Monday, March 29, 2010

Unheard Of Depths!

Pfeffer via Zakaria via Ezra:
The alliance with the United States as the nation's greatest strategic asset, way above anything else. It is more crucial than the professionalism of the Israel Defense Forces, than the peace treaty with Egypt and even than the secret doomsday weapons that we may or may not have squirreled away somewhere…But [Netanyahu] has succeeded in one short year in power to plunge Israel's essential relationship with the United States to unheard of depths.
I've heard people saying stuff like this, but I don't have a great sense of what the 'unheard of depths' are. The terms of the US-Israel relationship seem to be that we give the Israelis tons of aid, they build settlements that will prevent the Palestinians from having a real government that represents them, people around the world think we're nuts, and Muslims hate us. I guess what's happening is that the degree of elite consensus behind this arrangement is declining slightly to 'unheard of depths', but it's still more than sufficient to keep things going on these terms. I haven't seen any indication that American policymakers are actually going to cut aid to Israel or do anything else about Netanyahu's rejection of peace. Until then, it looks like he's winning, insofar as someone can win by condemning his country to perpetual war.


corvus said...

Neil, I think the issue here is that U.S. support is so crucial to Israel's (perception of their) interests that you basically have the slippery slope argument takes over whenever things aren't looking so hot. Thus, having the president not invite their prime minister to dinner is practically the end of the world, because, even if the aid and everything is still coming now, if they continue down the path they are presently on, those things will be on the block soon.

Really, if I was them, though, I would be more worried about Tom Friedman writing columns in the NYT painting our alliance with Israel as somewhat against our own national interests. I hear he's influential on these issues.

Neil Sinhababu said...

That makes sense, Corvus. I just don't feel that the slope is steep enough. But I don't have a feel for these things and I could easily be wrong.