The Hostages Held in Gaza –
And Israel's Contradictory Impulses
And Israel's Contradictory Impulses
There is nothing rational, let alone normative, about a situation where a terror group and its affiliates took 240 people hostage – toddlers and elderly people, children and women, young revelers abused and then abducted from a desert rave, as well as soldiers (both women and men) surprised in their bases. The numbers keep changing […]
Israel at War
Anti-Israel Activism in American Universities I
The Advent of Anti-Israel Sentiment on Campus
The Advent of Anti-Israel Sentiment on Campus
Kol Yisrael Arevim Zeh Bazeh.[ “All Israel is bound one to the other,” Jewish legal principle of the Talmud.] Introduction What hit Israelis with such ferocity and sudden force in the villages and kibbutzim on the Gaza border on October 7 was unprecedented, a disastrous tsunami of indiscriminate violence in which Hamas took 1300 lives and […]
The US College Campus as a Long-term Strategic Threat to Israel, the US and Global Stability
By now it’s clear to anyone paying attention that many American college campuses have since October 7 become hotbeds of anti-Zionism and antisemitic fervor. One Jewish professor at a small liberal arts college in the Pacific Northwest, an institution you’re not hearing about in the news, recently told me that “From the River to the […]
The Intelligence Failure of October 7 – Roots and Lessons
Hamas’ sudden attack on the kibbutzim and the towns neighboring the Gaza Strip caught the IDF and the country by total surprise. During the first 24 hours, beginning at 6:30 in the morning of October 7, the Hamas Nukhba (name of the commando troops, means “elite”) and those who came in with them conquered and […]
The Hamas-Iran Relationship
In the weeks since the Hamas massacre on October 7, pundits have debated whether or not Iran helped Hamas develop the plan for the terrorist assault and if Iran had foreknowledge of the attack. Citing a Hamas source, the Wall Street Journal reported that Iran helped plot the attack and that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard […]
Iran’s "Controlled Insurgency" against the US in Syria and Iraq
In the immediate aftermath of Hamas’s attack on Israel on October 7th and during Israel’s counter-offensive into Gaza, Iranian proxy militias in Iraq and Syria have escalated attacks on US positions in both countries. Fully 60 such attacks have taken place against US forces since October 7. 56 American personnel have suffered injuries in these attacks […]
Three Weeks of Ground War in Gaza
On Saturday, November 18, Israel’s war in Gaza reached its 43rd day and the ground offensive in Gaza has now reached its three-week mark. This war, Israel’s leaders say, is going to be long. But we are beginning to see the ground offensive reach a new phase. >> Reports from the Gaza Front: Read more from Seth […]
China’s Turn Toward Antisemitism
“The United States as a nation has been severely kidnapped by political and other forces derived from Jewish capital,” thus said Dong Manyuan, the former Vice president of CIIS, the Chinese foreign ministry’s think tank, in a TV interview on November 1, in response to the interviewer claim that Jews “manipulate and control” 70% of […]
Petting Hamas While Killing Kurds, The Double Game of Turkish President Erdoğan
“We will tell the whole world that Israel is a war criminal. We are preparing for this. We will declare Israel a war criminal,” said Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdoğan during the “Great Palestinian Rally” that took place in Istanbul on October 28, exactly three weeks after Hamas murdered over 1400 Israeli and other citizens, […]
Initial Lessons From the October 2023 War
As these lines are being written, the war is ongoing and may yet intensify. It is perhaps too early to posit conclusive lessons at this stage. Therefore, I would qualify all of the findings below by suggesting that they must be put to the test of systematic criticism – alongside many of our military and […]
Latin American Views on the Gaza War Are in Flux
In the days and weeks after the October 7 terrorist attack and Israeli military response, some Latin American nations have distanced themselves politically from Israel. While views of the conflict are evolving, the Latin American public’s reliance on social media for news reports, amid relentlessly negative images of suffering in Gaza, has contributed to widespread […]
The Ground War in Gaza Begins
The week of fighting on the ground that began on Saturday, October 27 was tough. There were Israeli military casualties and Gazan civilian casualties. The worst incident for Israel came when a Namer armored personnel carrier was hit with a missile and eleven soldiers were killed. A well-known tank commander, Salman Habaka, who had played a key role […]
The Price of Greatness is Responsibility
Usually, history’s turning points are invisible to the living. Forks in the road are spotted by historians only long after events and their immediate repercussions have faded. But sometimes history visibly shifts for its participants onto a new course. We are now living through one of those turning points in history. 2023 was the year that […]
Reader’s Response: Russia is a Marginal Player in the Gaza War
The article by Stephen Blank of October 25, “Russia’s Role in the Gaza War,” provides much good evidence of Russia’s initial efforts to capitalize on the war for its own purposes. But that article may have overestimated the extent of Russian involvement in and influence over Hamas, Hizbullah and indeed over Iran. The Kremlin aspires […]
Defending the Basic Values of Humanity After October 7
In Europe, we have fancied ourselves to be living in a postmodern world. But after the totalitarian assault by Russia against Ukraine and this month’s terrorist attack by Hamas against Israeli civilians, this dispassion is a luxury we can no longer afford.
