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Home » A historic turning point.. How does the Biden administration’s national security strategy reflect on (Israel)?

A historic turning point.. How does the Biden administration’s national security strategy reflect on (Israel)?

by Freddy Evans
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Agencies – message net

Last October, President Biden published a document outlining the National Security Strategy of the United States. The main message contained in the document is that: “The next decade will determine whether the United States and its allies will be able to defend a free, open, prosperous, and secure world order.”

In addition to building military power, as indicated in the document, the practical focus is on restoring the technological competitiveness of the United States, and these assurances open before “Israel” prospects for deepening cooperation in innovation and security – although this is accompanied by a warning against building close relations with China – the threat The real USA.

It is important to say that if American diplomacy fails, the United States is “ready and ready” to take other measures to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear bomb, as the document confirms the “strong commitment to Israel’s security,” at the same time indicating its explicit position on the Palestinian issue, which is two states on the basis of 67 borders with the exchange of lands, the frequent reference to the importance of international standards and the Charter of the United Nations, and the possibility of friction with the administration on the road.

Like his predecessors, last October, President Biden published a document outlining the National Security Strategy of the United States. The main message the document carried was: We are at a historic turning point, and the next decade will determine whether the United States and its allies will be able to defend a “free and open” world order. prosperous and secure,” in the face of the threat posed by China, Russia and, on the periphery, also Iran.

American leadership is essential to dealing with global challenges, such as the climate crisis and pandemics, as well as building strength, while the practical focus is on restoring the United States’ technological competitiveness.

For Israel, these assurances open up prospects for deepening cooperation in innovation and security – although they are accompanied by a warning against building close relations with China, which is considered the “real threat” to the United States of America, and it is also important to identify Iran as a hostile power, along with China and Russia, and that If diplomacy fails, the United States is “ready and ready” to take further action to prevent it from reaching a nuclear bomb. Even so, the reference to the use of force is cautious.

The document also stresses its “strong commitment to Israel’s security,” at the same time indicating its explicit position on the Palestinian issue, which calls for two states based on the 1967 borders with land swaps, and the repeated reference to the importance of international standards and the United Nations agreement, and to the possibility of friction with the administration on the way.

Background

In recent decades, the procedure has been approved by which the US administration formulates its positions, and publishes basic documents usually every five years, in which it defines national security. Many aspects of the national security policy (and military system) of the United States of America, and these documents are supposed to serve several purposes:

  • Achieving “ordering the ranks” within the administration in the various ministries and agencies, and clarifying the order of priorities of the higher political level.
  • Create a common language on key issues with Congress, which has power over budget legislation (and thus has a far-reaching impact on the ability to achieve the strategic vision).
  • Presenting the basic concepts of management in security and foreign policy and the interrelationship between them and the various US states in the fields of interior, economy and the broad public.
  • Demonstrating the intentions of the United States towards the concerned parties in the international arena, “both enemies and friends.”

President George W. Bush published the first NSS (National Security Strategy) document in 2002 and incorporated his concept of preventive war, which focused on threats in the Middle East arena. Later, the 2006 document reflected the centrality of the “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT) of The Bush administration’s view.

Almost a year and a half after taking office, President Obama published (May 26, 2010) his NSS document, which bears his personal stamp and embodies a sharp change of direction compared to his predecessor: its primary focus was on building dialogue with China, Russia, and India; promoting global goals such as preventing nuclear proliferation and combating climate change; While “radical Islam” disappeared from it, and its place was replaced by the pursuit of dialogue with the Islamic world.

In the 2015 document during Obama’s second term, the impact of the crisis with Russia after the annexation of Crimea was clear, and the importance of the agreed international “rules of the game” was once again emphasized, such as preparing for an agreement with Iran in the nuclear field.

The Trump administration could have waited, but it chose to release the NSS document already in December 2017, before the end of his first year in office, highlighting the turning point in US policy, emphasizing the national interest and the threat from China and Russia; removing the reference to global warming, and giving the defense of the homeland (against terrorism and uncontrolled immigration) a high priority; And in the Middle East, it has focused attention on the threat posed by the “Iranian dictatorship,” a threat that those bent on getting a flawed nuclear deal have neglected.

Just about six weeks after he was sworn into office, the Biden administration published an “interim directive,” which was meant to inform various government agencies, Congress, the American public, and the world just how dramatic the change in fundamental style had been compared to the Trump administration. The document showed a desire to “rebuild the economy.” American leadership, and the structure of the formation of the international system since 1945: American leadership and close partnership based on common values with traditional allies, showing respect for international institutions and working with diplomacy in addition to relying on military force, these are the main messages in the current document that prevails – unlike its predecessor – The character of the war in Ukraine and its consequences for the world order, and the growing rivalry with China.

