After the Pandemic, Israel Must Reduce Its Economic Reliance on China

Given the rapid spread of coronavirus from China to the rest of the globe, and Beijing’s suppression of information about the disease, the U.S. and other nations have begun to rethink the extent to which their economies are entangled with China’s. Israel, which has already responded to Washington’s concerns about its exchanges of technology with China, should lead the way, argue Jacob Nagel and Jonathan Schanzer:

China accounts for roughly 10 to 15 percent of the Israeli economy. Israel relies on China for a wide array of imports. This includes raw materials and food, but also elements of Israel’s automobile, pharmaceutical, construction, and national-infrastructure sectors, to name a few. Chinese components abound in Israeli toys, furniture, jewelry, and more.

There are existing or impending shortages in the aforementioned sectors in Israel. Diversifying trade partners in the Far East and beyond is the only way to ensure this doesn’t happen again. And in doing so, Israel can also assuage its American allies that it is cooling its ties with China. . . . [T]echnological advancements in recent years have blurred the boundaries between defense systems or supervised dual-use systems, [i.e., those that call for special scrutiny because they can be used for civilian or military purposes], and systems with no clear connection to defense. As a result, Israel risks contributing to Chinese technological advances in defense without intending to do so.

As Israel considers reductions in its exposure to China, there will be economists and policymakers who argue that Israel desperately needs Chinese investment and that it cannot be replaced by other countries. They will likely be proven wrong. Israeli tech is coveted by Japan, South Korea, Brazil, India, and European states, to name a few. When the coronavirus crisis has passed, Israel must view them as possible alternatives to Chinese investments and supply chains.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: China, Coronavirus, Israel-China relations, Israeli economy, US-Israel relations


To Save Gaza, the U.S. Needs a Strategy to Restrain Iran

Since the outbreak of war on October 7, America has given Israel much support, and also much advice. Seth Cropsey argues that some of that advice hasn’t been especially good:

American demands for “restraint” and a “lighter footprint” provide significant elements of Hamas’s command structure, including Yahya Sinwar, the architect of 10/7, a far greater chance of surviving and preserving the organization’s capabilities. Its threat will persist to some extent in any case, since it has significant assets in Lebanon and is poised to enter into a full-fledged partnership with Hizballah that would give it access to Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee camps for recruitment and to Iranian-supported ratlines into Jordan and Syria.

Turning to the aftermath of the war, Cropsey observes that it will take a different kind of involvement for the U.S. to get the outcomes it desires, namely an alternative to Israeli and to Hamas rule in Gaza that comes with buy-in from its Arab allies:

The only way that Gaza can be governed in a sustainable and stable manner is through the participation of Arab states, and in particular the Gulf Arabs, and the only power that can deliver their participation is the United States. A grand bargain is impossible unless the U.S. exerts enough leverage to induce one.

Militarily speaking, the U.S. has shown no desire seriously to curb Iranian power. It has persistently signaled a desire to avoid escalation. . . . The Gulf Arabs understand this. They have no desire to engage in serious strategic dialogue with Washington and Jerusalem over Iran strategy, since Washington does not have an Iran strategy.

Gaza’s fate is a small part of a much broader strategic struggle. Unless this is recognized, any diplomatic master plan will degenerate into a diplomatic parlor game.

Read more at National Review

More about: Gaza War 2023, Iran, U.S. Foreign policy