Monday, March 23, 2009

Israel May Be Seeking A New Best Friend

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.


Anonymous said...

i have been reading J/P for, oh, a couple of weeks now, at least.
myself being gentile and redneck i have the stereotypical attitude you would expect and ff routinely reminds me of history and israel's place in the world community. and how important it is to be a good partner in any international relationship.
so with that, i have the following question to ask ff:

have you gone frikkin nutz?
for starters all the examples you give are trade partners that money would flow *to* israel.
with iran and the soviet union the money flows to the soviet union. iran gets all the outdated and obsolete military hardware and the soviet union gets cash.
ok, putin gets the cash, but work with me here.
i can just see jooish techs setting up an air defense system purchased by russia and re-sold TO SYRIA!!!!
while there is no doubt a strong jooish connection with the soviet union i have no doubt *pogrom* is still in the soviet vocabulary.
do you remember the essays you wrote about the d88kless olmert not even getting face time with putin? if you don't remember them, i do. and i also remember the essays you wrote about the soviet union becoming a muslim nation by 2050. do you remember those? i do.
as for india, the relationship is the same. india wants money coming in. trade with israel will cost money. the india/soviet union/china triumvirate is a version of musical chairs only a fool would join in on.
china, puhleez?
does the term *copyright infringement* translate into hebrew?
now i have no doubt that julius obama has let it be known just how f88king stoopid he is. he does every time he opens his mouth or breathes.
however, the joos in the US have a special bond with the joos in israel.
the only agenda some of them seem to have is the destruction of israel.
i think if israel is to develop a relationship with any of the aforementioned partners it sounds like the enemy of my enemy is my friend type of thingy. they may increase trade with all or some, but a new best friend?
i don't think so.
i think they have a better chance forming a lasting relationship with the UK or with france than any of the countries you mentioned in your essay.
i think it's time for israel to face the fact they are alone, that their maybe not older, but bigger brother has moved out of his room, and it is up to them to mature on their own, and stomp on any butthead that messes with them.
have i said that before here?
writing an essay like this will not get the attention of the julius obama administration.
face it, there is only one country julius obama wants to destroy more than israel.
and that is the US.
while i don't have the facts/figures that you often quote in your essays, the majority of information i have used to form my opinion in this post comes from reading joshuapundit.
were you and monkey boy playing quarters before you wrote this?

Freedom Fighter said...

Hey Louie,
How are you?

When facts change, I change my opinions. I disliked writing this piece, but it is what it is.

What's going on here is that the Israelis have woken up to the fact that the Obama Administration does not view them as an ally, but as an obstruction. John Bolton made the same observation in a piece he wrote in the WSJ a while ago that I believe I linked to here.

As such, the Israelis have to look at the possibility of their being isolated diplomatically by the US and cut off from US arms sales by the Obama Administration. The beginnings of that are already in evidence, with the price hike to Israel on the US-made F-22 and new Pentagon regulations originating with the Obama Administration requiring minute documentation on how the US arms Israel purchases are used and forbidding the use of US military aid money for 'non-arms' purchases -uniforms or food, for instance. The Israeli Ministry of Defense has already notified the IDF that future purchases of US arms will be limited to absolutely essential items( which BTW, means less money for US defense contractors and job losses in the industry during a recession, since 80% of the aid we give Israel is spent here in America).

The Israelis have been here before.On the eve of the '67 war, DeGaulle suddenly cut off all French arms shipments to Israel, when France had been their major arms supplier. The Six Day War was fought in part because there were not going to be any new spare parts coming in for Israel's Mystere fighters...they had their backs to the wall and needed to get things done quickly.

That's also what led to the development of Israel's home grown arms industry.

Now, as to Israel's potential new best friends..keep in mind that when there's trade, the money flows BOTH ways..and sometimes strategic considerations help grease it along.

The link with India ought to be self-evident, especially as India may very well get the same treatment from the Obama Administration in terms of arms sales and technology as Israel. In any case, that link has been in existence for quite some time anyway.

China definitely needs Arab oil, but they also are a develping nation in need of Israeli high tech. Like India, there is also no historical anti-Semitism in Chinese society as I point out. China and Israel would likely be doing a lot more business if America's relationship with Israel changed significantly, as it appears to be doing.And when it comes to re-engineering, there are a number of safeguards that can be implemented...components that destruct or become useless if there's an attempt to remove them,for instance.

In any case,there's little profit in killing the golden goose for China or Israel by tampering.Unlike the US, Israel doesn't owe a fortune to the Chinese and thus has no incentive to forgive lapses of that kind.

As for Russia,remember that the ability of Iran and Syria to continue purchasing from Russia is limited by the fallen price of crude and the devastated economy of those two countries. And remember, oil prices are configured in a falling US dollar.There no `trade' per se since Russia has oil, just an exchange of dollars or Euros for arms.

There's also evidence that the Russians are starting to become just a little wary of their Iranian friends...the holdup of the S-300's for instance.