The spirit of the document and its most important affirmations

What sets the document apart from its predecessor is the repeated assertion that the United States and the world have reached what it defines as an inflection point: -the post-Cold War era is over – and the next decade will determine how the international system will be shaped for many years to come. Afghanistan and Iraq – “Bush’s global war on terror” – as a strategic mistake and as a deliberate attempt to change the regimes of other countries by force, but now the United States has got rid of them and moved to deal with the right priorities, according to Biden’s concept in order to preserve a world that is “free, open, prosperous and safe”, which is A rhetorical expression that is repeated several times in the document, and it is necessary to focus now and urgently on three tasks:

  • Confrontation with competitors and enemies who do not share the viewpoint and desire of the United States and the desire of its allies to maintain and overcome a world order based on norms and rules.
  • A common position, if possible even with adversaries, in the face of the existential threat inherent in the climate crisis, and in the face of other transnational dangers such as epidemics and famines.
  • From a long-term perspective, the reconfiguration of the rules of behavior – both internally and in the international arena – in matters in which the latest technologies have led to the “dismantling” of the old order: digital trade, the Internet, the use of space and others.

The events of the war in Ukraine, since the start of the Ukrainian counterattack, have deepened the confidence of the President and his administration that American leadership in the world arena is important and necessary for the future of the American people and the world.

According to the document, the United States can lead and win, through a “closer” partnership with allies, as in the struggle against adversaries – authoritarian regimes in China and Russia (Iran is also on the list, although it is in a marginal position) – and in facing challenges. beyond national capacity such as the climate crisis and pandemics, “there is no limit to what the United States can achieve” if it acts with determination and unity.

Spirit of optimism aside, the document makes tentative assertions regarding the status quo, challenge and response, some of which challenge the previous administration (which damaged the system of US alliances) but some of which continue the basic lines of the Trump era, with an emphasis on seeing China as a threat.

China as a major threat

The war in Ukraine left its mark on the document’s style and on the administration’s assertive stance, and it is accompanied by the unequivocal statement that Russian aggression – which must be repelled and defeated – threatens Europe, but cannot rival the United States in shaping the world order. China is the only authoritarian power. It is anti-democratic and its clear ambition is to change the existing world order. It has the necessary force – military, political, economic and technological – to achieve this goal if the United States does not work to stop it.

The United States says that it does not want to return to the patterns of the Cold War, especially since there are areas of cooperation at the international level, such as the climate crisis, and China can be an important partner in promoting the agreed goals (this formulation shows the imprint of John Kerry, who coordinates the fight against global warming on behalf on management).

China will remain a major trading partner, however, as its build-up of military power, its threats to Taiwan, its use of its economic power as an instrument of enforcement and pressure, its desire to control the South China Sea and thus the entire Indo-Pacific basin, and ultimately to establish itself as the world’s dominant power – dictates The United States should do the following:

  • The United States rebuilds its military power when China is the real threat (or, in the language of the document, the United States must accumulate its forces when it sets the pace – and the speed -).
  • Networking with the five official allies (Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia and Thailand) with regional power frameworks and structures, such as the Indo-Pacific Economic Forum (IPEF); the Quad: the United States, Japan, Australia, and India; The AUKUS Alliance – USA, UK and Australia, as well as the I2U2 Alliance – India, Israel, USA and UAE are also mentioned in this context, and the US is also interested in deepening the involvement of other European countries and NATO in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Working systematically, within the broad concept of US industrial strategy, to deny China access to technologies that it steals from the West and uses for military purposes or to enhance its market supremacy, this stance has already translated into crackdowns on US companies and citizens who contribute to China’s high-tech industries.
  • Placing a similar demand before US partners in the world, and deepening their awareness of Chinese behavior in a variety of areas, though Israel is not mentioned in this context, the Biden administration (like its predecessors) is troubled by aspects of technology trade with China and expects it to study “ Israel, like others in the West, carefully considers any export of dual-use and advanced technologies.

“Integrative Deterrence”, Building and Using Military Power

In this context, the document presented – mainly against China, and against Russia and Iran in general – a new concept from the American military school: “integral deterrence” and this final deterrence should not include – nuclear power (which the document refers to the need to modernize) – but It urges the use of the full toolkit, the involvement of all management agencies and allies, including conventional military force, operations in cyberspace, and the use of a broad spectrum of intelligence, economic, and diplomatic means, the use of which together must exact a heavy toll on any potential aggressor.

