How Israel Helps Uphold the U.S.-Backed Liberal International Order

Seeking to reverse decades of diplomatic isolation, and in response to increasing hostility from Western Europe, Jerusalem in recent years has cultivated better relations with a variety of states, including some with unsavory rulers—ranging from the Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte to Russia’s Vladimir Putin. While such a policy has provoked sharp criticism in some quarters, Seth Cropsey and Harry Halem explain that a small country like Israel does not have the luxury of disdaining potential allies, and, moreover, continues to do much to support American interests and with them the “liberal international order,” such as it is. Take the fraught case of its relations with Russia:

Small powers such as Israel illustrate the liberal international order’s pathology. The Jewish state in particular feels the existential edge of political competition, having faced annihilation from its inception. Today, Iran is Israel’s greatest adversary. A unique blend of Shiite supremacism and Persian imperial revanchism drives Iran’s leaders to recover Sassanid and Safavid lost glory.

Rather than striking Iran directly, Israel has opted to attack its network of proxies that stretch from the Tigris to the Levantine basin. However, the United States no longer dominates the region’s airspace. Any Israeli action against Iran requires Russian assent as a simple geographical fact. This situation will persist indefinitely, as America shows no desire to challenge the Russian presence in Syria. So Israel must work with Russia if it hopes to combat Iranian expansion—as a matter of course, small powers must search for other options during periods of strategic turmoil, whatever their ideological preferences may be.

The irony is that Israel’s cognizance of Russian interests actually furthers American security goals. Iran poses a threat to the United States irrespective of its alliance with Israel. If a hostile power were to control the Middle East, it could sever the U.S.’s sea lines of communication and supply, preventing effective coordination between American forces and allies in Europe and Asia. Moreover, it could use its oil exports to threaten the reliance of U.S. partners on oil imports, such as Japan.

It is therefore no surprise that the U.S.’s interest in a stable Middle Eastern balance of power has persisted since the 1940s. But the age of imperial dominion has passed. America cannot govern as Britain and France once did. It must work with and through local actors. Critically, every attempt that the U.S., or any Western power, has made to court the “Arab street” has failed irrespective of support for Israel.

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Read more at National Review

More about: Israel diplomacy, U.S. Foreign policy, US-Israel relations, Vladimir Putin

As Vladimir Putin Sidles Up to the Mullahs, the Threat to the U.S. and Israel Grows

On Tuesday, Russia launched an Iranian surveillance satellite into space, which the Islamic Republic will undoubtedly use to increase the precision of its military operations against its enemies. The launch is one of many indications that the longstanding alliance between Moscow and Tehran has been growing stronger and deeper since the Kremlin’s escalation in Ukraine in February. Nicholas Carl, Kitaneh Fitzpatrick, and Katherine Lawlor write:

Presidents Vladimir Putin and Ebrahim Raisi have spoken at least four times since the invasion began—more than either individual has engaged most other world leaders. Putin visited Tehran in July 2022, marking his first foreign travel outside the territory of the former Soviet Union since the war began. These interactions reflect a deepening and potentially more balanced relationship wherein Russia is no longer the dominant party. This partnership will likely challenge U.S. and allied interests in Europe, the Middle East, and around the globe.

Tehran has traditionally sought to purchase military technologies from Moscow rather than the inverse. The Kremlin fielding Iranian drones in Ukraine will showcase these platforms to other potential international buyers, further benefitting Iran. Furthermore, Russia has previously tried to limit Iranian influence in Syria but is now enabling its expansion.

Deepening Russo-Iranian ties will almost certainly threaten U.S. and allied interests in Europe, the Middle East, and around the globe. Iranian material support to Russia may help the Kremlin achieve some of its military objectives in Ukraine and eastern Europe. Russian support of Iran’s nascent military space program and air force could improve Iranian targeting and increase the threat it poses to the U.S. and its partners in the Middle East. Growing Iranian control and influence in Syria will enable the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps [to use its forces in that country] to threaten U.S. military bases in the Middle East and our regional partners, such as Israel and Turkey, more effectively. Finally, Moscow and Tehran will likely leverage their deepening economic ties to mitigate U.S. sanctions.

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Read more at Critical Threats

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Russia, U.S. Security, Vladimir Putin