When it comes to Israel, it looks to me like Donald Trump and the US are channeling Sandy Shaw.
Let’s be clear. As far as the Middle East goes, the USA is finished. Yes, they have their ongoing and lucrative relationship with the region’s sponsors of Jihadist head choppers. But they don’t have much else besides that these days.
Maybe you remember how Donald Trump said America was going to be Israel’s best friend ever? At the time I didn’t pick that as a sign of pleading desperation. But then, at the time, I wasn’t aware of Israel’s blossoming relationship with the Russian Federation.
All the condemnation and the sanctions aimed at Russia because of the Crimea? Israel wasn’t a part of all that. Neither did Israel include itself in any action against Russia over the Skripal poisoning.
So here we are, with Russia poised to be the pre-eminent actor in the Middle East, and the USA reduced to increasingly futile gestures that come riding in with not a little mayhem and chaos on the side.
It’s possible to imagine conversations between Netanyahu and Trump as ones between former lovers – one happily cruel and manipulative, the other, sunk in stupid desperation, not getting it through their heads that it’s over.
Prove you’re love then Donald! Netanyahu might say somewhat coyly, and Donald gives recognition of Jerusalem by way of a US Embassy.
Prove your love Donald! says Netanyahu, (his eyes full of false promises), and Donald presents John Bolton – who just might have some half baked, crazy plan to bring about the destruction of Iran.
Prove your love Donald! says Netanyahu, as he gets it off and on with Putin in so many different ways that it’s driving Donald jealous mad.
And Donald can’t pull that funding. If he does that, he’s acknowledging the end of a long and, for some, heartfelt relationship.
So the US pays, and Israel plays.
Of course, Israel only has a limited window of opportunity to get its cake and eat it. The idea they can play Russia and the US off against one another as a non-aligned India did with the US and the USSR during the cold war has a shelf life.
Bibi knows that. Vladimir knows that. And Donald? Well…