Escalating the Situation in Israel Will Also Have Catastrophic Consequences for the USA
Just as everything seemed bright for a new anti-interventionist movement spearheaded by a disgruntled political Right came chaos in Israel. Everything suddenly became a far cry from a loud Republican opposition to funding Ukraine turned instantly into the days of 2003 when nearly all Republicans and Democrats voted to authorize invading Iraq, once the news of Hamas attacking Israeli territory and kidnapping, raping, or killing innocent civilians.
Given the importance of Israel to ideological, geostrategic goals for liberal-progressive interventionism and even theological importance to Evangelicals, once the news arrived on their desk that Hamas managed to blitzkrieg into southern Israel, the chorus grew louder. The rhetoric from many Republicans is now: “Why are we giving weapons to Ukraine rather than Israel?” No longer holding onto the principle of restraint, many “antiwar” Republicans decided to compete with the Democrats to see who could show more support for Israel.
Even though I can’t speak on theological terms, and what Hamas did and is currently doing is horrifying, the Beltway must show incredible restraint in an increasingly delicate situation. As Israel enters a state of war, vowing to destroy not just Hamas but the entirety of Gaza, logistical and military support from the US may trigger a tense war in the region. Hezbollah, a terrorist group with Iranian backing, has already engaged in the conflict. The Abraham Peace Accords are falling apart, and Saudi Arabia has condemned Israel by placing the blame for the current situation onto Israel’s policies toward Palestine.
Moreover, the deep hostility between Israel and the Arab world will only go further downhill. Tel Aviv has decided to employ measures tantamount to war crimes, particularly cutting off water and electricity supplies to two million Gazans stuck in the region, and is getting ready to annex the entirety of Gaza. Any move that helps Israel to achieve that goal will result in a major disaster for DC as the sectarian nature of the region will push the US and Israel into a quagmire seen during the Six-day and the Yom Kippur wars.
The reason is straightforward. Arab governments can’t let it go without repercussions from the public, and the greatest danger is the fact that many Arab Muslims who are already radicalized against Israel will be the ones volunteering to annihilate Israel. Moreover, the maxim of communal solidarity is deeply engrained into the thinking of Arabs, meaning whatever happens to two million Gazans could lead to the worst fear of Evangelicals and Jews. Now that a complete siege of Gaza is underway, on top of strained relations between the US and Saudi Arabia, could lead to an OPEC boycott of the West. The Strategic Reserve is drained to the bottom, and combined with the current administration’s fracking ban will be a disaster.
Listen to neither the Zionists nor the Islamists
But none of this is likely to calm the sentiment in the Beltway. Even though relations between Israel and the Arab world have never been calm, a large-scale war is something both sides don’t want. Many Gulf states have informal relations with Israel for financial reasons; namely, access to Israeli technology and trade.
While Tehran openly advocates for wiping Israel off the map, keeping a cool head is essential. Tehran funds Hamas, but Hamas is willing to strike a deal, knowing well that a fight with the IDF will result in a disaster for Gaza. As despicable as Hamas’s killing and kidnapping of innocent people are, reaching a deal with them and freeing the hostages will always be more beneficial than rapidly increasing the temperature in the region. Many Arab countries do not want two million people displaced for the political reasons mentioned above, and they fear that a takeover of Gaza may result in Israel doing something to the Al-Aqsa mosque, considered one of the holiest sites in Islam (which was raided recently).
The best way to accomplish the goal would be to remove any guarantees for Tel Aviv rather than giving it a blank check. Avoiding embroiling Israel and the region into a large-scale war and an OPEC boycott can be done with a single move. Moreover, the influence Tehran has is greatly exaggerated especially when the only thing that unites it and the broader Sunni Arab world is Palestine. Iran’s economy is in tatters and technically isolated in the region, with only Shia-dominated Syria and Lebanon being its allies and Qatar playing with all sides. But as far as Hezbollah and Tehran’s foreign policy goes, they’re beyond the scope of what neutrality can do and should be off the table for D.C.
Ultimately, the question should be why DC got the US involved in what can summed up as a tribal war. If human rights matter so much to DC, then don’t give anyone in the Middle East a blank check, whether Jewish or Muslim. It was never feasible to mediate the conflict in the region and try to conduct a massive social engineering program to establish democracy there.