What Does the Future Hold for U.S.-Israel Relations?

Nov. 18 2014

The famously poor personal chemistry between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu has had six years to take its toll. With a tense situation in Israel, and a bad deal with Iran on the horizon, relations seem unlikely to improve suddenly. Robert Satloff speculates about the next two years:

On one hand, with midterm elections having produced a more Republican, Israel-friendly (and Netanyahu-admiring) Congress, and with Barack Obama now a lame duck, Jerusalem has reason to think that the worst is now over. Indeed, it may be a good time for the president to decide to avoid head-on collisions with Israel and focus the last quarter of his presidency instead on the long list of common challenges the two countries face. On the other hand, if Obama is a lame duck, he’s also a free bird. With two years remaining in office and no elections left to contest, the president now has the latitude to pursue relations on issues relevant to Israel without regard to the domestic political fallout—or concerns about further riling Bibi. Depending on the path he follows, his party might protest and Hillary Clinton might move more quickly and dramatically to distance herself from the boss she so faithfully served as secretary of state, but lame-duck presidents have legacy on their mind, not payback from party bosses.

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Read more at Politico

More about: American-Israeli Affairs, Barack Obama, Benjamin Netanyahu

 

Don’t Let Iran Go Nuclear

Sept. 29 2022

In an interview on Sunday, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated that the Biden administration remains committed to nuclear negotiations with the Islamic Republic, even as it pursues its brutal crackdown on the protests that have swept the country. Robert Satloff argues not only that it is foolish to pursue the renewal of the 2015 nuclear deal, but also that the White House’s current approach is failing on its own terms:

[The] nuclear threat is much worse today than it was when President Biden took office. Oddly, Washington hasn’t really done much about it. On the diplomatic front, the administration has sweetened its offer to entice Iran into a new nuclear deal. While it quite rightly held firm on Iran’s demand to remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from an official list of “foreign terrorist organizations,” Washington has given ground on many other items.

On the nuclear side of the agreement, the United States has purportedly agreed to allow Iran to keep, in storage, thousands of advanced centrifuges it has made contrary to the terms of the original deal. . . . And on economic matters, the new deal purportedly gives Iran immediate access to a certain amount of blocked assets, before it even exports most of its massive stockpile of enriched uranium for safekeeping in a third country. . . . Even with these added incentives, Iran is still holding out on an agreement. Indeed, according to the most recent reports, Tehran has actually hardened its position.

Regardless of the exact reason why, the menacing reality is that Iran’s nuclear program is galloping ahead—and the United States is doing very little about it. . . . The result has been a stunning passivity in U.S. policy toward the Iran nuclear issue.

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Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

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