The Obama Administration has made it crystal clear that they regard Israel as a problem rather than the loyal ally it's been since the Nixon Administration.
Some very influential Israelis are thinking ahead and saying that it's time Israel had a new best friend. No less than Avigdor Lieberman, Israel's presumptive foreign minister has said that Israel's ties with Russia "must rise to the level of a strategic partnership" :
Relations between Russia and Israel must and can rise to a level of strategic partnership, said Avigdor Lieberman, the leader of the Israel is Our Home party and a future member of Israel's new coalition government in an interview with Interfax.
"I've been saying all along that relations between Israel and Russia must rise to a level of strategic partnership. This is even more relevant today, then previously," Lieberman said.
The Israel is Our Home party won the third largest number of votes in the parliamentary elections and it is involved in the talks on the formation of Israel's new government.
"However paradoxical it may seem, the global economic crisis gives Israel new opportunities to reach the Russian market, after many of the Western companies abandoned it," the Israeli politician said.
Lieberman, who co-chaired the Russian-Israeli intergovernmental commission for trade and economic cooperation in 2003-04, said that, the two countries have accomplished "a real breakthrough" in this area, but the potential is far from being exhausted.
The same refers to military-technical cooperation between Israel and Russia, he said.
"Israel has quite a few things to offer Russia in this sector - from the electronic stuffing for fighter jets to drones," Lieberman said.
Could it happen? Possibly. Russia, after all does not really need oil and gas, which is what Iran and the Arabs have to sell. And as the price of oil goes down, countries like Iran have less money to buy what Russia has on offer. And while it's not evident yet, there could be significant conflicts in the future between Russia and Turkey, who are traditional antagonists and Russia and Iran, as the three countries attempt to expand their influence into the gas and oil regions in the old Soviet empire in central Asia.
On the other hand Russia does have a definite need for Israeli high tech, especially when it comes to industrial and defense applications.And the Israelis look like they're definitely thinking along those lines, especially if the Obama Administration continues to alienate them, as seems likely. In that case, the US would need to station significant naval and air forces somewhere in the region ( probably in the Emirates) to protect our interests there, as well as somewhere in the Eastern Mediterranean to guard NATO's southern flank, along with a significant number of troops...the cost of which would make the aid we currently give Israel look like a pittance in comparison.
Another Israeli friend in the making appears to be India, the world's largest democracy, and another US ally the Obama Administration has already offended by attempting to stick its nose into Kashmir and by its outreach to Pakistan and the Muslim world. Like Israel, India is a non-Muslim democracy threatened by a neighboring Islamic presence. India has a long history of welcoming Israeli tourists (which is why there was a Chabad center in Mumbai). The two countries have significant trade and the Israeli and Indian militaries have exchanges attaches and even done a few military exercises together at various times. India's latest spy satellite was purchased from Israel, a transaction that should definite boost the security ties between the two countries.
Another country Israel may develop closer ties with is China. While China currently backs countries like Iran and the Sudan in the UN, this is basically a matter of protecting oil and gas sources for its expanding economy rather than any real affinity. In fact China's press coverage of Israel is fairly balanced and the overall image of Israel in China is relatively good.
And China has its own problem with restive Muslims, the Uighers in the west of the country.
While China needs what Iran and the Arabs have to sell, it also has a need for Israeli electronic, agricultural and industrial technology and expertise. The chief friction between China and Israel came some time ago, when the US forced Israel to renege on a contract they had to supply China with delivery of Falcon intelligence planes back in 2000 the US felt had been developed as part of a joint venture. While the Israelis complained (correctly, as it turned out) that this was pressure from Washington designed simply to allow an American company to obtain the contract, they pulled out of the deal, something the Chinese were quite upset about at the time. In an environment where the US-Israeli relationship is not as close as it was, this would no longer present a problem.
It may sound odd, but the loss of the American alliance with Israel might end up affecting the US more than Israel. Hopefully it won't come to that, although the present climate in Washington towards Israel is far from friendly.