Common Grounds

Why Netanyahu’s US politicking will fail

July 09, 2024

Source: Arab News


By Dr. Ramzy Baroud

Published July 8, 2024

Why Netanyahu’s US politicking will fail

Many political analysts believe that Netanyahu is buying time in Gaza in the hope that Trump returns to the White House (AFP)


Many political analysts believe that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is stalling in Gaza and Lebanon, pinning his hopes on a return of Donald Trump to the White House after the US presidential election in November. However, even if Trump were to win, his influence on the war outcomes or Israel’s fate would be limited. This raises questions about the effectiveness of Netanyahu's strategy and its potential impact on the Middle East conflicts.


US foreign policy seems to be ruled by two different outlooks: one dedicated to the whole world and another only to Israel. The first is driven by the famous and oft-repeated quote by former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger: "America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests.” Israel, however, remains the exception, and the ongoing Israeli war on Gaza has again demonstrated the truth of this claim.




Editor’s Note | Only Interests — Kissenger


Take to heart what Harvard Professor Dr. Henry Kinsinger quips: "America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests.”

The West — the EU-US/NATO PACT — is so ‘interested’ in Israel that it treats Israel as a de-facto NATO Member state,
‘de-facto’ as defined as “really, but not really.” The EU, more so than the US, depends on the oil-producing nations, Israel’s neighbors.

Israel, in cahoots with the US, helps enforce the West’s neo-colonial Eurocentric policies.


The West — the EU-US/NATO Pact — waving the banner of Holy Goodness, doesn’t give a damn about the people in the Region.

The Israelis and the indigenous Palestinians serve as cannon fodder to carry out Western interests.




Though Washington fully shares Israel’s war objectives, it fundamentally disagrees with the concept of the long war and “total victory,” as championed by Netanyahu. The protracted wars in Afghanistan and Iraq taught the Americans that neither the longevity of wars nor the lofty, unrealistic expectations alter inevitable outcomes. Many US officials, military generals, and mainstream analysts have tried to warn Netanyahu, but to no avail.


Destabilizing the Middle East at this specific historical juncture is simply bad for the US. It comes at a time when Ukraine is suffering a serious weapons shortage, thus territorial losses, and when the US and its European allies are struggling under the weight of economic and political crises.


The Biden administration continues to support Israel in every possible way so that it may carry on with a losing war


Dr. Ramzy Baroud


Since US-Israeli relations are governed according to a unique foreign policy paradigm, the Biden administration continues to support Israel in every possible way so that it may carry on with a losing war.


The war is, of course, happening at the expense of the more than 125,000 Palestinians who have thus far been killed or wounded due to Israeli strikes, shelling and mass executions. Those dying from famine or disease are yet to be fully accounted for.


Washington is not perturbed by the Gaza genocide itself, but by the impact of the war on US plans in the Middle East and the future of its forces in Iraq and Syria. It is also concerned about its geostrategic sway in the region due to the unprecedented instability of the Red Sea.


Yet, President Joe Biden continues to arm Israel and provide a safety net for its dwindling economy. In April, Biden signed off legislation to provide $26.3 billion in assistance to Israel. Moreover, massive shipments of weapons continue to flow unhindered. These explosives are not only destroying the whole of Gaza, but also any chance that the US could ever regain any degree of credibility in the Middle East. Worse, the US’ blind support for Israel has also shaken Washington’s position internationally.


So, what could Trump do that Biden has not?


Trump’s politics are unabashedly Machiavellian. During his term in office between 2017 and 2021, he served the role of the American genie, granting Israel’s every wish, even though all such demands were flagrant violations of international law. Trump’s pro-Israel policies included the recognition of all of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, the annexation of the Golan Heights, and the recognition of all illegal Israeli Jewish-only settlements in the West Bank.


But Netanyahu is also Machiavellian, a fact that irked Trump following his humiliating exit from the White House. “I haven’t spoken to him since,” Trump said in an interview in December 2021.


Trump’s return to the White House would do nothing to change Israel’s misfortunes since Oct. 7


Dr. Ramzy Baroud


Now, however, both sides are trying to rekindle their love affair. The Republican presidential candidate must be pleased with Netanyahu’s public criticism of the Biden administration. In return, Trump is ready to “finish the job,” as he stated in the first presidential debate last month.


However, Trump’s return to the White House would do nothing to change Israel’s misfortunes since Oct. 7, because Israel’s problems do not originate in Washington.


Israel’s crisis is multifaceted. It is unable to win the war in Gaza, despite the mass tragedy and destruction it has created there. It is also failing to change the rules of engagement in Lebanon due to the strength of its enemies — and the fact that its military is unable to fight and win on one front, let alone multiple.


Another dimension of the Israeli crisis is also internal: the deep divisions in Israeli society, in the security apparatus and between politicians. Not even Trump could possibly end the polarization, which is likely to deepen in the future.


On the international front, Trump is also likely to again prove equally ineffective, simply because the Biden administration has defied the international consensus on Israel since the start of the war. The US House even went as far as passing legislation to sanction International Criminal Court officials after its prosecutor applied for arrest warrants for Israeli leaders.


If Netanyahu thinks that Trump would offer him a better deal than Biden, he is mistaken. Biden has proven to be the greatest American enabler of Israel in the country’s 76-year history.


Ironically, the US’ unquestioning support of Israel could be a contributing factor in its downfall. “It may be dangerous to be America’s enemy, but to be America’s friend is fatal,” Kissinger also said. He is not wrong.


Dr. Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and author. He is editor of The Palestine Chronicle and nonresident senior research fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs. His latest book, co-edited with Ilan Pappe, is “Our Vision for Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders and Intellectuals Speak Out.” X: @RamzyBaroud


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