Israeli Self-Reliance as a Model for Ukraine

Through visits to Ukraine and conversations with friends both in Kyiv and in Russian-occupied parts of the country, the British journalist David Patrikarakos came to learn that many Ukrainians feel a kinship with Israelis who, “despite supportive talk from allies, would always have to fight alone.”

Once again, Ukraine is menaced by Russia, which recently stuck a decent chunk of its army on the border. And not just men and guns: all the supporting infrastructure for an invasion is being deployed.

Once again, the supportive talk flows. In fact, the UK and U.S. have been almost unprecedentedly forceful. . . . Last Thursday, President Joe Biden had a call with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky during which Biden told him that a Russian invasion could happen as soon as February, when the ground in the east freezes over and Russian track vehicles can move. Biden apparently got so worked up that Zelensky had to ask him to “calm down the messaging.”

But while Biden may get emotional down the phone, he won’t send Americans to fight Russians on behalf of Ukrainians. . . . Kyiv is not in NATO, and it has no allies it can call upon here. It’s on its own.

During the 1948 War of Independence, the Israelis desperately needed arms; the world said no (and indeed doled out lectures on international law). So they went out and illegally bought a load of Czech arms. They refused to take lectures when facing the literal extinction of the nascent Jewish state. I’m not saying Ukraine should start scouting the black market, but the broader principle should be internalized.

Read more at UnHerd

More about: Israeli War of Independence, War in Ukraine

What Is the Biden Administration Thinking?

In the aftermath of the rescue of four Israeli hostages on Friday, John Podhoretz observes some “clarifying moments.” The third strikes me as the most important:

Clarifying Moment #3 came with the news that the Biden administration is still calling for negotiations leading to a ceasefire after, by my count, the seventh rejection of the same by Hamas since Bibi Netanyahu’s secret offer a couple of weeks ago. Secretary of State Blinken, a man who cannot say no, including when someone suggests it would be smart for him to play high-school guitar while Ukraine burns, will be back in the region for the eighth time to urge Hamas to accept the deal. Why is this clarifying? Because it now suggests, here and for all time, that the Biden team is stupid.

Supposedly the carrot the [White House] is dangling in the region is a tripartite security deal with Saudi Arabia and Israel. Which would, of course, be a good thing. But like the stupid people they are now proving to be, they seem not to understand the very thing that led the Saudis to view Israel as a potential ally more than a decade ago: the idea that Israel means business and does what it must to survive and built itself a tech sector the Saudis want to learn from. Allowing Hamas to survive, which is implicitly part of the big American deal, will not lead to normalization. The Saudis do not want an Iranian vassal state in Palestine. Their entire foreign-policy purpose is to counter Iran. I know that. You know that. Everybody in the world knows that. Even Tony Blinken’s guitar is gently weeping at his dangling a carrot to Israel and Saudi Arabia that neither wants, needs, nor will accept.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Antony Blinken, Gaza War 2023, Joseph Biden, Saudi Arabia, U.S.-Israel relationship