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Israel Must Accept that the U.S. Will NoLonger Police the Middle East


It is possible to understand the almosthysterical reactions among members of the Israeli political establishment andits media outlets to President Donald Trump’s decision to evacuate 2,000American soldiers from Syria.

美国总统唐纳德·特朗普(Donald Trump)决定从叙利亚撤出2000名美国士兵,以色列政界人士及其媒体对此反应近乎歇斯底里,这是可以理解的。

The Americans have betrayed the Kurds! This was a win forIran and a victory for Russia! It would lead to the disintegration of Syria andto chaos in the Middle East! Israel would now be left alone without Americanprotection! And, hey, we told you long ago that deep in his heart the Donald isan anti-Semite!

美国人背叛了库尔德人!这是伊朗的胜利,也是俄罗斯的胜利!它将导致叙利亚的解体和中东的混乱! 如果没有美国的保护,以色列现在将会孤立无援!

After all, the political decisions in the capital of theAmerican Empire could affect the status of Israel and the other Middle Easternprovinces. Even the French are concerned, not to mention the strategic geniusesat the Pentagon, the State Department, and the other centers of power ofAmerican foreign and defense policy — including retired Secretary of DefenseJames Mattis.


These best and brightest were the ones who pushed theUnited States, with the support of neoconservative commentators and liberalinternationalists in opinion pages of the mainstream media and think tanks inWashington, into the military marshes between the Euphrates and the Tigris andthe Hindu-Kush mountains.


After fifteen years — the longest war in American history— American soldiers are still stuck in Afghanistan, and now the failedarchitects of the wars in the Greater Middle East and the plans to do regimechange, nation build and establish democracy in Iraq and Libya are trying todrag the United States into a new military adventure in Syria. And God forbid,that idiot occupying the White House refuses to buy the goods. What a Chutzpah!


The American political elite will always refuse to say“no” to wars. Columnist Andrew Sullivan wrote in New York magazine, describing the senseof the Apocalypse Now that has taken control of Washington after the Americansdecided to bid farewell to the Kurds, Druze, Shiites Sunnis and the otherexotic tribes and gangs in the Levant. Bye, bye, and have a nice day!

美国的政治精英将永远拒绝对战争说“不”。 专栏作家安德鲁·沙利文在《纽约杂志》撰文,描述了《现代启示录》中的感觉,美国人在决定告别库尔德人、德鲁兹人(Druze)、什叶派逊尼派(sunni)以及黎凡特其他外来部落和帮派后,笼罩华盛顿的那种末日感。再见,再见了,祝你有美好的一天!

After the United States invested $6 trillion in wars inthe Middle East, shattered the balance of power in the region, bolstered Iran’sposition and encouraged radicalism in the Arab world — without even getting aT-shirt in return — President Trump, like his predecessor in office BarackObama, rejected the advice of the Washington “blob” to produce a sequel to theIraq movie in Syria, which could have led to military conflicts with theRussians and the Iranians.


The bottom line is that, like most Americans livingoutside of Washington bubble, Trump and Obama understood that the Cold Warended long ago and that Russia was not “like” the Soviet Union; that the UnitedStates, not Saudi Arabia, was the largest oil producer in the world; and thatthe outcomes of intertribal and inter-sectarian struggles in the Muslim worldwill have a marginal impact on U.S. national security interests.

底线是,就像大多数生活在华盛顿泡沫之外的美国人一样,特朗普和奥巴马明白冷战早已结束,俄罗斯也不是苏联; 美国,而不是沙特阿拉伯,是世界上最大的石油生产国;穆斯林世界部落间和宗派间斗争的结果将对美国的国家安全利益产生微弱的影响。

Why do Americans need to care about who wins theSunni-Shiite struggle, or why should Washington invest its resources in tryingto oust Bashar Assad or to seek a solution acceptable to Benjamin Netanyahu,Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas — when at the top of the American Agenda is need tocurb China’s military and economic power which evolved at the time when Americawas stuck in the Middle East.
The problem is that the worldview of those who manage andinterpret Israeli foreign policy in recent decades has developed at a time whenit was common to think that Americans have no choice but to “do something” when“something” happens in the Middle East.


The problem is that the worldview ofthose who manage and interpret Israeli foreign policy in recent decades hasdeveloped at a time when it was common to think that Americans have no choicebut to “do something” when “something” happens in the Middle East.


After all, if the American president did not abandon allhis internal and external problems and concentrate on solving the last crisisin the region, a nuclear war will erupt between Washington and Moscow. TheSaudis will impose an oil embargo. And the Jewish state will cease to exist.


That was then. The message now being conveyed by Trump isthat if the Israelis, the Saudis and the Turks — two regional military powersand one of the richest economies in the world — worry so much about what ishappening in Syria, well, they should take care of it instead of phoning theWhite House.


And perhaps the time has come for the Europeans, whoseMiddle East is their strategic backyard, to finance Syria’s economicrehabilitation or to increase their military budgets in response to the Iraniannuclear threat.


And would it be so terrible if, instead of the Americans,it would be the Russians who would sink into the Syrian swamp while trying tobalance the interests of the Israelis, the Iranians and Assad?


As for the possibility of a war between Turkey and Syria,it is not nice to say, but the long war between Iran and Iraq ended up helpingto advance the interests of Israel and the United States.


Israeli decision-makers must leave their own bubble andface the anticipated changes in the status of the United States in the MiddleEast, and understand that Trump’s policy, like that of all his predecessors, isnot “pro-Israel” or “anti-Israel,” but mainly pro-American.


The British Labor government was waging a campaignagainst the establishment of the State of Israel after World War II not becauseBritish Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin was an anti-Semite, but because itadvanced policies aimed at preserving British interests in the Middle East andcontaining Soviet expansionis.


In the 1950s, the status of the China Lobby, whichdefended Formosa’s interests (today Taiwan) against Communist China, was at thepeak of its power, and one of its leading spokesmen was Congressman Richard Nixonof California. In the 1960s, the United States changed direction in favor ofBeijing, abandoning Taiwan, and guess who was driving that policy? PresidentRichard Nixon.


Interests change, relations change and what happens inEast Asia could happen in the Middle East in the future. Israel should preparefor the day after when Washington’s ability to promote Israeli interests wouldbe limited, even if the president sitting in the Oval Office has Einstein’s IQ.


Just as the Israeli left and its supporters in Washingtonmust not live in the illusion that today’s America will “save Israel fromitself” and impose a political settlement on it, the Israeli right and itsAmerican friends must recognize that American hegemony in the Middle East hascome to an end and that Israel will solve its problems with Syria, Iran, Turkeyand Russia—not to mention the Palestinians—on its own.


Under the best-case-scenario, Americans can use theirdiplomatic power to help reach an agreement with the Palestinians and withtheir military power to help Israel curb the Iranians. But in the end, Israel,you are on your own!


Leon Hadar is a senior analyst with Wikistrat, a geostrategic consultingfirm and author of Sandstorm:Policy Failure in the Middle East .