One year has passed since the events of January, 2021: the rioting at the Capitol Building in Washington on the 6th, and the inauguration of Joe Biden as president on the 20th.
A year later, how do things look in the country that is still, by any rational reckoning, the most important in the world for Israel?
The polarization of the country into two irreconcilable segments, on the right and the left, with a shrunken but still significant political center, continues apace. A year and two months after the elections of 2020, half the country is still firmly convinced that the election was stolen by the Democrats which was the pretext for the events of January 6th, despite the almost total lack of confirmation of any such theft.
The other half of the country is convinced that the Trump Republicans are dedicated to manipulating the electoral system in order to dominate elections for the foreseeable future, whether or not they have a genuine majority at the polls. The House January 6th committee, investigating the riot, has made sure that the event stays high on the public radar.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration has had a year of almost unbroken failure, at home and abroad: At home, only two significant measures were passed by Congress, both of which had bipartisan support: the infrastructure bill and the defense budget. Every other priority of the administration has been blocked, including the domestic spending bill and the electoral reform measures. Two maverick Democrats in the Senate have made the difference. In the meantime, measures taken by executive action have led to shortages of oil and gas and soaring energy prices, which have contributed along with other factors in creating an inflation rate not seen for many years.
Abroad, the disastrous evacuation of Afghanistan did enormous damage to the standing of the US not just in the Middle East but in the world in general. This, added to the determination of the administration to revive the 2015 Iranian "deal", after the Trump administration took the US out of it, and despite irrefutable proof that the Iranian regime has been violating just every aspect of it, has resulted in the Gulf States scrambling to make accommodations with Iran, which in turn, is problematic from the standpoint of the Abraham Accords.
Policy towards Israel can be best described as lukewarm. Not openly hostile, as with Obama, but not as cordial as it was with Trump: tepid endorsement of the Abraham Accords, an initiative to reopen the East Jerusalem Consulate to service the Palestinians, now on the back burner, and the Iran negotiations, firmly opposed by Israel.
All in all, a depressing picture of a great country in the throes of social and political upheaval and very possibly headed towards an economic crisis, no longer the world's hegemon, but simply one among the super-powers, and declining in stature.
This is the reality with which Israel (and every other US ally) has to deal. May 2022 bring a major improvement on all fronts.
Dr. Norman Bailey is professor of Economic Statecraft at the Galilee International Management Institute, and adjunct professor at the Institute of World Politics, Washington DC. Dr. Bailey was a senior staff member of the National Security Council during the Reagan administration and of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence during the George W. Bush administration.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on January 18, 2022.
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2022.