Action and Reaction

Sometimes it seems that Western politicians and governments have no idea how to actually go about accomplishing their stated goals. Sometimes it’s so bad you ask yourself “are we being trolled here? Is this an elaborate joke? Are the Illuminati behind this?”

“We didn’t do it.”

Putting aside the idea that our political class is simply ignorant, self-satisfied and venial to the point of dysfunctional (it certainly couldn’t be that…), let’s take a look at a recent set of actions and their entirely predictable reactions. The Obama administration and several European nations want to… let’s call it pressure, the Israeli government into using a lighter hand in their conflict with the Islamic death cult of Hamas (although arguably they are a Nazi death cult).

To that end, there has been an announcement from the British government that if “significant hostilities” resume in Gaza it would suspend 12 arms export licenses to Israel (source, discussion). Today there has been a report that contends that the White House and State Department have stopped an arms resupply shipment  to Israel and will  be exercising “greater oversight” on future munition shipments (contrary to a WSJ report, the procedure followed by the Israelis and the Pentagon was entirely normal).

Let’s put aside all questions of antisemitism and double standards (“Paris has issued formal guarantee to Moscow to build two Mistral class helicopter carriers”, anyone?): broken down to the simplest analysis, the current political leadership of the US and some other Western nations are seeking to persuade Israel by threatening to compromise Israel’s military capacity (or as we see above, actually compromising).

All of this has not, as they say, gone unnoticed. There is a growing sense in some sectors of the Israeli government that (as a conservative American publication put it) they are “On their own: Israel cannot count on the US“. To a certain degree there is a perception that this situation will change when the presidential administration changes. Former Israeli deputy defense minister MK Danny Danon;

We must take into account that in two and a half years’ time, President Obama won’t be sitting in the White House, and we will remain here with the threats and the challenges[.]

While I would agree that Obama’s successor will almost certainly adopt a… different tact, it is equally clear that a nation under continuous armed threat from its neighbors (beyond the problems with the Palestinians, Israel has the enviable position of bordering Syria and thus a front row seat to both the Assad regime and the incubator of ISIS) cannot make strategic plans that depend on the vicissitudes of EU and US politics.

So what to do? Well…

Chen Bingde, visiting chief of the General Staff of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA), shakes hands with Israel’s Defence Minister Ehud Barak in Tel Aviv August 14, 2011. [Photo/Xinhua]
As Europe slides ever so quickly into a state of primordial Jew-hatred, Israel seems poised to revive some very ancient relationships: the relationship with the Far East. While the events of the recent Gaza conflict cause people to ponder Is the sun setting in the West and rising east in China?, this development is, at best, only an acceleration of a long standing trend of growing military ties between Israel and China (see also  China, Israel vow to improve military ties, August 15, 2011). The relationship is not so strange as it may at first blush seem (and I’m not just referring to the famous love of Jews for Chinese food): there is a surprising and curious admiration of Jews and the Jewish state in the Middle Kingdom, which is certainly a refreshing change.

That said, while the warm feelings between the traditional cultures of these two nations undoubtedly help, the matter depends more on shared political and practical needs then shared ideology. Israel needs a secure source to supply their military and customers for their products: while Israel undoubtedly has the technical capabilities to manufacture their own munitions, the issue lies in logistics. It’s far more advantageous to supply a large army (or several armies) then a small force. For it to make real financial sense for Israel to bring more and more of its suppliers in-country, they need a buyer. Enter China with its inexhaustible hunger for everything and vast military to supply, stage right.

It’s all very simple, very logical, and entirely predictable. Or at least it will be right up until Western politicians notice it and start complaining.

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