Three European Views of the Gaza War
Public Opinion Swings Against IsraelHugh Pope In a recent broadcast, the presenters of The Rest is Politics – a bipartisan British podcast listened to by five million people a month – demonstrated a trend in Europe away from unconditional support for Israel to more sympathy for the Palestinians. Hosts Alastair Campbell and Rory Stewart noted […]
Postwar Gaza Planning: An Initial Checklist
Postwar planning for Gaza needs to start now. Prior to October 7, nobody in Israel was planning for this war. Thus, planning now for what happens if Hamas is defeated may be way behind. It will take many weeks to marshal the necessary resources, equipment, people, and authorizations to meet the basic requirements of Gaza’s […]
Balancing Military and Humanitarian Necessities: Legal Aspects of the War in Israel and Gaza
The atrocities committed by Hamas against Israeli civilians on October 7 do not exempt Israel from abiding by its own commitments under international law. Even in a war against a brutal terrorist organization engaged in acts of absolute evil, international humanitarian law still applies. Most of these legal obligations are designed to protect the civilian […]
Beyond Gaza, the Confrontation with Iran
Iran seeks to derail the US regional effort based on Saudi-Israeli normalization
What’s Next for Gaza
The longer Israel holds off entering the Gaza Strip, the greater will be the number of voices around the world calling upon Israel not to enter at all. The arguments against an incursion are depressingly familiar. There will be those who will counsel against anger and revenge and for “proportionality.” And there will be those […]
Russia’s Role in the Gaza War
Several media outlets have speculated about Moscow’s involvement in Hamas’ most recent aggression against Israel. Certainly, this war may have the effect, whether intended or not, of benefitting Moscow by diverting Western attention and support from Ukraine. But there is some evidence, presented below, of Moscow’s intention to exploit and benefit from the war so as to […]
A Second Week of War: Israel’s Ground Forces Wait on Two Fronts
The second week of the war between Hamas and Israel began on October 15 with expectations for a ground incursion into Gaza, and ended on October 22 with Israeli forces on the border of Gaza and the border of Lebanon continuing to wait and see. >> Reports from the Gaza Front: Read more from Seth […]
The Israel/Lebanon Border:
Will Escalation Lead to a War on Two Fronts?
Will Escalation Lead to a War on Two Fronts?
The danger of today’s conflict in Gaza becoming a two-front war for Israel depends on a range of issues, most importantly Lebanese Hizbullah’s leadership and capabilities, the strategic aims of Hizbullah’s patron, Iran, and the actions of Israel and the United States to effectively deter escalation. Hizbullah as an organization plays three different roles at […]
Russian Policy and Hamas’ Assault: Putin Benefits From Chaos
If there is a winner emerging from the October 7 terrorist attack and subsequent war in Gaza, it is Vladimir Putin. On October 8, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia is interested in starting a war in the Middle East to “undermine world unity.” Russia may not need to start a full-blown war, but Zelensky understands that the current escalation in […]
Where’s the Nearest Carrier?
While onboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) in 1993, President Bill Clinton opined that when word of a crisis breaks out in Washington, it is no accident that the first question many people ask is: ”Where’s the nearest carrier?” President Bill Clinton aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt, March 12, 1993 Once again American history repeats itself. In the immediate aftermath […]
Gazan Civilian Casualties: Hamas’ Strategy and Israel’s Achilles Heel
Israel has correctly assessed the October 7 attack as an existential threat to the state. To be sure, Hamas could never overrun Israel. But if Hamas remains capable of such attacks, possibly coordinated next time with the greater military threats of Lebanese Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran, Israel could be pushed to the brink (as nearly […]
Report from the Gaza Front: A New Playbook
I spent the first days of the war on the Gaza border, mostly near Kibbutz Zikim. On the fifth day, October 11, I went to the Gaza border city of Sderot and spent time in the community, speaking with locals and also with the police. From these conversations and also discussions with members of the […]
WE ARE ALL ISRAELIS
The 1973 Yom Kippur War began as a surprise attack on the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. On October 7, 2023, history has repeated itself. Earlier today, Hamas, an Iran-backed terror group, launched a surprise attack by land, water, and air – including glider assaults and more than 5,000 rocket strikes in the first […]
The Israel-Jordan Relationship: Jordan’s Strategic Anxiety Requires More Israeli Attention
My relationship with Jordan began even before the peace treaty was signed. It started in Washington DC where I was posted in the late 1980s as the spokesperson of the Israeli Embassy. This was shortly before the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, and shortly after King Hussein of Jordan had decided to disengage from […]
The Taliban Regime was Not Inevitable - Afghanistan’s Historical and Cultural Legacy and Efforts to Revive It
The US withdrawal from Afghanistan and ensuing Taliban’s conquest have unleashed humanitarian, security, and geopolitical upheavals in the region.
