Israel and Taiwan Are Natural Allies

As Jerusalem continues to expand its diplomatic horizons, both in the Middle East and further afield, it should, according to Jacob Nagel, take Taipei into consideration.

Israel and Taiwan, as two democracies threatened by dictatorships, should strengthen their ties in all areas, including defense. In the event of any conflict between the United States and China over Taiwan, Israel’s message should be clear and sharp: the Jewish state stands with America, its greatest ally.

It is clear that China is not Israel’s friend, but the Jewish state has not always recognized this reality, and some Israelis don’t admit it even now. . . . More recent developments, however, have made it undeniable that Israeli ties with China run counter to the Jewish state’s interests.

In 2021, Beijing and Tehran signed a 25-year agreement that entails a $400 billion Chinese investment in the Iranian economy in exchange for cheap Iranian oil. The Chinese money would give Iran access to sensitive and advanced Chinese technologies, boost Iran’s defense industry, and support the development of conventional and nuclear weapons. Chinese money would also finance Tehran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, and would enable continued Iranian financing for terrorist groups in the Middle East, including Hizballah and Hamas.

Israel now has a real opportunity to strengthen both Israeli and U.S. interests in Taiwan, at China’s expense. If Israel acts wisely and cautiously, a resource-intensive market may open for Israeli industry, directly or via the United States.

Read more at FDD

More about: Israel diplomacy, Israel-China relations, Taiwan

Iran’s Calculations and America’s Mistake

There is little doubt that if Hizballah had participated more intensively in Saturday’s attack, Israeli air defenses would have been pushed past their limits, and far more damage would have been done. Daniel Byman and Kenneth Pollack, trying to look at things from Tehran’s perspective, see this as an important sign of caution—but caution that shouldn’t be exaggerated:

Iran is well aware of the extent and capability of Israel’s air defenses. The scale of the strike was almost certainly designed to enable at least some of the attacking munitions to penetrate those defenses and cause some degree of damage. Their inability to do so was doubtless a disappointment to Tehran, but the Iranians can probably still console themselves that the attack was frightening for the Israeli people and alarming to their government. Iran probably hopes that it was unpleasant enough to give Israeli leaders pause the next time they consider an operation like the embassy strike.

Hizballah is Iran’s ace in the hole. With more than 150,000 rockets and missiles, the Lebanese militant group could overwhelm Israeli air defenses. . . . All of this reinforces the strategic assessment that Iran is not looking to escalate with Israel and is, in fact, working very hard to avoid escalation. . . . Still, Iran has crossed a Rubicon, although it may not recognize it. Iran had never struck Israel directly from its own territory before Saturday.

Byman and Pollack see here an important lesson for America:

What Saturday’s fireworks hopefully also illustrated is the danger of U.S. disengagement from the Middle East. . . . The latest round of violence shows why it is important for the United States to take the lead on pushing back on Iran and its proxies and bolstering U.S. allies.

Read more at Foreign Policy

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, U.S. Foreign policy