Power Politics

There is a place for power in politics. It should be obvious, but the use of power has often been absent in the policy of nation states. The world is currently suffering from the lack of American power projection. This diffident strategy has not been beneficial to America nor to its close ally, Israel. (Both China and Russia, the only two potent rivals to the US, pursue a confident, muscular foreign policy.)

New York, Nov. 30, 2016 (same ‘ole, same ‘ole) – The UN General Assembly today adopted six non-binding, Israel-bashing resolutions supporting the Palestinians, as part of its special annual session for the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. 147 nations, including all the European member states present, voted in favor of the resolutions; six nations including the US were opposed and six nations abstained. The Jerusalem resolution reiterated the recent UNESCO one that disregards any Jewish (or Christian) attachment to Judaism’s most holy site, the Temple Mount, where the Jewish Holy Temples were once located.

With the burgeoning supply of global energy sources, the consequent declining wealth of the Gulf Arabs, and the huge increase in migratory, young Arab men (more than half of the Arab population of 420 million is below the age of 25), the Arabs are quickly losing their potency. The US no longer needs to curry favor with the Arabs. It needs to lead the West towards a better future, discounting the wishes of Arab dictators, along with Communist autocrats and Russian oligarchs.

What could the US do to greatly exert its influence in the UN and elsewhere? Perhaps there is a glimmer of hope from the incoming administration. I will present three examples: saving American jobs, reducing aid to NATO, and cabinet appointments.

When the President-elect was campaigning, he reiterated that he would act to prevent American corporations from exporting manufacturing jobs from the US. Carrier Air Conditioning, a subsidiary of UTX, just decided not to move 1,000 jobs to Mexico.
According to CNBC 11/30, “While terms of the deal are not yet clear, the sources indicated there were new incentives on offer from the state of Indiana, where [Vice-president elect] Pence is governor, that helped clear a path for the agreement… While UTX was seeking the savings that would come from moving some production to Mexico, people familiar with the situation indicated that the savings were not worth incurring the wrath of the incoming administration, including the potential threat to the significant business that UTX currently conducts with the U.S. government, largely in the form of orders for jet engines and other defense-related equipment.”

Pressure was applied, consequences were taken note of, and a decision was made that benefited the company’s employees while protecting the company’s finances.

During his campaign the President-elect reiterated that the US might no longer continue to (outrageously) subsidize the European members of NATO, who have been relying on American money, troops, and materiel to protect them. The American aid allows those countries to spend just a fraction of the percentage of their budgets for defense, compared to what the US devotes to its own defense.

Reuters, 11/30: “The European Union unveiled its biggest defense funding and research plan in more than a decade on Wednesday to reverse billions in cuts and send a message to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump that it wants to pay for its own security. Part of a broader push to revitalize defense cooperation, the European Commission proposed a 5 billion-euro ($5.3 billion) fund to let governments club together to buy new helicopters and planes to lower costs.”

Pressure was applied, consequences were taken note of, and a decision was made that benefited Europe’s security in an attempt to stave off drastic measures from the new administration.

South Carolina governor Nikki Haley has been chosen as the Trump administration’s Ambassador to the UN. Haley has accused President Barack Obama of not sufficiently supporting Israel. Following the president’s final State of the Union address in January, the governor said that if the Republicans were in power, they “would make international agreements that were celebrated in Israel and protested in Iran, not the other way around.” TimesofIsrael.com 11/23

The incoming Trump administration is biased towards realpolitik, putting nationalism above internationalism. Trump ruffled feathers in the State Department when he accepted a congratulatory call from the President of Taiwan, to which the US gives only minor recognition in deference to China. According to Ambassador Bolton, who hopes to be appointed Secretary of State, “Nobody in Beijing gets to dictate who[m] we talk to.” Most likely, this phone call signals a stronger policy vis a vis China, which is aggressively asserting its power in the international waters of the South China Sea. As for Russia, it may also have to contend with a stronger, more aggressive American super power, somewhat clipping President Putin’s wings.

If President-elect Trump projects strength and sets a strategy that promotes American power, Israel and the West will be strengthened too. They can then join the US to deter the growing tide of autocracy, jihadism, and corruption which currently engulfs the world.

About the Author
Steve Kramer grew up in Atlantic City, graduated from Johns Hopkins in 1967, adopted the hippie lifestyle until 1973, then joined the family business for 15 years. Steve moved to Israel from Margate, NJ in 1991 with his family. He has written more than 1100 articles about Israel and Jews since making Aliyah. Steve and his wife Michal live in Kfar Saba.
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