In the document, the US administration pledged that the use of military force would be the last resort, after exhausting other avenues of action, and that this option should have the informed support of the American people. While the wording does not refer specifically to Congress, since the executive arm of the United States does not recognize the legitimacy of the War Powers Act of 1975, and it will be administered in a manner consistent with international law and the values of the United States of America, these reservations are sufficient to raise question marks about the willingness to attack Iran. When needed, – and these words have a tangible impact on the Iranian issue -.

Building integrative capacity according to the method of the Biden administration requires, first, restoring the economic, industrial, and technological (and social) strength and immunity of the United States and restoring control over supply chains and energy components such as chips and others.

Global challenges and the democratic dimension

According to the US administration’s point of view, the second main focus of the effort is: confronting global transnational challenges, foremost of which is the climate crisis and the risk of epidemics spreading again, as part of the lessons learned from the Corona virus, and in this context we see that the data of the document clearly differ from the administration’s vision Trump, which has been complacent on both issues.


The document defines global warming as an existential threat

The document defines global warming as an existential threat, and if it is not dealt with in the next decade, it may cause irreparable damage, like the Corona virus that has killed millions, damaged the livelihoods of hundreds of millions and wiped out years of economic growth.

In the face of these challenges, as well as issues of food and energy shortages (which were greatly exacerbated after the war in Ukraine), profound changes must be made in the characteristics of infrastructure investment, in the consumption habits of the public and in federal support mechanisms that will encourage far-reaching reforms.

At the same time, the document outlines a ramification system, the details of which are beyond the scope of discussion here, regarding the incentives that the administration intends to provide to other countries around the world so that the greenhouse emissions targets that have been set can be achieved, as well as dealing with the increasing damages caused by climate change, and it is supposed to allow Similar assistance mechanisms also deal with health, food and energy supply issues.

From the point of view that favors, on the one hand, the expansion of the circle of democratic countries, and on the other hand categorically rejects the use of force to impose democratic models on other countries, the document outlines preferential assistance to strengthen “young” democracies, and the aim is to make it clear that democracy is feasible, and with However, the planned economic scope of these initiatives is far from clear, and in any case their realization depends on congressional budget legislation.

Other global issues intertwined in the document concern, as mentioned, the need to rewrite the rules of the game, which are outdated and rendered irrelevant or even harmful, in areas such as digital commerce, dealing with cyber threats, technology production rights, and more.

The document also refers to the threat of terrorism (including the infiltration of ISIS into Africa), but without specifically mentioning the totalitarian Islamic ideology that fuels it, nor does it mention the emergence of a domestic or homegrown terrorist threat from racist far-right circles in the USA.

As for non-proliferation, which in previous administrations has been described as a central issue, it was mentioned in the broader context of arms control, and in this part – without any mention of Iran (!).

There are two additional points mentioned in the document related to “Israeli issues.”

  1. The fight against “great” corruption (at the state level) and the “rule of thieves” are the two main causes of the disaster in international relations: as the document alluded to Putin, it also applies to the Palestinian Authority and other regimes in our region.
  2. Line up with the Canadian Declaration (2021) Against Arbitrary Detention in State Relations.

The United States is alarmed by the arrest of basketball player Grenier in Moscow, and the imprisonment of American citizens in Iran. The corresponding legislation passed by Congress has been called the “Levinson Act 2022” in memory of the American citizen who was kidnapped by the Iranians. Israel, for its part, has Interest in taking advantage of this point to promote a solution to the issue of prisoners and missing persons.

Middle East – and other regions

From what was mentioned above – the Chinese threat, the Russian challenge, to focusing on internal reforms (including immigration) – it was arranged in the chapters of the document that deal with different regions of the world as follows:

  • The Indo-Pacific region: which is known as the center of gravity of the international system for years to come, its policy aims first and foremost to contain Chinese ambitions, and as for Taiwan, the United States is committed to its ability to defend itself and strives to deter China, but at the same time it does not Calls for Taiwan independence or abandoning the “One China” policy.
  • Europe: the “founding partner” of the United States of America in building the modern world – the United States is committed to its security in accordance with Article 5 of the NATO Treaty, but it is important that other allies do their part and expand their horizons against Russia, and the goal is to create a situation in which the Russian ability to attack neighboring countries is damaged .
  • Latin America: “The Western Hemisphere” – what is happening in this region directly affects society in the United States of America, such as mass immigration, drugs, and the United States strives to help it defend against “terrorism,” sabotage (Iran mentioned) and crime, In promoting democracy, and in providing incentives against deforestation in the Amazon.