Given Russia's ongoing problems with its Muslims (and BTW, that was someone else's essay I linked to, although it certainly is not out of the realm of possibility), possible future conflicts with Iran and Turkey over Central Asia and Russia's need to develop its military, Lieberman's talk about a 'strategic partnership' might not be all that far fetched.

What Israel would get from a raltionship with Russia or China is the sort of international diplomatic cover they used to get from the US. In Russia's case, not exactly a relationship based on similar values as they had with America but a pragmatic quid pro quo.

As for the idea that Israel would have a relationship with the UK or France, I suggest you rethink that.

The UK has literally broken every pledge it ever made to Israel or the Jewish people and often in the most despicable ways. It was Britain, given the Palestine Mandate by the League of Nations for the sole purpose of creating a state for the Jews that severely limited Jewish emigration and then finally cut it off entirely on the eve of the Holocaust, thus doming millions to a horrible death. And it was Britain who collaborated with, officered and armed the Arab nations in 1948 who attacked Israel with the aim of perpetrating a second Holocaust, three years after Auschwitz was liberated.

At present, Britain has a de facto arms embargo on Israel that extends even to ejector mechanisms solely designed to save pilot's lives. If they Israelis ever trusted them again, they're absolute fools.

As for France, as you can imagine, they have their own problems at present. Not a good bet for an alliance.

As I said, I disliked writing this, because the US and Israel have similar values and much to offer each other as allies. It's not only America's Jews ( or at least many of them) but America's Christians that champion Israel.And things can change,particularly if the 2010 elections bring enough sensible people into Congress to be able to curtail president Obama's more egregious follies.Let's hope so.

But if things continue as they are, I predict a major distancing between America and Israel, and it looks like the Israelis are already looking towards that next move.

That's what I'm reflecting here.

Sorry about the length of this thing, but you brought up a lot of points worth discussing.


Christian Atheist said...

Oh puh-leeze!Joos?!?
As Rob has pointed out, the Russians are nothing if not pragmatic. I believe it has long been considered a hallmark of the"Russian Character".
Also, it would be foolish to think that a culture that traces it's roots back thousands of years and reflects on that history regularly in holiday celebrations has forgotten the more recent Russian history of a mere couple hundred years back.Politics makes strange bedfellows. Trite but true.
Not that Rob needs the help,but I also agree that Israel and India looks like a match made in heaven. China?
Meh. They have much to gain, and know it, although what Israel gets there I don't quite see.Rob?
Finally, almost as important for sure, and I think it probably would figure in any plan, none of these three,not even Russia, is home to the sort of slavering, maniacal Jew hatred that typifies the muslim ummah that surrounds the Jews at home.That has to count for something.
Sorry to be so long Rob. You were doing fine on your own, but I had to say something. The Louies of the world can't be allowed to go unanswered.

Freedom Fighter said...

Actually, CA, Louie made some excellent points that needed to be discussed and improved the thread, i think his own inimitable style, of course!

To answer your question on China, Israel gets the same thing from them as they get from Russia ( and used to get from us)..a market for their high tech and a UNSC veto bearing member to watch their back.


Anonymous said...

Freedom Fighter is one of the best bloggers on the internet. He has had many, many fine posts. I think this one is one your very best!! This is in line with what I have been saying all along. Israel needs to chart a course for its foreign and domestic policies that is completely separate from the US. You are spot on to point out that a down grading in the relationship between the US and Israel will hurt America far more than it will hurt Israel. In other words, America needs Israel far more than Israel needs America.

Allainces with any of the above countries pose potential problems, however, America is largely done as a major world power. Its national debt is massive, its economy is struggling, its military is worn down and its military technology is outdated compared to the other major world powers. In addition America's troops are poorly led and suffer from low morale relative to that of the other major world powers.

Potential problems with India are they need Iranian oil. As an example, the launch of Israel's satelite was delayed for a time because of pressure from Iran.

Potenital problems with China are simillar. They need Middle Eastern oil in general and Iranian oil in particular. As they seek to expand their influence, I'm uncertain they will want trouble with Middle Eastern Arabs and Persians.

An alliance with Russia is very tempting!! Russia supplies about 80% of Israel's oil. This gives them far more leverage over them than America ever had or could ever think about having. It's important to remain friendly with such a powerful country. Russia also has the world's strongest military right now. No one else even comes close. The biggest problem I see here is their ideological kinship with the Islamic Arabs. The world views of Russian Communism and Arab Islamism are simillar in many ways.

I have long wanted to see the so called "Road Map to Peace" and the "Saudi Plan" shelved. I have believed the Israelis placed to much emphasis on lobbying the Americans to alter or destroy these things. They either could not or would not understand that even when America was still a major world power she did not have sufficent power on her own to alter these things no matter how much she might have wanted to. Unfortunately she probably did not but this still does not alter the fact that America could not change these things even if it wanted to. What was needed from the beginning is to lobby the likes of Russia and the EU to change these things. I'm pleased to see that Israel may finally be considering other options.

Finally, what I wrote about the US military is VERY painful to write. Unfortunately the first step to fixing something is to face the truth no matter how uncomfortable it may be.