Samson Blinded: A Machiavellian Perspective on the Middle East Conflict

American support of Israel is not guaranteed

American support of Israel is not forever. The American military efforts in the Middle East conflict necessitate American cooperation with Arabs and dilutes partnership with Israel—a good reason Israel should have opposed the Iraqi invasion. Israel is mistaken to believe the United States would keep supporting Israel if only to prevent Israel from using nuclear weapons. There are other ways to do stop Israel, most easily by offering American protection to Arabs in case of conflict with Israel.

America’s support for Israel is not built in. Alliances are based on concrete mutual interests, not metaphysics. France is more important for America in Europe than Israel in the Middle East, yet U.S.-French relations fluctuate wildly. Henry Kissinger brought the U.S. commitment to Israel to its current level to corner the Soviets with Israel; but that need has passed, and another determined man could extinguish the American support for Israel. The United States has walked away from allies before: the South Vietnamese, the Kurds. America stood by while the Soviets butchered the Czechs whom American-funded radio incited to revolt. France for years subverted an American client, the Shah of Iran, unopposed. Israel hopes she is different, but Israel is not, not for the American Protestant establishment. America refused as little as bombing Nazi death camps to save the Jews, did not help Israelis threatened with annihilation in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, and did not stop Arabs from launching the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, expected at the time to destroy or economically suffocate Israel. Israelis must be mad to count on America.

Massive Islamic terrorist acts on American soil will erode popular support for Israel and prompt anti-Semitism because Islamic terrorists blame the Israeli lobby. America will seek escape from the Middle East conflict in isolationism and estrangement from Israel, especially when American counter-terrorism measures prove ineffective. Israel' prolonging the Palestinian imbroglio will further diminish American goodwill toward Israel. People sympathize with victims, no matter their moral complexion. The United States will likely rationalize a defeat in Iraq[1] as it did the Vietnamese disaster by invented humanitarian concerns: Iraqis, like Vietnamese, will become nice people not deserving sufferings of war. Like Vietnamese, unknown to the Americans before the war and hated during it, America would welcome Iraqi immigrants, affecting the vote. Similarly, when the U.S. loses the war with Islamic terrorists and withdraws into isolationism, American attitudes toward both Muslims and Israel will change. Withdrawing of American support for Israel will upset subjective Arab-Israeli balance of power, and prompt the Muslims to reevaluate any treaties with Israel.

[1]Saddam seemed to accommodate Israel: in the Gulf War, only one Israeli died from thirty-nine Iraqi barrages. SCUD missiles hit reliably even when slightly out of range, and many misses are not easily explained other than by Saddam’s instructions. He showed the Arab world his anti-Israeli stance, and kept Israel from retaliation. Next to nothing evidences Saddam’s support for Islamic terrorists; he was at odds with Kurdish and Islamic fundamentalist outfits, and Islamist Iran. Now Israel faces a failed state with massive Islamic terrorist presence instead of a well-established dictatorship with no designs on Israel. Iraq made Arabs dependent on the U.S. for protection, and thus tolerant to Israel. Iraq drained Saudi Arabia and Iran through military buildup; the Gulf War almost bankrupted Saudis. Attacking Iraq, a long-time U.S. ally with no nuclear weapons, instead of clerical Iran, a long-time enemy active in acquiring nuclear bomb, was absurd. Now that replacing Saddam with another strongman is unlikely, the best Israel could do is to push for democratic elections which would bring Shia majority to power, dividing the Muslim world, and greatly destabilizing the Middle East close to Saudi oil fields.