Crisis in the US-Israel Relationship: The Iranian Card
The crisis in Israel-US relations is not only over the possibility of a nuclear Iran but is also very much connected to a broader geo-political issue for the United States, namely as ISIS and its fellow travelers continue to disrupt the Middle East, undoing governments, murdering its opponents, and building its own base of support, the Arab world and its Western allies may be unable to stop this onslaught without the military participation of the government in Tehran. Washington is seeking to find a creative way to engage with the Iranians as a military partner in this struggle.
In the process this raises a fundamentally different concern for Jerusalem, as the Israelis are equally as worried about the potential of a new Tehran-Washington connection around defeating ISIS as they are over any specific concessions that may be given to Iran concerning the nuclear question.
Political interests and diplomatic relationships shift as governments seek ways to achieve their strategic goals. Critical and emerging military and economic concerns override competing priorities.
At this moment in time, with the Arab World in flames, Washington and its allies may be more prepared to add a degree of stability to an area of the world where our shared economic and military priorities would warrant a broader coalition of forces to alter the deteriorating military trends. Will it be necessary to sacrifice the immediate Israeli security considerations in order to achieve some type of operational arrangement with the Iranians in order to change the existing political realities on the ground? This maybe, in fact, Israel’s biggest fear! What might this mean for the future of the Israel-US relationship?
Dr. Steven Windmueller is the Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk Emeritus Professor of Jewish Communal Service at the Jack H. Skirball Campus of HUC-JIR, Los Angeles. See his writings, www.theWindReport and his new book, The Quest for Power: A Study in Jewish Political Behavior and Practice, which maybe secured through Amazon.