Letter to the Editor

Reflecting on Consequence During the Week of Israel Independence Day

Dear Editor,

Biden threatens to halt offensive arms delivery, if Israel invades Rafah. Though not talked about openly, American and Israel are in a wartime alliance. The US approved the Gaza invasion and armed the IDF. The title of a 2019 Spanish movie staring Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem makes it clear, “Everyone Knows”. America has unexplainably escaped being labeled a belligerent, and plays the role of good cop against Israel’s bad cop. Withholding arms casts Biden as a late-in-the-game voice of restraint. Biden’s red line demonstrates, once again, America is an unreliable ally, a growing suspicion across the globe since Afghanistan.

To date, Biden’s handling of the war was unerring. Initially he sent carrier naval support to Israel’s north containing Hezbollah, and was adamant Israel had a right to defend itself, as necessary. Before speaking out against bombing, he remained silent for weeks as the media locked onto the bombing story, amplified it, and ran it nonstop until Stormy Daniels interrupted. It was not until Hamas supporters on campuses and in swing states surfaced that Biden backtracked eventually offering Gazans immigration status as palliative.

Placating the American -Arab voting block would be good politics in an election year, but not during a war. Iran, China and Russia are watching. Not staying the course signals America is unwilling to preserve its declining hegemony in a multi-polar world. By contrast, Russia will never withdraw from Ukraine, whatever the cost and however long.

America’s presence in the Mideast is often misunderstood. The usual reason given is its defense of a Democratic Israel, but that reason is, at best, secondary. America’s strategic interest is insuring the uninterrupted flow of oil for as long as fossil fuel is needed by the global economy, which if interrupted would cause worldwide financial chaos. The rule-based, economic, world order that America architected and protects weds it to the Mideast, messy though it is.

Consequence: Holding up arms delivery to Israel weakens an ally, compromises US foreign policy interests, and further erodes confidence in America’s standing as a steadfast super-power.

Barry Zaltman

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