(Photo Credit: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
In yesterday’s New York Times, White House Correspondent Helene Cooper addresses one of the difficult questions that the recent Flotilla row between Israel and Turkey poses to American officials: what to do about the fact that Israeli policies seem to be having increasingly negative consequences for the United States’ standing in the region?
Drawing on an article by Center for Strategic and International Studies Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy Anthony H. Cordesman called “Israel as a Strategic Liability?“, Cooper suggests that the pressure in Washington is mounting for the United States to distance itself from Israeli policies and make clear that there are limits to what Washington can tolerate. (Cordesman’s article was reprinted here at The Washington Note.)
Cooper quotes New America Foundation/Middle East Task Force Director Daniel Levy, who asserts that:
America has three choices. Either say, it’s politically too hot a potato to touch, and just pay the consequences in the rest of the world. Or try to force through a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians, so that the Palestinian grievance issue is no longer a driving force or problem. [The third choice] is for America to say, we can’t solve it, but we can’t pay the consequences, so we will distance ourselves from Israel. That way America would no longer be seen, as it has been this week, as the enabler of excesses of Israeli misbehavior.
Cooper then reports that “Unsurprisingly, Mr. Levy advocates the second choice. But he warns that the third may become more palatable to Americans if Mr. Netanyahu’s government stays on its present course.”
Essentially, Levy appears to be suggesting that doubling down on Middle East peace is the only viable option for American policy in the region over the long-term.
Cooper’s full article can be read here.
— Ben Katcher