What Would Ariel Sharon Say about Israel Today?

Last Sunday was the anniversary of Ariel Sharon’s death. Elliott Abrams reflects on what the general and statesman would say were he alive today:

He would surely express no surprise at the deadlock in negotiations with the PLO. Getting out of Gaza was, most of his closest collaborators believe, step one in setting Israel’s borders. Step two might have been a pullback of settlers (but not the IDF) to the security fence that Sharon built to stop terrorism. Sharon had no faith in the “peace process” and believed Israel should act when that process failed to move forward. If peace came, in ten or 20 or 50 years, that would be fine; meanwhile, Israel would have semi-permanent and defensible borders. . . .

What he would have done about Iran’s nuclear program cannot fairly be guessed. But it is fair to say that he would have taken immense satisfaction that his “tiny small country,” as he once described it to me, now emerges as the only really strong state and reliable American ally in the entire region.

Read more at Weekly Standard

More about: Ariel Sharon, Gaza expulsion, Israeli politics, Peace Process, West Bank

If Iran Goes Nuclear, the U.S. Will Be Forced Out of the Middle East

The International Atomic Energy Agency reported in May that Iran has, or is close to having, enough highly enriched uranium to build multiple atomic bombs, while, according to other sources, it is taking steps toward acquiring the technology to assemble such weapons. Considering the effects on Israel, the Middle East, and American foreign policy of a nuclear-armed Iran, Eli Diamond writes:

The basic picture is that the Middle East would become inhospitable to the U.S. and its allies when Iran goes nuclear. Israel would find itself isolated, with fewer options for deterring Iran or confronting its proxies. The Saudis and Emiratis would be forced into uncomfortable compromises.

Any course reversal has to start by recognizing that the United States has entered the early stages of a global conflict in which the Middle East is set to be a main attraction, not a sideshow.

Directly or not, the U.S. is engaged in this conflict and has a significant stake in its outcome. In Europe, American and Western arms are the only things standing between Ukraine and its defeat at the hands of Russia. In the Middle East, American arms remain indispensable to Israel’s survival as it wages a defensive, multifront war against Iran and its proxies Hamas and Hizballah. In the Indo-Pacific, China has embarked on the greatest military buildup since World War II, its eyes set on Taiwan but ultimately U.S. primacy.

While Iran is the smallest of these three powers, China and Russia rely on it greatly for oil and weapons, respectively. Both rely on it as a tool to degrade America’s position in the region. Constraining Iran and preventing its nuclear breakout would keep waterways open for Western shipping and undermine a key node in the supply chain for China and Russia.

Diamond offers a series of concrete suggestions for how the U.S. could push back hard against Iran, among them expanding the Abraham Accords into a military and diplomatic alliance that would include Saudi Arabia. But such a plan depends on Washington recognizing that its interests in Eastern Europe, in the Pacific, and in the Middle East are all connected.

Read more at National Review

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Middle East, U.S. Foreign policy