Some of Israel's European critics might also want to rethink their anti-Israel stances and the barely disguised anti-Semitism that inspires them, or at least tone it down a bit should they want, at some future time, a piece of the Israeli oil-pie. As Victor Davis Hansen asks, "Will Europe still snub Israel when it has as much oil, gas, and money as an OPEC member in the Persian Gulf?" Well, I'm pretty sure they'll want to, but as De Gaulle famously said, "France has no friends, only interests." I suppose we'll find out soon enough whether France has no enemies, either. In the meantime, Walter Russell Mead simply states the obvious when he says that "
regardless of the simple economic impact, in different ways and different degrees the Gulf countries and Russia are going to lose a lot of the political advantages that their energy wealth now gives them. They will have less ability to restrict supply and to manipulate prices than they have had in the past. Oil and gas are going to be less special when supplies are more abundant and more broadly distributed.
To which this writer would only add: especially when a major source of these "more abundant and broadly distributed" supplies is a stable, democratic friend and ally.
And finally there is America. For Russia, it's the traditional East-West rivalry. But for Israel, it is not so much America the country as it is her current, and hapless, president, Barack Obama and the Israel-hostile fellow travelers who populate his administration. For the first time since, perhaps, the Eisenhower administration, Israel has good reason, at least while Obama is in power, to question our reliability as an ally. And Putin has an obvious incentive to exploit Jerusalem's doubts by moving closer to Israel in the hope of creating a concomitant distance between Israel and the U.S. Indeed, he may already be doing so (emphases below mine):
Putin's arrival in the region must be viewed in contrast to President Obama, who has yet to visit Israel.... President Putin's visit was clearly calculated to be the mirror image of Obama's last visit to the region. In a similar manner, while Obama chose to talk to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in his first overseas telephone call as president, Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke on the phone immediately after Putin's return to the presidency in May. [...]
What's more, not only did Putin begin his tour of the Middle East in Israel, he also made a point in visiting holy Christian and Jewish sites, while entirely skipping the Muslim shrines. He met with Christian and Jewish religious leaders but avoided meeting any Muslim clergy. Even when visiting the Palestinian Authority, Putin chose to come to Bethlehem -- a Christian site -- rather than Ramallah. Whereas Obama chose to reach out to Islam and the Palestinians during his famous 2009 speech in Cairo, Putin chose to appear as the defender of Christianity in the Middle East, outreaching to Judaism and playing down the Palestinian case. [...]
Indeed, when [Putin] insisted on negotiations instead of unilateral steps as the right path towards the resolution of the [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict, he practically endorsed Israel's stance on the matter.
I mention the above as a cautionary note. Israel has a lot more than oil to offer Russia -- and China, and India -- than oil. She also has brainpower and all the technological prowess that goes along with it, and here I mean, especially, military technology, which, I think we all can agree, our competitors and enemies would very much like to have. What Israel does not have a lot of, is money. But Russia, India and, especially, China, have oodles of the stuff, much of it formerly ours. And I would not count the Israelis themselves out, either: as more and more Israeli energy exporting infrastructure comes online, and the revenues start flowing in, Israel might, one day, have substantial funds of her own to put in the pot. Yes, Israel loves us -- but do they love us enough to commit national suicide for us? Israel is a tiny country, surrounded by enemies both potential and real, and like any country in such a situation, relies on alliances and partnerships with larger ones. Which country, or countries, one allies with, however, is of considerably lesser importance when survival is the issue and let's be brutally honest, here. If you were Benjamin Netanyahu, and Barack Obama were your ally, would you want to put all of your alliance eggs in one basket?
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