How To Support the Latest Revolt in Syria
On August 20, a majority of the previously quiescent Druze minority in Syria moved to open revolt. Chanting slogans to topple the government, demolishing statues of Bashar al-Assad and tearing down his billboard portraits, thousands of protestors spread from the main square of the provincial capital of Sweida to most Druze townlets and villages. On […]
Egypt's Economic Decay and its Implications
In the summer of 2013, Major-General Abdel Fatah el Sisi overthrew the Egyptian government and promised the people a renaissance. Instead, Egypt is decaying. The country has always been poor, but Egypt is now in the worst economic shape in a generation. Poverty and income inequality remain stubbornly high as Egyptians grapple with record inflation […]
Another View of the Diplomacy of Prime Minister Golda Meir
The Yom Kippur War of 50 years ago remains a watershed event in the Middle East. It marked the end of an era, which Uri Misgav recently called the 25-year Arab-Israeli war (1948-73), and opened an era in which Israel, in a slow and long process, is being accepted by her Arab neighbors. That process […]
Mr. Erdoğan in New York: A Transactional Foreign Policy Should be Repaid in Kind
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is in New York this week for the UN General Assembly and side meetings with world leaders. Before going, he voiced his frustration with the Biden administration’s decision to directly link the sale to Turkey of upgraded F-16 fighters (which require congressional approval) to Ankara’s ability to ratify Sweden’s accession […]
Ecuador’s Security Woes Amid a Sudden Election
Formerly peaceful Ecuador has been rocked by violence during its current presidential elections. In August, Fernando Villavicencio, a presidential candidate and vocal critic of corruption, was assassinated as he left a campaign rally in the country’s capital, Quito. Several local politicians have also been murdered during the campaign period. The first round of August 20 resulted […]
Looking Beyond the War: Planning for Ukraine’s Reconstruction
The outcome of Russia’s war on Ukraine and the provisions of a final settlement are as yet unknown. Ukraine may prevail in pushing Russia back to the 1991 borders, as President Zelenskyy intends. The conflict might result in a settlement with a divided Ukraine, both countries exhausted from the effort. It could grind on for years […]
A Joint American-Israeli Redline on Iran’s Nuclear Program
A central element of the new film Oppenheimer is time. The time needed to design and construct the ultimate weapon is marked through the steady accumulation of marbles in a fishbowl and a wine glass, which represent the growing stockpiles of uranium and plutonium that ultimately fueled the devices dropped seventy-eight years ago on Hiroshima […]
Recent African Coups:
End of Françafrique, Need for US Leadership
End of Françafrique, Need for US Leadership
Since 2020, six African countries have experienced a total of eight coups d’état. With the exception of Gabon, all occurred in the Sahel, the semi-arid band stretching across the continent between the Sahara Desert to the north and the tropical savannah to the south. The conventional narrative of “Africa Rising,” which had only recently replaced […]
What China Wants in Africa
Africa struggles to climb American policymakers’ priority list, but it has no such problem with China. For three decades, the Chinese government has expended immense energy courting African countries. With only two exceptions over the last thirty years, the Chinese foreign minister has made Africa his first overseas destination every year. Other senior Chinese officials […]
The Druze in Israel: A Silent Minority Begins to Speak Out
Protests in Israel are nothing new, but those on the Golan Heights this June were different. The government, as part of its clean energy program, had designated the Golan Heights for wind turbine projects. When construction began in June, the Druze on the Golan erupted in mass protests, attracting support from their coreligionists in the […]
Unexpected Hope For Democracy in Guatemala
The second round of presidential elections in Guatemala on August 20 produced a surprising victor: center-left opposition politician Bernardo Arévalo, who had polled just 11 percent in the first round in June. Guatemalans have voted for change, but with a four-month presidential transition ahead, the election results will not be really final until inauguration day on […]
Afghanistan Two Years after the Taliban Take-over
On the two-year anniversary of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, JST asked five experts who worked in and on Afghanistan for their comments.
Should America and Israel Sign a Defense Treaty? Depends on the Saudi Deal
A defense treaty with the US sounds attractive to many in Israel. In 1986-1987, I chaired discussions on the issue in the foreign affairs and defense committee of the Knesset, and we produced a document with pros and cons. The idea came up again in the Sharon government of 2004-2005, and we concluded then that […]
What’s Next for Russia?
The war in Ukraine was supposed to be over in just a few days, according to US intelligence sources. One and a half years later, both sides are preparing to continue fighting in the months to come. The war is taking an incredible toll on Ukraine. Its men and women are fighting instead of working […]
Should America and Israel Sign a Defense Treaty?
A bilateral US-Israel “security deal” or defense treaty is back on the agenda of an Israeli government, according to the press. The Jerusalem Strategic Tribune asked three former senior Israeli officials for their views. Hunting a Dangerous TrophyYair Golan Let us assume that Israel does put on the table a request for a formal defense […]
China's Influence in the Middle East and the Strategic Considerations Underlying it
The difficulty in comparing America’s and China’s influence in the Middle East is that the two operate on entirely different planes. [Note: The Chinese use the term Western Asia, rather than the Middle East, to refer to a region that includes the Levant, Iraq, the Gulf, Turkey and Iran.] Despite China’s impressive naval construction program, China […]
In the two years since they took over Afghanistan, the Taliban have ignited several diplomatic crises and security threats across the country’s borders. Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan have warned that the Taliban are hosting terror groups, and UN and other sources have noted increasing drug trade, border tensions and refugee flows. Central Asian states, particularly […]
Growing Asian Ties to the Gulf
Japanese Prime Minister Kishida, Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Indian Prime Minister Modi each made a trip recently to Arab countries of the Gulf. In July, Kishida visited Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Qatar while Modi was in the UAE. Yoon visited the UAE in January. These three trips received far […]
Four Decades of Talks with Arab Diplomats
Three months after I came to live in Jerusalem, in November 1977, I joined my fellow Israelis standing on the side of the road to welcome President Anwar Sadat of Egypt. I had decided to immigrate to Israel from Britain in the aftermath of the Yom Kippur War of 1973. Four years later, watching the […]
The United States, Iran, and the Lessons of the Last War
Generals, the old adage goes, are prone to fighting the last war. Political leaders and the people they represent typically prefer to avoid armed conflict. They have heeded what they have believed to be the lessons of the most recent conflict in which they have been engaged, seeking, in effect, to avoid the last war. […]
Biden at the NATO Summit in Vilnius: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
When President Joe Biden entered office he was quick to declare that “America is back.” After his predecessor routinely expressed low regard for America’s European allies, Biden declared that the United States was resuming its place at the “head of the table” and was ready to “lead the world.” Nowhere is that leadership more on […]
India’s Security Policy: Balancing Its Russia Dilemma with New Partnerships
Introduction: Recurring Pakistani And Growing Chinese Challenges India faces disputed boundaries and territorial claims with both Pakistan and China. Though the direct threat from Pakistan has become less salient, the boundary dispute with China remains a massive problem. Furthermore at a time when the US and China are locked in a global competition, China’s assertiveness […]
Venezuela’s Deep-Rooted Crisis
Facing pivotal elections in 2024, Venezuela remains in crisis through a combination of socio-economic upheaval and dysfunctional rule that make it the largest problem in the Western Hemisphere. A Background of Authoritarian Rule and Governmental Dysfunction In 2018, Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro rigged a presidential election process, moving up the date for the vote from […]
Did Israel Lose the Syrian War? Not Yet
Ehud Yaari’s “How Israel Lost the Syrian War” in The Jerusalem Strategic Tribune provides unequaled insight into Israel’s and other states’ actions during the Syrian civil war. He describes Israel’s tactical successes, noting that IRGC Leader Suleimani’s “original plan [to set up a major new rocket and missile front aimed at Israel] for now is […]
Can Iran Find a Place in Regional Integration?