With regard to the Middle East file, the document relied on military force, but due to being mired in the Iraqi and Afghan mire, the grand visions of “military force” must be abandoned and focus on other practical steps.

  • Partnership — and willingness to defend against an external threat — with all regimes that underpin a norms-based world order, the term appears again and again as a definition of the ideal that the United States strives to live up to.

And since Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and the UAE are not mentioned by name (nor are other countries in the region, except those specifically mentioned later) they seem to be what they are meant to be—countries that are not democratic, but seem to share core American goals.

In the subchapter, which was written before the rift in relations with Riyadh arose — and it was suspected that Biden sought to persuade them to delay production cuts in order to influence the US midterm elections — the expectation that these countries would help stabilize energy markets appears, but they did not act. In this way, despite Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia.

  • The United States will not accept the threat of sea lanes or the attempt of one country to control another country, and this seems to be an indirect way to take a mediating position regarding the war in Yemen, and warn Iran against exposure to maritime trade routes (the Fifth Fleet, with Israeli participation, is already involved in the security of the Red Sea ).
  • The United States will de-escalate and, if possible, resolve existing conflicts.
  • Readiness to deepen regional integration among US partners in the political, economic and military dimensions, including the possibility of integrating air defense and naval defense systems (but each country is free to choose its position). But here, the Abraham Accords were not mentioned until later in the “Israeli context.”
  • Adhere to human rights and the values embodied in the Charter of the United Nations.

The specific reference to Iran as a hostile regime that seeks to undermine regional stability reads, “We will continue the diplomatic effort to ensure that Iran never acquires nuclear weapons” – (phrase indicating that even at the beginning of October after the talks were suspended and against the backdrop of protests in Iran And providing Russia with drones (the possibility of returning to the agreement has not been completely abandoned) but we will remain ready and ready to use other means if diplomacy fails, the administration will not tolerate attempts to attack American soldiers and current and former officials, and it has already responded with strikes in eastern Syria, in reference absent from the document 2021 To what is happening inside Iran, the document confirms that the United States will defend the right of the Iranian people who seek to obtain rights that the regime denies to them, but there is no explanation of how this support will be expressed.

With regard to “Israel,” the document expresses its aspiration to deepen and expand its relations with the countries of the region in continuation of the Abraham Accords, and with consistent wording from the Biden administration that is committed to “Israel’s security.” This was accompanied by an unambiguous statement, which was quoted from Biden’s speech during his visit to the Palestinian Authority in July. (July), regarding the desire to advance a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders with land swaps, so that the existence of “Israel” as a Jewish and democratic state is guaranteed and the Palestinians achieve their aspiration for a sustainable state, a state of security, prosperity, freedom and democracy.

The other countries in the region mentioned in its name are Syria, Yemen and Libya – as regions experiencing severe humanitarian distress that require a response and as countries of origin for “terrorism” (and migration), and it was stated that the United States would work diplomatically to harness regional actors to alleviate suffering and achieve stability, and it should be noted that in the chapter Elsewhere in the document it was insinuated that the United States aims to reduce the scope of its resource contribution to the region, though the name “Israel” is not mentioned, and it does not necessarily refer to the program of military assistance it receives under a ten-year memorandum of understanding.

  • Africa is described in the document as an increasingly important geopolitical power with a young, dynamic and more educated population than ever before. The United States will work at all levels with the African Union, countries (particularly Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya), non-governmental organizations, business entities, as well as the African diaspora [ In the United States] to enhance economic return in the spirit of the aforementioned goals, and specifically in the document mentioned regional projects in which the United States participates in building a digital foundation, food security, clean energy and improving medicine.
  • The United States will also help deal with the humanitarian and security crises in Cameroon, Congo, and Ethiopia, as well as in Mozambique, Nigeria, Somalia, and the Sahel (where deadly groups affiliated with ISIS or other Islamist groups operate). African countries, for their part, should work to eliminate the Wagner Group mercenaries ( owned by Putin’s partner Yevgeny Prigozhin).
  • The Arctic should remain private, stable and cooperative, as climate change makes parts of it more accessible than before; But it shows an aggressive Russian military presence that requires monitoring, just as China shows interest in meddling in the region, and Antarctica must remain a space for scientific research for peaceful purposes.
    In the fields of sea, air and space, freedom of use must be preserved, pollution and wild hunting must be prevented, and abuse must be prevented. As a leading power in space, the United States will work towards an updated arrangement of agreements related to the management of the use of this field.

