The first week of 2021 foreshadowed serious problems for the US during the rest of the new year. On January 20th, Joe Biden will become president of the US, and, due to the results of the runoff election in Georgia, the Democrats will control the executive branch and both houses of the legislative branch for at least the next two years, until the midterm elections of 2022 or beyond..
The rioting in Washington, culminating with the attack on the Capitol, is yet another demonstration, along with the extensive riots of last summer in numerous parts of the country, of the extent to which American society is divided along political, racial and class lines. The CoronaVirus pandemic has made everything worse.
President-elect Biden will have his hands more than full with multiple real and potential crises involving China, Russia, Iran, Turkey and North Korea. However, there is no doubt that his most serious challenge will be none of those--it will be the United States. If he does not dedicate himself wholeheartedly to attempting to reverse the disintegration of American society, social entropy will continue to increase, and the democratic (small "d") future of the US will be in serious danger.
As to Israel in the midst of all this, and mired in its own political and social divisions, it will have to use the utmost skill to manage its relations with its most important partner. This it cannot do unless it has a stable and functional government. It simply cannot afford to continue in the state of suspended animation in which it has been existing for the past two years.
Luckily, Israel's position in the Middle East has improved greatly in the recent past, with the formation of a bloc consisting of various Arab countries and Israel capable of confronting both the Iranian and the Turkish threats to the stability of the region. It is quite possible that the domestic problems of either or both of the Iranian and Turkish regimes could result in internal change, but even if not, the military dominance of Israel and the new political configuration of the region should provide ample ground for the further consolidation of the Israeli position.
It must not be forgotten, however, that these recent positive developments were greatly facilitated by the policies and actions of the Trump administration. Will Biden continue to support the new alliances?
As Hamlet said, that is the question.
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 7, 2021
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