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, in February 2021, boldly summarized President Joe Biden’s strategy as a “foreign policy for the middle class,” a concept further articulated in a speech in April 2023. This is both a departure and a continuation of traditional US strategic thinking. In earlier administrations, foreign policy emerged from the concerns of […]
Assessing Israel's ongoing campaign against Iran in Syria
Since 2013 – and more intensely since 2017 – Israel has been conducting an active military and intelligence campaign against Iran’s presence in Syria, in addition to the ongoing operations against Iran’s nuclear effort. Doubts have been raised as to the long-term ability of this strategy to prevent Iran from sustaining and extending its grip […]
Southeast Asia between Major Powers: Lessons for the Middle East
I once asked a Vietnamese friend what an impending leadership change in Hanoi meant for his country’s relations with China. “Every Vietnamese leader,” he replied, “must get along with China; every Vietnamese leader must stand up to China; and if you cannot do both at the same time, you don’t deserve to be the leader.” […]
How Israel Lost the Syrian Civil War
Apart from the Syrian people themselves, Israel comes out of the 12 years of civil war in Syria as the biggest loser. The survival of the Assad regime, closely allied with Iran, amounts to nothing short of an Israeli strategic failure. Assad’s survival turns Iran into Israel’s next-door neighbor, exercising growing influence on the rebuilding of Syria’s armed forces. It allows for land corridors through Iraq and (via […]
The New Great Game for Leadership in Asia
The strategic complexion of Asia has shifted substantially in recent years. The United States is no longer the predominant military, diplomatic, and economic power across the region, as it was for the last half of the 20th century and the first decade of this century. China actively contests American leadership as it strives to restore […]
Sudan’s Forever War
The Republic of Sudan was born in war when it became independent in 1956. Since April of this year, the country is once again engulfed in a war that has ethnic, regional and institutional dimensions and that can once again result in a regime that exports instability and harbors terrorism. Sudan has been here before. […]
Turkey-Israel Relations on the Upswing
The JST asked three prominent Israeli foreign affairs commentators about Turkey-Israel relations after the Turkish elections. Act with CautionBy Amos Yadlin Warming up to Israel and reviving bilateral relations have been part of Erdoğan’s broader détente policy in the region. The Turkish economy’s dependence on Saudi Arabia and the UAE, with the channels now reopened […]
Turkey: The Mood After the Elections and How the US Might Respond
The JST asked four seasoned observers of Turkey, three being former practitioners of US foreign policy and one a celebrated writer with several books on Turkey, for their views of the country in the immediate aftermath of its May elections. The Mood in Turkey Stable, but Existing Fractures are WideningBy Hugh Pope Turkey’s presidential and […]
“The Kiss of Biden” and Foreign Policy in Erdoğan’s Re-Election
Pity Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. The Turkish opposition candidate faced an impossible challenge: running for president with American lipstick on his cheek. Call it the kiss of Biden. In 2020, when Joe Biden was a candidate for president, he told the editorial board of the New York Times that he favored working with “elements of the Turkish […]
Four Reflections on Turkey After the Elections
The JST asked four experts on Turkey from journalism, academia and government service for their thoughts on “whither Turkey” in the immediate aftermath of the May 28 elections. In Turkey, “It’s not the economy, stupid”Alan Makovsky The run-off elections of May 28 ended with Erdoğan winning roughly 52% of the vote, essentially as was expected […]
A New Gaza Policy for Israel
Israel’s current policy towards Gaza is based on deterrence, reinforced with periodic military operations. But the military capabilities of Hamas and Islamic Jihad are growing. Israel should actively consider alternatives to its current strategy as I outline here. Background The Gaza Strip, known as Gaza, is 365 square kilometers with a population of slightly over 2 […]
Russia-Ukraine Information Warfare
On November 15, 2022, NATO and Russia had a tense moment that might have escalated into a military confrontation. A missile hit a Polish village near the Polish-Ukrainian border, killing two civilians. Associated Press cited unnamed Western officials that it was a Russian missile. It might have been the basis for Poland invoking Article 5, […]
Guatemala’s Hollowed-Out Democracy Faces a Test
On June 25, just over 9 million Guatemalans will head to the polls to elect a president, vice president, members of congress, and municipal authorities. The story behind Guatemala’s elections is complicated.
