How Israel Can Respond to the Crisis in Ukraine and the Rise of China

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.

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Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: China, Israeli Security, Russia, U.S. Foreign policy, US-Israel relations, War in Ukraine

The New Iran Deal Will Reward Terrorism, Help Russia, and Get Nothing in Return

After many months of negotiations, Washington and Tehran—thanks to Russian mediation—appear close to renewing the 2015 agreement concerning the Iranian nuclear program. Richard Goldberg comments:

Under a new deal, Iran would receive $275 billion of sanctions relief in the first year and $1 trillion by 2030. [Moreover], Tehran would face no changes in the old deal’s sunset clauses—that is, expiration dates on key restrictions—and would be allowed to keep its newly deployed arsenal of advanced uranium centrifuges in storage, guaranteeing the regime the ability to cross the nuclear threshold at any time of its choosing. . . . And worst of all, Iran would win all these concessions while actively plotting to assassinate former U.S. officials like John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, and [his] adviser Brian Hook, and trying to kidnap and kill the Iranian-American journalist Masih Alinejad on U.S. soil.

Moscow, meanwhile, would receive billions of dollars to construct additional nuclear power plants in Iran, and potentially more for storage of nuclear material. . . . Following a visit by the Russian president Vladimir Putin to Tehran last month, Iran reportedly started transferring armed drones for Russian use against Ukraine. On Tuesday, Putin launched an Iranian satellite into orbit reportedly on the condition that Moscow can task it to support Russian operations in Ukraine.

With American and European sanctions on Russia escalating, particularly with respect to Russian energy sales, Putin may finally see net value in the U.S. lifting of sanctions on Iran’s financial and commercial sectors. While the return of Iranian crude to the global market could lead to a modest reduction in oil prices, thereby reducing Putin’s revenue, Russia may be able to head off U.S. secondary sanctions by routing key transactions through Tehran. After all, what would the Biden administration do if Iran allowed Russia to use its major banks and companies to bypass Western sanctions?

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Read more at Dispatch

More about: Iran nuclear deal, Russia, U.S. Foreign policy