister arrived in Israel on a trip that none of his predecessors has ever made. The visit marks a major policy shift in New Delhi, which for many decades had no diplomatic relations whatsoever with the Jewish state. Now the two countries are bound by a lucrative arms trade, agricultural assistance, technological and security cooperation, and ever-growing economic ties. To Walter Russell Mead, this new alliance signifies something even more important:

[T]his is not just a story about a transactional exchange of arms, money, and expertise. It is also about the successful expansion of Israeli diplomacy away from Europe. From the Persian Gulf to Africa to all across Asia, Israeli diplomacy is more active and diversified than ever before.

This is important for many reasons, but fundamentally it reflects a recognition that Israel is not a West European state. Much of Israel’s population consists of refugees from the Arab world, many of whom fled or were driven from their ancestral homes by Arabs enraged and humiliated by Israeli victories in 1949, 1957, and 1967. Others come from parts of Russia that were never part of the West. Israel’s integration into the non-Western world was delayed by Arab hostility. But Arab power is weakening. . .

Westerners who judge Israeli leaders solely by their willingness to make concessions to the Palestinians have long considered Benjamin Netanyahu a frustrating figure and a poor strategist. Frustrating he may be, but Israel’s steady progress in reducing its diplomatic isolation while diversifying its exports on his watch is a significant accomplishment. It’s difficult to think of any Western leaders who have done as much to advance their countries’ interests. The fact that Netanyahu has done more to build Israeli ties with the Third World than Barack Obama managed to achieve for the U.S. is one of the ironies of the modern world.

Read more at American Interest

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel & Zionism, Israel diplomacy, Israel-India relations

 

Toward an Iran Policy That Looks at the Big Picture

On Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a speech outlining a new U.S. approach to the Islamic Republic. Ray Takeyh and Mark Dubowitz explain why it constitutes an important and much-needed rejection of past errors:

For too long, a peculiar consensus has suggested that it is possible to isolate the nuclear issue from all other areas of contention and resolve it in a satisfactory manner. The subsidiary [assumption] embedded in this logic is that despite the bluster of Iran’s rulers, it is governed by cautious men, who if offered sufficient incentives and soothing language would respond with pragmatism. No one embraced this notion more ardently than the former secretary of state, John Kerry, who crafted an accord whose deficiencies are apparent to all but the most hardened partisans. . . .

A regime as dangerous as the Iranian one requires no less than a comprehensive strategy to counter it. This means exploiting all of its vulnerabilities, increasing the costs of its foreign adventures, draining its economy, and aiding our allies. Most importantly, the United States must find a way of connecting itself to domestic opposition that continuously haunts the mullahs.

Washington should no longer settle for an arms-control agreement that paves Iran’s path to a bomb but rather a restrictive accord that ends its nuclear aspirations. The United States should not implore its allies to share the Middle East with Iran, as Barack Obama did, but partner with them in defeating the clerical imperialists. And most importantly, the United States should never forget that its most indispensable ally is the Iranian people.

Read more at Foreign Policy

More about: Iran, Iran nuclear program, Mike Pompeo, U.S. Foreign policy