Examining both Russia’s increasingly aggressive behavior toward Ukraine and the cooperative relationship between Moscow and Beijing, Daniel Rakov notes that the latter two powers are united in their desire to undermine the American-led order of nations. How the U.S.—Israel’s longtime closest ally—reacts to this threat will have implications for the Jewish state:
Whether Vladimir Putin decides to wage war on Ukraine or prefers to adopt the diplomatic path, time seems to be on his side. The multiple diplomatic moves and slow buildup of forces are designed to obscure Russian intentions and undermine Western unity. This path also serves to pressure the West for concessions.
It is likely that the U.S. will take Russia seriously. The current crisis might have a historical impact on European security, similar to the results of World War II or the dissolution of the Soviet Union. It will also [influence] global dynamics when Moscow seeks to draw closer to Beijing, giving it a stronger hand to play with Washington and Brussels.
The expected damage to Israel’s Western partners’ power in favor of Russia, at least in the eyes of Middle Eastern actors, reinforces the need to maintain channels of dialogue with Moscow but might also bolster Western support for Israel’s actions in the region.
Moreover, global powers might find it more challenging to reach a consensus on the Middle East than before, especially considering Syria. This makes it more critical for Israel to get separate understandings or develop new partnerships both globally and regionally to expand its military and diplomatic freedom of action.