Walter Russell Mead must be kidding:
Unhappily for the Obama administration, the best way for the U.S. to hasten the arrival of a durable cease fire in Gaza is to promise a more robust and hawkish policy in the rest of the region. The Israelis will be more willing to make concessions on a Gaza cease fire if they believe that the U.S. will back them more effectively against Iran, and the Saudis and Egyptians are more likely to give ground in Gaza if the U.S. offers real support in the rest of the region [bold mine-DL].
Mead’s argument is just another version of the “linkage” thesis that makes no sense whatever. Pursuing a “more robust and hawkish policy” in other parts of the region may be welcomed by some U.S. clients, but it isn’t going to change their position on anything related to Gaza. There’s no reason that it would. The Saudi and Egyptian governments hate Hamas for similar reasons, and they’re not interested in “giving ground” on this point. Doing more of what the Saudis want in, say, Syria, might make their government cease its whining on that issue, but it isn’t going to affect their position on other issues. It will just confirm that the U.S. can be pressured into caving to clients’ preferences. The Israeli government would be even less inclined to make concessions on Gaza if the U.S. chose to align its Iran policy more closely with theirs, because that would prove to Netanyahu that the U.S. can eventually be “moved” to see things his way with enough persistent intransigence and complaining. Mead isn’t urging a “more robust and hawkish policy” in the region because that has any chance of producing a durable cease-fire in Gaza, but because that is what he always urges the administration to do, and so he is trying to come up with some new excuse for why the U.S. should follow his typically horrible advice. It won’t lead to a durable cease-fire, since it completely fails to address any of the reasons for the recurring conflict between the two sides, but it will help to drag the U.S. into other conflicts elsewhere in the region.