Jake Sullivan’s Moment
Jake Sullivan was 44 when President Biden named him as national security advisor, the youngest American national security adviser in nearly 60 years. He comes not from a college campus with sweeping untested theories, but rather from Capitol Hill and the State Department with practical experience as a diplomat and policymaker. He focuses on what […]
The Lessons We Should Have Learned from the First Lebanon War
Three former US military officers recently reflected in these pages on the “The Lessons We Should have Learned from Vietnam,” based on their experiences in that war. Here are three former Israeli officers who similarly reflect on the formative war of their careers – the 1982 invasion of Lebanon. Doron Almog on a Misguided Strategy […]
Haiti’s Perfect Storm:
And How to Get Out of It
And How to Get Out of It
Haiti has for decades been in a perfect storm of internal challenges – earthquakes, floods, poor governance and now a capital nearly overrun by gangs. The international response has often brought its own storms – including a cholera epidemic and sexual predation by UN peacekeepers. Haitians are becoming increasingly desperate, while the international community is […]
Egypt’s Economic Challenge
Egypt’s army specializes in executing set-piece operations. In 1973, the army had the idea of using water cannons to dissolve parts of Israel’s defensive line on the Suez Canal, huge sand berms erected to prevent an Egyptian assault into Sinai. The Egyptian army did in a few short hours what Israeli planners thought would take […]
US - India Relations:
Growing Military Cooperation, Lagging Economic Ties - and Managing the Russia Problem
Growing Military Cooperation, Lagging Economic Ties - and Managing the Russia Problem
India and the United States have overcome the distance and suspicions that arose out of India’s refusal to align itself with the US soon after its independence in 1947. Over the last three decades, the world’s oldest and largest democracies have built a multi-layered and likely enduring partnership. Public opinion in both countries favors close […]
South America’s Two Leftist Heavyweights Share Goals but Not Tactics
The new presidents of Colombia and Brazil, the two most prominent leaders in South America, are both looking to shake up the status quo – with different playbooks. Colombia’s Gustavo Petro takes a confrontational, boisterous, outspoken, and anti-establishment approach. Brazil’s Lula da Silva (“Lula”) is a pragmatic, conciliatory leader seeking to build broad coalitions around […]
American Policy and the Israeli Domestic Debate
On March 29, a few hours after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pressed pause on his government’s plan to overhaul Israel’s judiciary, US President Joe Biden delivered a warning to his long-time friend. “Like many strong supporters of Israel, I’m very concerned,” Biden said, masking his deep frustration with measured understatement. “I’m concerned that they get […]
Israeli Sovereignty and American Intervention
The streets are seething. Police have clashed with demonstrators and there have been not only arrests but some violence. Hundreds of thousands and likely millions have protested proposed government actions. Unions have called for nationwide strikes. Government reactions have elicited even more fierce opposition. Israel? No, France. Most recently, protests have intensified when the government completely […]
Back to the Basics of Shared Values in the US-Israel Relationship
Recently, I was asked whether I might consider revising the book I wrote on the US-Israeli relationship entitled Doomed to Succeed. Turmoil in Israel, the most right-wing, religious government in Israel’s history, and President Biden’s decision to hold off inviting Prime Minister Netanyahu to Washington led to concerns about where the relationship might be headed, […]
What an Improved Nuclear Deal with Iran Should Look Like
Twenty years ago, on 17 March 2003, Mohammed ElBaradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), reported to his board that Iran was in breach of its Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) obligations – which require a signatory to use all nuclear technology in the country exclusively for peaceful purposes and to follow a policy […]
China’s Middle East Marathon
China’s evolving role in the Middle East is analyzed by US Ambassador Peter Pham.
The Unity Trap
General Stanley McChrystal and Ellen Chapin reflect on the tension between debate and consensus in McChrystal’s military career and in other episodes of US history.
American Military Guarantees Boost Ukraine’s and NATO’S Long-Term Prospects
Introduction In a hard-hitting essay published here in the Jerusalem Strategic Tribune, A Year of War, the Washington Institute’s Anna Borshchevskaya paints a sobering picture of what Ukrainians, and all in NATO, face. She argues that Russians view the war as an existential struggle for their future. Washington and the rest of NATO are now rightly ensuring that at a minimum […]
How Would Republicans Conduct American Foreign Policy Today?
The global order is changing rapidly. China is brokering normalization between Iran and Saudi Arabia while the United States brokers normalization between Arab states and Israel. Turkey and Russia are both antagonists and collaborators in multiple hot spots. Ukraine’s military is proving stronger than Russia’s. Alliances and friendships in the Indo-Pacific are coalescing against Chinese […]
The Quad Is for Real, Thanks to Abe
“Japan is not now and will never be a tier-two power,” declared Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a speech to the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington in February 2013. He was there to champion the idea of a Quadrilateral Security Dialogue between Japan, the United States, India, and Australia. He succeeded in […]
Israel’s Policy Toward Iran's Nuclear Program—Some Counterfactual Remarks
If Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu believes that a nuclear Iran is Israel’s greatest threat, then why is his government focused instead on passing domestic judicial reform legislation as its top priority? This question, posed by a former head of the Mossad’s Iran department, appeared in the headlines of Israel’s daily Yedioth Ahronoth on March 3. […]
A Year of War
A year after invading Ukraine, Vladimir Putin defines the war as an existential battle for Russia’s survival. In a classic case of the aggressor blaming the victim, Putin says the West invaded Russia using Ukraine. “It’s they [the West] who have started the war. And we are using force to end it,” he said on […]
A Chinese View of US–China Relations
[Note from the Editors: We have added parenthetical comments to the article for context in several places.] The United States frames its relations with China as a great power competition, in terms of the Biden administration’s national security strategy, for example. China claims to have a different view, having just emerged from three years of […]
Why is the World Obsessed With Israeli Judicial Reform
A strident debate is occurring in Israel about the role of the judiciary and democratic governance. Virtually every democracy debates this issue periodically, because there is an inherent conflict between majority power and minority rights. The traditional role of non-elected courts is to impose a check on politicians who are elected by the majority. Whenever […]
How Russia Used Gas Exports to Try to Overthrow a Government
