Trump’s Latest Cynical ‘Pro-Israel’ Pandering
Trump wants to add a new free-riding ally:
I had a call today with Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss the possibility of moving forward with a Mutual Defense Treaty, between the United States and Israel, that would further anchor the tremendous alliance….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 14, 2019
The idea of a defense treaty with Israel has been kicking around for a long time, but it serves no U.S. interests to have one and it would be yet another unnecessary overseas commitment that does nothing to make the U.S. more secure. There is no “tremendous alliance” at present, and that is how we should keep it. Israel’s international borders are undefined, their government keeps millions of stateless people under illegal occupation, and they have no need for U.S. security guarantees. For a president who won’t shut up about how our country gets ripped off, he is more than happy to consider a formal treaty commitment to a state that doesn’t need it. For our part, the U.S. doesn’t need to make a treaty with a government that routinely attacks its neighbors, and our government shouldn’t be binding itself more closely to a state that is daily becoming more of an international pariah.
Of course, no terrible Trump foreign policy idea would be complete without the utterly cynical political motivation for bringing it up now. The next Israeli general election will be held this Tuesday, and Trump is once again not very subtly putting his thumb on the scales in favor of Netanyahu and the Likud, and he probably expects Netanyahu to return the favor next year when the president is running for re-election. The president is also shamelessly pandering to “pro-Israel” constituencies in this country just as he has done for the last three years. He thinks that his political fortune and that of Netanyahu depend on conflating U.S. and Israeli interests as much as possible, and he couldn’t care less about the consequences for either country. Obviously, Trump’s proposal has nothing to do with U.S. strategic interests, and it is entirely an exercise in culture war posturing. Van Jackson comments:
Pressing for a MDT w/ Israel reveals Trump's transactional anti-alliance free rider arguments to be horseshit. The clash of civilizations runs deep with Trump. His surrogates will rationalize him as strategic, but he's clearly driven by his ethno-nationalist id https://t.co/PPEMaonPcf
— Van Jackson (@WonkVJ) September 15, 2019