If US President Joe Biden’s speech on Thursday wasn’t clear enough: Ukraine is on its own against the Russian bear. And if there’s anything Israel can learn from that, it is that it also will find itself fighting alone should it ever find itself in a war against Iran.
Yes, Biden said he will impose strong sanctions on Russia and will provide Ukraine with humanitarian aid; yes the United States will deploy additional troops to neighboring NATO countries. But no, US soldiers will not fight against Russian troops for Ukraine.
No US soldier will die for Ukraine.
And no US soldier will die for Israel.
It is that clear. And while Israel has always known that, Biden made it especially clear on Thursday.
Biden sounded angry and frustrated during his speech where he said that Russia’s invasion “is a dangerous moment for all of Europe, for freedom around the world. Putin has committed an assault on the very principles that uphold global peace.”
But, with all due respect, Biden waved the Western white flag and lost American deterrence against Russia -as well as Iran and China – countries that only respect leaders who show true power and strength.
America’s deterrence, at least in the Middle East, was tremendously weakened following its chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan earlier this year. Washington's response to Moscow's invasion further diminished its deterrence around the globe.
The invasion of Ukraine and the Western response may also bring Russia closer to Iran at a sensitive time in the negotiations in Vienna regarding Tehran’s nuclear program.
Though Russia and Israel both have the shared goal of removing Iranian forces from Syria, where they have entrenched themselves during the country’s civil war, Tehran and its proxies might take the opportunity while Moscow is occupied in Eastern Europe to increase its aggressive moves in Syria – be it an increase in smuggling weapons to Hezbollah or even launching more unmanned aerial vehicles into Israel.
With the West focused on Ukraine, Iran might also see an opening to accelerate its nuclear program despite the ongoing negotiations.
And that is something that Jerusalem will not accept. It is something that Jerusalem has said over and over again: Israel is not a party to any deal signed with Tehran. And if necessary, Israel’s military will act against Iran and prevent it from becoming a nuclear threshold state.
Even if Washington doesn’t like it.
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Over the decades the security partnership between the two allies has only gotten stronger. The intelligence sharing, the joint military drills, the joint missile defense programs and other technological advancements have only increased between America and Israel.
In the past, there have been discussions surrounding a possible defense treaty between the two long-standing allies, but nothing has ever been signed because of how it might constrain Israel’s freedom of action.
And, while Israel appreciates the strong relationship and military benefits it has with the Americans, it is seen as a partner who can take care of its own needs without help from US troops unless it was under great duress.
Washington and Jerusalem also have an agreement that would see the US come to assist Israel with missile defense in times of war should the Jewish state request it.
Though close friends and tight allies, at the end of the day, Israel and the United States have different interests. Each is going to do what is in their best interest – even if that means doing it alone.
The IDF has watched and will continue watching the battle for Ukraine, as well as the reaction by the West. It has understood that in the new world order, America is no longer the military superpower that will come to the world’s aid.
Israel will not ask American troops to fight its wars. The IDF has fought its own battles and will do so in the future.
No matter the cost.