To avoid receiving an energy bill she couldn’t afford, Zinaida Negruti, like countless others in Moldova, began spending more time in the dark as fall transitioned into winter. “Most of the time I don’t turn on the lights because I am worried it will be too expensive,” she says. “I try to use as little […]
A New Page in the Russo–Iranian Partnership
In July 2022, against the backdrop of the ongoing war in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin embarked on a notable foreign trip. Amid mounting international censure and growing hostility from the outside world, Putin traveled to Tehran to meet with Iranian officials and formally usher in a new phase in the long-running strategic partnership between […]
Reader’s Response: National Security Strategies Need an Economic Element
Jacob Nagel’s recent article in the JST, “Security Challenges Facing the New Israeli Government,” tours the often-visited terrain of threats to Israel and focuses, quite rightly, on Iran and Hezbollah. Adding an economic element to such overviews will provide greater clarity and accuracy in assessing Israel’s strategic needs. Two aspects of such an economic element […]
Restraint as a US Foreign Policy Strategy and the Future of the US–Israel Relationship:
An Exchange of Views
An Exchange of Views
Steve, Our friendship goes back to graduate school days at Princeton and continued throughout our careers in US government service. We have moved in opposite directions politically—you to center-left and me to center-right—though we probably still agree on a lot. Let’s explore two issues—the general issue of whether or not the US needs to retrench […]
Security Challenges Facing the New Israeli Government
The State of Israel is not required by law to adopt a national security strategy. But the need for such a document has been often raised, and several efforts have been made to write one. In October 1953, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion presented a long disquisition on Israel’s security needs to the Cabinet, which he […]
Biden’s Measured Response to China’s Activism in the Middle East
The Biden administration does not view US–China competition in the Middle East as a zero-sum prize for one side to enjoy at the other’s expense. This measured response to China’s growing influence could change, however; outlined below are factors that could shift US policy toward great power confrontation in the region. China’s President Xi Jinping […]
The November Election Results and Israel’s Next Government
The Knesset elections in November ended in a virtual tie between the left and right in terms of votes cast. But Netanyahu proved far more skillful in organizing the parties of the right than Yair Lapid did on the left, resulting in a decisive parliamentary majority for Netanyahu. The question now is whether he can […]
Lessons of the Russo–Ukraine War
Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has been underway for almost nine years and is closing on one year in its current, full-scale form. What we can learn from the war’s origins and initial stages may assist us in finding the right policies to help end it on the best possible terms for Ukraine and […]
Lessons We Should Have Learned from Vietnam
With recent experiences of Iraq and Afghanistan in mind, three former US ambassadors look back at their earlier careers as infantry officers in Vietnam and offer the following lessons.
The Netanyahu Doctrine
A New Doctrine for Israel The notion of a national security doctrine is usually associated with the foreign policy of hegemonic powers, particularly the United States. Several American presidents have either promulgated a doctrine or had one named after them. A doctrine is usually understood as encompassing economic, geopolitical, and even social objectives, as well […]
The Reasoning Behind Israel’s Refusal to Supply Weapons to Ukraine
Ever since the Russian invasion of Ukraine last February, Israel’s policy of not supplying weapons to Ukraine has come under both domestic and international criticism. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy recently stated that the decision by Israeli leaders not to support Kyiv has encouraged Russia’s military partnership with Iran. Inside Israel, critics say support for Ukraine […]
Bringing Water Security for Palestinians and Israelis
EcoPeace’s bold initiative “A Green Blue Deal for the Middle East” calls on the Israeli and Palestinian governments to act cooperatively on water issues under a climate-crisis paradigm, rather than continuing to hold water issues hostage to politics
Trends in Africa as it Emerges from the Pandemic
Africa is growing in importance post pandemic in energy markets, public health and information and communications, according to former US diplomat Laird Treiber.
The Abraham Accords at Year Two: A Work Plan
Although it was not the Biden administration that fathered the Abraham Accords, it proved willing to adopt them—hoping, with this endorsement, to assuage the dismay felt by many in the region with other aspects of its policy. Still, the president has done little, so far, to promote the Accords and their expansion. Moreover, the weakening […]
Turkey’s Hinge Election
In 2023, Turkey will hold a hinge election. An opposition victory would mean a more democratic, pro-Western Turkey—and a Turkey that keeps its distance from Islamist groups. An Erdoğan victory would solidify his hold on the nation and most likely mean diminished freedoms and continued Turkish efforts to balance East and West, as well as […]
Ukraine in the Trap of Ideological Fixations
The tragedy now unfolding in Ukraine serves as a painful and powerful reminder of one of the foundational lessons of modern history. Ideological and faith-driven fixations, whether in foreign or domestic affairs, lead to bad policy. Evidence-based policies do not necessarily guarantee success, but their built-in pragmatism allows for adaptations that take into account changing […]
The Long Downfall of Russia
How long can a lost war last? The predictions of military experts vary from several months to about a year. In my opinion, the duration of hostilities largely depends on three major factors.
Woke Ideology Poses a National Security Challenge for Israel
Frazzled by recent discussions with her American Jewish counterparts, an Israeli friend recently asked me, “What alien species has taken over the American Jewish community?”
Israel’s Innovative Spirit Expands to New Fields
Israel has been known for years as a center for innovation in several high-tech fields from medical devices to information security. Today, Israeli entrepreneurs are expanding to new fields, such as climate tech and food security, while its government has become a leader in public health policy through its pandemic response. Preparing for Pandemics Israel, […]
The ASEAN Model: A Vision of Middle East Integration Beyond the Abraham Accords
The summit of foreign ministers came together on relatively short notice. It was unstructured, informal, with little of the staff work or pre-negotiation that normally precedes such gatherings. The agenda was slim and general, and the outcome rather modest. But viewed through a historical scope, the results were transformational. I am not referring to the […]
The Challenges Facing the Next Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defense Forces
Major General Hertzi Halevi will become the next chief of staff of the IDF on January 1, 2023. Military expert Tal Lev-Ram classifies the challenges facing the incoming chief of staff into five key problems.
