Know Comment: Israeli strategic ascendancy; American strategic decline

The collapse into insanity that characterizes the US presidential primaries is a function of President Barack Obama’s global retreat.

US President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the Islamic Society of Baltimore mosque in Catonsville, Maryland February 3, 2016. (photo credit: REUTERS)
US President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the Islamic Society of Baltimore mosque in Catonsville, Maryland February 3, 2016.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
I spent half my week in briefings from top political and military leaders about Israel’s regional strategic situation. The other half of my week was devoted to an analysis of America’s Mideast policy and the tracking of US presidential primaries.
The first half of my week filled me with confidence; the second half with despondency.
It is a time of strategic ascendancy for Israel.
Alas, it is a time of self-inflicted strategic decline for America.
Israel is growing in regional influence; America is shrinking. The implications are far-reaching.
Israel’s enhanced preeminence is a function of Arab state meltdown, Iran’s drive for regional hegemony, and the resultant search for new defense and political alliances.
Israel’s importance also derives from its technological prowess and economic perspicacity.
Consequently, Egypt, the Gulf states, Russia, China, India and non-European democracies are pounding the pavement to Israel’s doorstep to make common strategic cause – some more openly than others, but defiantly so. We share intelligence and knowhow, plan diplomatic strategy, and trade in quality goods. We form a bulwark against radical and subversive forces.
All the countries involved in these ascending relationships know that Israel is stable, credible and consistent in building and fulfilling its alliance responsibilities. It is a loyal partner. It understands the necessity of military power in statecraft; and knows how to utilize it, when necessary.
Alas, that is no longer the case with America, after seven years of President Barack Obama. The US has telegraphed its fatigue, and is begging to retreat from global leadership.
The Obama administration has abdicated regional predominance to Putin’s Russia and Khamenei’s Iran, while devoting only lip service to the fight against jihadist Islam.
It has brow-beaten its friends, and bowed before its adversaries. It has abandoned its erstwhile friends, and squandered its prestige.
The administration also has fed the American people and the global community a series of falsehoods that are transparently illusory, like: al-Qaida has been defeated, ISIS has been overwhelmed, Iran has been contained, and Russia has been reset or tamed.
Worst of all, the Obama administration seems to have set the stage for the collapse into insanity that characterizes the 2016 US presidential primaries.
Only an American public so starved for pathways out of the muck into which Obama has dragged the country, in both domestic and foreign affairs, could be tempted into supporting demagogues like Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.
Only a voter desperate for renewed American “greatness” (Trump) and/or American “magic” (Sanders), and seeking a supernatural wand that will break the sissy spell that Obama has cast over America – could break for the asinine extremes.
With their volatile temperaments, these outlier candidates promise only confusion.
One day they talk about deep retrenchment from American global commitments; the next, about more aggressiveness in global affairs. A swashbuckling foreign policy one day; a flaccid, uncaring foreign policy the next. Mega-capitalism one day; super-socialism the next.
America appears to be a forlorn country that is scraping the bottom of the barrel to find a radical antidote to Obama – a failed messiah if there ever was one. In the process, it risks becoming a laughingstock, not just an indisposed and confused superpower.
Everywhere in the world, people are asking: Is Trump or Sanders really the wisest commander in chief that Americans can conjure up? How much longer can this scary campaign continue before all the bolts start coming loose on the USS America? Have Americans fallen off their rocker? Needless to say, any extended fall of America from strategic acuity and sensible policy- making has seismic implications for Israel.
It’s true, as described above, that today Israel enjoys new diplomatic maneuverability and strategic depth that does not run through Washington. But so much of Israel’s armament, political cover and moral support are still dependent on the US. No less than Americans, Israelis cannot afford further American political folly.
Eight years of Obamanian arrogance and waywardness was enough. Please, America, get a grip and elect yourself a levelheaded leader!