The U.S. and Israel
What to do?

PrIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, March 5, 2012.


Two premises shape my preferred U.S. policy toward Israel.

Negatively, the two countries suffer from the same problems coming out of the Middle East, notably weapons of mass destruction, wars, terrorism, piracy, anarchy, tyranny, refugees, drug trafficking, counterfeiting, oil and gas disruptions, extremist ideologies, conspiracy theories, etc. They also share enemies. Anti-Americanism and anti-Zionism are first cousins, with one usually leading to the other.

Positively, judging by such criteria as United Nations votes, bilateral commerce, intelligence cooperation, military alliance, intellectual influence, religious bonds, and shared values, the U.S.-Israel bond is arguably the closest international tie in the world, making it what I call “the family relationship of international politics.” One revealing symptom: The two states can barely restrain themselves from interfering in each other’s affairs.

Together, these negatives and positives point to a self-evident policy conclusion: Cooperate, seek synergy, work toward shared goals. Contra Obama, avoid daylight between the leaderships. Deal with differences quietly and effectively. Announce to all that the two governments agree on fundamentals and will not be divided.

Try this and see how existing problems, from the Iranian nuclear buildup to the Arab upheavals, start to look less formidable.

— Daniel Pipes is president of the Middle East Forum.

This is no time for conciliation. Wars happens neither because America talks tough nor because the White House makes it clear that it will spare no effort to defend its allies against external threats. Rather, the most destabilizing conflicts occur because America’s enemies do not trust its resolve. It was President Truman’s exclusion of South Korea and Taiwan from his articulation of America’s defensive perimeter that led North Korea to conclude that it might wipe its rival off the face of the map. The result was a devastating war that might have been avoided had Truman understood the purpose of the military is to build strength and the purpose of diplomacy is not to downplay that strength. The only sane, responsible policy guaranteed to keep the peace is for the United States to make clear that it is completely and utterly unacceptable for the Islamic Republic of Iran to develop nuclear weapons, which threaten not only the United States and Israel, but also America’s Arab allies. The goal of U.S. policy should be to bring the Iranian regime to its knees. Only when Supreme Leader Khamenei’s regime is gone can the United States address myriad other regional problems.

— Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.


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