The Abraham Accords: Anchoring Peace in Contested Waters
This summer, Israel and Lebanon have come closer than ever to settling a decades-long maritime border dispute. A resolution of this dispute would not only give an economic boost to the region but also would help meet Europe’s energy needs.
Israel’s November Elections: What’s It All About?
In June 2022, the Knesset—Israel’s parliament—voted in favor of disbanding in preparation for new elections scheduled for November 1, 2022. These will be Israel’s fifth round of Knesset elections in three years, and the public is reluctant to head to the polls again. Even the opposition tried at first to see if it could knock […]
Anticipating Iran’s Future
The Islamic Republic of Iran, now 43 years old, has proven itself to be remarkably resilient in weathering both geopolitical turbulence and domestic hardships. In doing so, it has defied the predictions of numerous scholars and pundits. This trend could very well continue. Iran’s clerical elite has turned out to be extremely adept at changing […]
How to Fix Ukraine’s Economy
The Ukrainian economy is in dire straits after Russia’s attack on the country on February 24, with current forecasts of a 35% drop in gross domestic product (GDP) in 2022. The primary challenge is to stop Russia’s aggression, which is costly, but the next issue is to rebuild Ukraine and complete its post-communist reforms, which […]
Domestic Politics and Deglobalization
What’s Next for Global Economic Governance?
The Diminished Role of Economic Sanctions
Tel Aviv University’s Tal Sadeh explains how globalization of markets allows countries to evade economic sanctions, reducing their effectiveness.
At the Front in Ukraine
Report from a Former US Congressman and Army Artilleryman
Behind the Curtain at the Creation of the Abraham Accords
As we approach the two-year anniversary of a phone call that changed the Middle East, it is important to understand the impact and potential of the Abraham Accords.
What Makes the Russia–Ukraine War Significant?
The Russian invasion of its neighbor has a very strange feel to it. It is not just on the wrong side of history; rather, it is a bad reenactment of the worst parts of it.
In Southeast Asia, the United States Needs to Up its Economic Game
One often hears that China is “winning” the competition with the United States in Southeast Asia. This strategically important region is home to 650 million people, and collectively is the world’s fifth largest economy and the US’s fourth largest export market. While serious competition is indeed a reality, it is not particularly useful to think […]
The Egyptian Diaspora and El-Sisi’s Use of “Soft Power”
Since the rise of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to power, the Egyptian government has invested in strengthening its ties with the Egyptian diaspora around the world, as an important pillar of Egypt’s “soft power” strategy.
The True and Sad Story of Israel’s Economy and How to Change It
The narrative of Israel being a “Startup Nation” ignores troubling and persistent macro-economic trends that place it at the bottom of the rankings among Western peers.
Israel and the Arab Middle East—A New Geopolitical Architecture
The Middle East has gone through tumultuous change throughout the last decade, from the aftermath of the Arab Spring to the signing of the Abraham Accords. The superpowers’ changing conduct, new regional power dynamics, as well as geo-ecological developments have served to change the Middle Eastern panorama. For Israel, these developments have heralded the creation […]
The Seismic Effects of the War in Ukraine
A dangerous, uncertain transition to a different global system may lie ahead, due to structural and economic reasons, which bring the impact of the war to practically every doorstep worldwide.
The Palestinian Authority: On a Journey to Nowhere
Nearly three decades after its establishment, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has failed to fulfill its historic national goal as a platform for the full implementation of Palestinian independence and the establishment
Walking a Very Fine Line: The Caspian Countries and Ukraine
Russia’s war against Ukraine has put the Caspian countries in a quandary, as they are seeking to maintain their fragile independence.
Greece in the Eastern Mediterranean
From Collective Engagement to Action
The Attack on Abu Dhabi
Dilemmas, Threats, and Opportunities
Shifting East Mediterranean Tides: From Conflict to Club Med?
This essay examines the big picture of this regional transformation.
To the Middle East and Beyond!
Israel’s New Connectivity
Going on the Attack
The theoretical framework of the IDF’s “Operational Concept for Victory” defines Israel’s new reality.
The Illusion of Deterrence, Early Warning, and Decisive Outcome
Israel’s defense doctrine should be reassessed, if deterrence is irrelevant to anti-guerilla and anti-terror warfare
The Russian—Ukrainian War 2022
Initial Observations and Lessons
Putin’s Risky Gamble in Ukraine
The decision-making process and situation assessments by the Putin regime made the risky decision to invade Ukraine possible. But what exactly does Putin intend to achieve?
China’s Interests. Iran’s Ambitions
A More Robust Role is required in Countering Iran’s Ambitions
The First TikTok War
The 2022 Russian–Ukraine war presents a dramatic landscape of information warfare.
Strategic Perspectives on the Ukrainian Crisis
To understand the underlying reasons of the war in Ukraine, one must look at the manner in which Russia looks upon the world and upon NATO and the EU.
COVID-19 in the Middle East
The Crisis that Wasn’t
Iran's ties to Africa
Iran’s repeated excursions to Africa require far closer scrutiny.
You Better Believe That Africa Matters
For too long in the West, the continent of Africa has been viewed as peripheral to world affairs. This view is short-sighted and needs to be revisited.
A New Israeli Policy Toward Syria?
There is little prospect of an Israeli–Syrian peace deal. Earlier attempts by Israeli leaders to come to terms with Syria had met with stiff opposition in the country.
