Trump exposes Israel

Dr. Norman Bailey

The US president's feckless behavior in the Middle East arena has multiplied the threat Israel faces from Iran and its proxies.

If a novel had been published even a couple of years ago detailing the events of the past few weeks the reviewers would have ridiculed it as the author's imagination run wild and lacking all credibility. Witness:

Iran shoots down an expensive American drone and the response is (wait for this) to sanction Iran's central bank, followed by a presidential message of thanks to the Supreme Leader for not shooting down a manned aircraft (you couldn't make this up).

Iran attacks Saudi oil facilities with drones and missiles and the reaction is (wait again) nothing.

The president talks to dictator Erdogan of Turkey, after which he announces that the fifty American troops which have been acting as a tripwire between the Turks and the Kurds on the Syrian frontier will be withdrawn. In response Erdogan promises to take over guarding the ISIS prisoners in the area from the Kurds, who will be driven out.

In the final excess of out-of-control imagination, Trump justifies abandoning the Kurds who faithfully cooperated in defeating ISIS because (wait again) they didn't help the allies in World War II, specifically in the Normandy invasion! (of course, Israel didn't either, presumably because like Kurdistan, Israel didn't exist.).

In a few short weeks, President Trump has sacrificed American international credibility, and not just in the Middle East but worldwide, as symbolized by North Korea's chubby tyrant cancelling the meeting with Trump he had agreed to a few days before.

Generally overlooked in all of this farrago of feckless and morally outrageous behavior, however, is something of great significance to Israel. Forget whether Iran will or will not develop nuclear weapons, which it would not have used against Israel in any case because of unpredictable fallout. The Saudi attack, carried out partially by low-flying missiles invisible to defensive systems, demonstrated that Israel is now in danger of a non-nuclear but devastating attack by Iran at any time.

Of course, Israel would retaliate, but Iran is a much larger country and the damage that Israel could do, though severe, would not match the damage Iran could do to Israeli infrastructure, including power and desalinization plants, Ben Gurion Airport, the ports of Haifa and Ashdod and so on.

At a stroke, Trump's outrageous behavior has not only and perhaps irretrievably damaged the geo-political position of the US but has put Israel at existential risk. Congratulations, Mr. President, what do you plan to do for an encore?

Norman A. Bailey, Ph.D., is Professor of Economics and National Security, The National Security Studies Center, University of Haifa, and Adjunct Professor of Economic Statecraft, The Institute of World Politics, Washington DC. He was formerly with the US National Security Council and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - - on October 15, 2019

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2019

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