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15 April 2024 - 23:59
The Biden dilemma on Israel: FT columnist

In an analysis, the Financial Times columnist criticized US President Joe Biden's unconditional support for the Israeli regime, explained the consequences of this approach for his government, and evaluated the Zionist regime as a "strategic liability" instead of a "strategic asset" of the United States.

The foreign policy columnist of the Financial Times newspaper, Gideon Rachman, described the positions of the Biden administration towards the Israeli regime as the basis for the expansion of tension in the Middle East, following Iran's punitive response to the Israeli regime.

Ever since Hamas attacked Israel on October 7 last year, America has pursued two key objectives. The first is to provide “ironclad” support for Israel. The second is to prevent a wider regional war that might drag in the US. But there is a latent tension between those two goals. And that tension is now close to snapping point.

The problem is that ironclad support can be read as a blank check to Israel to take whatever military action it sees fit — confident that, when the chips are down, America will have its back. That potentially gives Israel license to take risks that start the very regional war that the US is trying to prevent, Gideon Rachman asserted.

He pointed out that Israel did not warn America before it launched its deadly attack on the Iranian embassy compound in Damascus. Iran duly responded, with an unprecedented barrage of missiles and drones aimed at Israel, Gideon Rachman opined.

Now, the Biden administration is urgently trying to prevent Israel from another round of escalation. As one US official puts it: “The problem is that both sides want to land the last punch.”

President Joe Biden’s insistence that the US would not participate in any counterstrike on Iran helped to persuade the Israeli government not to respond immediately, Gideon Rachman further said.

He said that but Israel has sworn that it will hit back in due course. "The Israelis point out that if Iran had fired hundreds of missiles at America, the US would certainly respond. But Israel relies on American military support and an implicit security guarantee from Washington," Gideon Rachman stated.

As one US official said to me earlier in this crisis: “The Israelis are gambling with house money.”

He pointed out that underlying the tense debates in Washington over just what “ironclad’ commitments entail, there is a further often unstated question. Is Israel still a strategic asset to the US, or is it becoming a strategic liability?

On the liability side, the biggest concern is clearly that Israeli actions will drag America back into another war in the Middle East. US support for Israel in Gaza has also damaged America’s image in much of the world, complicating its efforts to rally support against Russia and China.

Gideon Rachman reiterated that Biden is also paying a domestic political price, as he loses support among young voters. "Since his team genuinely believe that US democracy itself is at stake in the next election, that is not a trivial or ignoble consideration. The fact that Benjamin Netanyahu is close to Donald Trump — and stands accused of undermining Israel’s own democracy — increases the White House’s reservations about the Israeli government," the Financial Times columnist added.

Gideon Rachman concluded by saying that perhaps there is a master game theorist in the White House who can balance all these competing imperatives, if not, the US will need luck, as well as judgment, to get to the other side of this crisis without being drawn into another war.

News ID 197447

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