In order to achieve this long list of goals and tasks, the US administration intends to:

  • Strengthening the role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and building a cyber department in it.
  • appointing a special envoy for new technologies; And to strengthen the science and technology department in the White House (to give the president tools in the struggle for the technological dominance of the United States).
  • And the suitability and development of the American intelligence community for the tasks of the current era.
  • and the strengthening of pandemic-warning agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (which has been the target of an onslaught of Trump-aided conspiracy theories).
  • and strengthening the Ministry of Defense’s policy department’s ability to deal with technological changes and their implications (and implicitly to play a role in preventing the leakage of sensitive materials and parts to China).
  • And the establishment of an electronic department in the Ministry of Homeland Security.
  • and fundamentally changing the way USAID operates, so that local officials direct money to its goals.
  • Increase investment in women’s empowerment and childhood education.
  • And deepening cooperation in foreign and security policy with the business sector.

The main question on the agenda relates to social networks and the sponsored content that runs through them) and with civil society organizations; Employing high-quality manpower for government systems, while adhering to the values of equality and diversity (women, gay people, and minority communities).


The importance of this for “Israel”

Most of the contents of the document, if not all of it, are known to officials of the regime in “Israel”. Rather, it was raised more than once in the media and public discourse. Nevertheless, viewing it makes it possible to form a comprehensive picture of the priorities of the American administration in the coming years, despite That its ability to achieve it in aspects of concern to the “Israeli interest” will be greatly affected by the results of the midterm elections for both houses of Congress on November 8, 2022.

On a positive note, and following trends already noted in recent years (and especially since Israel’s transition, in September 2021, to the US Central Command’s area of responsibility), the document repeatedly highlights the need to deepen cooperation between democratic (and other like-minded) countries.

This letter refers to the growing possibilities opening up to Israel, especially in the security field: both in bilateral cooperation with the United States and in the regional system (and with NATO and partners in Asia).

In addition to the distinct military realm, the administration’s overall perception of the importance of national security and the building blocks of the global order opens up broad horizons for Israel, in a variety of arenas — including Asia and Africa — where it can play a useful role, and coordinate with the United States on issues such as medicine. Renewable energies, food security, “green solutions,” the water sector, protection of digital trade, and more.

At the same time, the spirit of the document (and its explicit language, even if it does not refer directly to Israel) leaves no room for doubt: the spectrum of technological innovations in which Israel plays a role transcends the limits of its demographic and geographic weight.

There will be no escape from taking into account US positions toward China, significantly tightening control mechanisms over exports and foreign investment in Israel, and the administration’s concrete steps on the semiconductor issue amount to a dramatic wake-up call.

On the Iranian issue, the messages contained in the document – from an Israeli point of view – balance (and perhaps cancel) each other: Iran is clearly in solidarity with the anti-Russian camp (solidarity that has intensified since the publication of the document).

There is also an expression of willingness to stand by the right of the Iranian people “in their struggle and willingness to use” other means if the diplomatic move fails (a very tangible possibility at this time). On the other hand, the document leaves open the possibility of resuming negotiations and imposes difficult restrictions on the possibility of using Power.

It is the political reality that will show who will shape the other moves and not the administration documents, and Israel must prepare for the possibility that, despite the language of the document, the United States does not in fact have a contingency plan (Plan B) that can be implemented.

The main difficulty – the severity of which will naturally be affected by the image and policies of the next government in “Israel” – lies in the administration’s position on the Palestinian issue, and its relationship to the importance of international institutions and their positions.

It is true that Biden is a longtime supporter of “Israel”, and he listens to its positions and those of its friends in Washington. He even refrained (unlike the Australian government) from canceling the steps of his predecessor in the issue of moving the embassy to Jerusalem, and it seems that he backed down from his intention to reopen the US consulate in the city as a channel of communication with the Palestinians. It is also correct to say that the Trump peace initiative was also based on a “territorial exchange,” albeit in a very different scope and characteristics than those indicated by the Biden administration.

The challenge facing Israel lies in the fact that the overall strategy of the administration, as stated in the document, is based on strategic ties with allies, especially in Europe, while drawing on the principles of the United Nations Charter – a clear recipe for slipping into the problematic positions of the European Union (not necessarily for all countries). members, some of whom show a growing understanding of Israel and its constraints and motivations).

In the face of the potential for friction over this issue, it is important to work across the entire US political system—except for the extreme anti-Israel fringes—and the media and public space, coordinating with and relying on American Jewry for clarity.

Source: Alresalah

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