Navigating China’s Role in the U.S.-Israel Relationship

Jerusalem’s relations with Beijing, especially with regard to the sharing of technology, have long been a thorn in the side of its alliance with Washington. In a detailed analysis of the subject, Jonathan Schanzer, Shira Efron, Martijn Rasser, and Alice Hickson observe that in recent years the two countries have significantly diverged in “their threat perceptions and approaches to China.” The authors examine challenges posed by these divergences, and propose a set of potential solutions.

Whereas Israel sees China primarily as an economic partner and is increasing its ties with the country, the consensus view in Washington increasingly sees China as a global strategic rival—militarily, economically, and technologically—even while the Joe Biden administration preserves space for cooperation with Beijing in areas of common interest. In recent years, U.S. and Israeli officials have had public and private disagreements over several Chinese investments in Israeli infrastructure and technology. Although Chinese investments in Israel have declined since their peak in 2018, and even though these disagreements have yet to be aired publicly by the Biden administration and the Naftali Bennett–Yair Lapid government, this issue is likely to remain high on the agenda.

Chinese investment in Israeli technology companies, including those that develop dual-use technologies, remains largely unregulated. Although Israel does not export defense technology to China and has placed stringent regulation on the export of dual-use technologies, the line between civilian and dual use is increasingly blurred, and Israel has yet to adapt fully to this reality.

Washington, for its part, has not been entirely clear about how it expects American companies and allies to limit their roles. The United States has been slow to offer alternatives to allies such as Israel for forgoing cooperation with China and has yet to develop a collaborative technological innovation framework that builds on the cumulative strengths of the United States and its allies, benefits all, and helps to tip the balance in the technological competition with Beijing.

To address the multidimensional challenge presented by China, the United States must enhance collaboration with its allies, including Israel, its closest partner in the Middle East. Fortunately, when the United States and Israel have had differing perspectives in the past, they have successfully engaged in deep bilateral consultations to work through these differences. These efforts have not always resulted in complete alignment, but they have significantly reduced disagreements and allowed for greater cooperation.

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Read more at Center for a New American Security

More about: China, Israel, Israeli technology, US-Israel relations

 

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