“Restraint” in Action: America and the Eastern Mediterranean
Biden administration’s first foreign policy crisis in the Eastern Mediterranean merely conformed to the pattern of gradual American disengagement from a region that was once vital to US interests.
The Growing Political Role of Kurdish Diaspora
The Kurdish diaspora has started to move from the streets into the institutionalized venues and attempt to harness political support among civil society organizations.
Iran’s Performative Antisemitism and Anti-Zionism
The total number of Jews still living in Iran is remarkable, considering Iran’s more hostile Shiite jurisprudence, its history of murderous pogroms, its recent bouts of official Holocaust-denial antisemitism, and incessant anti-Israel sloganeering.
The Failing Negotiations with Iran
Iran's President Raisi appears not be interested in a deal and pressure must therefore be maintained. But the US should not allow itself to become enmeshed in an Israeli military action that likely would not totally destroy Iran’s nuclear capacity but would destabilize the region.
American Jewry and Israel
The underlying basis for a more positive view of Israel among the American Jewish public already exists, and the question is whether Israelis will succeed in tapping into it.
A Jewish Response to Anti-Asian Prejudice
It is heartening to know that out of the tragedy of the pandemic can come something positive: a common stand
Israel and Palestine—What Can the US Do?
A hawkish Bennett and a weak Abbas are unlikely to bring about a solution. A third party—and new paradigms—are needed
A Reader’s Response: A Question of Survival
Let us all labor to stop the bomb before it blows up in our faces
The Indian Jewish Community in Israel
On the 30th anniversary of Israel–India relations, a look at a community that lives between the East and the Middle East
Power over Force: A New Policy for Israel
Israel is a regional power. The time has come for it to act accordingly
Israel–US Jewry Ties and the Abraham Accords
The Abraham Accords can remind US Jews that Israelis truly desire peace, so much so that their Arab neighbors recognize it
America and the Syrian Tragedy
The US was never much interested in Syria. What pulled America in, and who has benefitted from the Syrian tragedy?
Is War Declining?
Is the world actually becoming more peaceful? And if so, why?
Australia’s Submarine Decision
What made Australia withdraw from the contract it signed with France for advanced submarines?
Healing Israel’s Relations With Diaspora Jewry
Israel desperately needs a stronger connection with diaspora Jews. Can the rift be healed?
Israel and the New American Landscape
Israel is far less of a bipartisan issue than it used to be. But there's something deeper going on in the US
A Reader’s Response: Reject Erdoğan’s Courtship
Erdoğan knows he has no choice. The Bennett-Lapid government should not offer him a diplomatic lifeline
The Race for Advantage in Psychological Warfare
Does the growing importance of the psychological dimension in modern conflicts put the US and its allies at a disadvantage?
Israel—a Cyber Nation?
Israel has positioned itself as a global cyber power. But how does its defense fare?
The Case for Military Diplomacy
Military diplomacy is totally unnoticed in Israel, but in fact plays a significant role in shaping reality
Is Iran Finally Breaking Out?
After all too many warnings of imminent breakout toward nuclear weapons, is it finally for real now?
Dealing With a (Still) Hostile Iran
Five lessons to be learned from decades of ineffectual policies, and a cornered cat
The Perennial Need for the Use of Force
Force as a policy choice, necessary for liberal political leaders as it is for more conservative ones
The US and Pakistan—What Next After Afghanistan?
Will the roller coaster ride that is the US–Pakistan relationship become more “normal” now?
An Effective—and Coercive—Iran Strategy
The Biden administration seems to be on the wrong track. Here's what needs to change
The Sinai Multinational Force, 40 Years On
A closer look at a critically important, but little known, example of US engagement in the Middle East
Personal Perspectives on Middle East Peace
Two personal perspectives on Middle East peace, offering insights into the dynamics of building bridges
Israel’s African Comeback
A dynamic new chapter is being written in the old story of Israeli–African ties. Where will it lead next?
The Abraham Accords and the Talking Stick
A personal perspective on Middle East peace, offering an insight into the dynamics of dialogues that can build bridges
Diplomatic Innovation and Civil Society
A personal perspective on Middle East peace, offering an insight into the dynamics of dialogues that can build bridges
New Energy Dynamics: OPEC, the US—and the EastMed
America has returned to its role as a major energy producer and exporter, affecting much more than the global market
Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears
A pragmatic approach for the Biden administration's relations with Russia
Dealing with the New Turkey
Erdoğan’s new Turkey confuses everyone. Here are six rules for dealing with it
Biden’s Afghanistan Mistake
The lessons learned from the poorly managed US withdrawal, and its ramifications for foreign policy
President Biden and Israel
Biden is the last of his generation of Democrats. What does it say for the present—and future—of US–Israel ties?
The Two-State Solution Imperative
JST Debate: Action is needed to break the ongoing impasse in the Israeli–Palestinian peace process
No, You Can’t: The Prospects of a Two-State Solution
JST Debate: A breakthrough in the Israeli–Palestinian peace process is unlikely
Prospects of a Breakthrough in the Middle East
JST Debate: Voices from both sides of some of the most heated discussions of our time
America’s Technology Competition with China
Much hinges on Beijing’s expectation that time is on China’s side, but is that really the case?
Can America Regain Global Leadership?
A view from Singapore: How will Asian countries respond to Biden’s foreign policy?
Understanding US Strikes in Iraq and Syria
Iran’s primary strategic objective is to drive the US from the region
America and the Post-1945 World Order
The time has come to restore realist balance-of-power thinking to the center of international relations theory
Israel’s Place in the New Order
A practitioner’s perspective: Only a militarily strong Israel can sustain its regional position
The political winds are blowing in an anti-China direction. Biden needs a sophisticated foreign policy strategy