Today: 14-04-2024

Strategic Strain: The Israel War as a Crucial Test for U.S. Influence on Global Swing States

"Challenges for Biden: Gaza Conflict Tests U.S. Standing in Global Swing States"

In his pursuit to position the United States as a superpower that upholds the rule of law, President Joe Biden has differentiated his administration from Russia and China. Advocating for a principles-based approach, he has justified opposing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s assertiveness regarding Taiwan. However, the evolving Gaza conflict, marked by Israel's intensified ground operations, presents a significant challenge to this narrative.

While the increasing civilian casualties in the Palestinian territory may erode global support for Israel, former U.S. President Barack Obama argued, it also poses a threat to the standing of the United States, especially among influential swing states. These are nations courted by both the U.S. and China, and U.S. support for Israel could potentially weaken its position in the ongoing Cold War dynamics with China.

Biden's attempt to draw parallels between Hamas’ attacks on Israeli civilians and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, framing both as challenges to the rules-based world order, resonates in some parts of the world, particularly among rich democracies. However, it faces skepticism from many developing countries. Criticism of Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories has been voiced by countries like Saudi Arabia and Indonesia, and Queen Rania of Jordan has pointed out a perceived double standard in Western condemnation.

The recent UN General Assembly vote for a humanitarian truce in Gaza, with the U.S. opposing the resolution alongside Israel, contrasts with the situation last year when the U.S. joined majorities in condemning Russia’s actions in Ukraine. The U.S.'s historical pattern of vetoing Security Council resolutions objected to by Israel might make this seem routine. Yet, in the evolving geopolitical landscape, the ramifications of such decisions extend beyond conventional expectations.

"Navigating Global Challenges: Biden's 'Inflection Point' Amidst Shifting Alliances"

As the Gaza conflict introduces complexities into the geopolitical landscape, accusations of double standards could have far-reaching consequences for the United States. President Biden's acknowledgment of an "inflection point" in international relations underscores the delicate balance the U.S. must strike, particularly in the face of a robust China and resurgent Russia.

In the contemporary multipolar world, swing states wield more influence than their counterparts during the old Cold War era. Nations like India, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, and Brazil, once considered relatively powerless, now hold increased economic significance. The evolving geopolitical landscape demands that the United States cultivate strong relations with these nations, not only for military considerations but also for economic reasons.

The U.S., seeking to reduce dependence on China, aims to diversify sources of critical raw materials and identify new suppliers of manufactured goods. Jake Sullivan, the U.S. National Security Advisor, emphasizes the importance of the country's "latticework" of alliances across the globe as a key source of power.

However, the Israel-Hamas conflict poses challenges to these alliances. Plans to normalize relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel, a potential countermeasure to growing Chinese influence in the Middle East, are on hold. Additionally, friction with Turkey, a NATO ally, has surfaced due to differing perspectives on the conflict.

Even before the Gaza conflict, the U.S. faced difficulties gaining support from key swing states like India and South Africa in condemning Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Future efforts to woo developing countries may become even more challenging.

Recognizing these risks, the United States is exerting pressure on Israel to adhere to the "law of war" and facilitate increased humanitarian aid to Palestinian civilians in Gaza. The intricate web of global relations is a delicate dance for the U.S., as it navigates geopolitical shifts, strives to maintain alliances, and addresses the multifaceted challenges of an evolving world order.

"Navigating the Aftermath: Biden's Push for Peace Amidst Gaza Conflict"

In the aftermath of the Gaza conflict, President Biden's emphasis on a "pathway for a permanent peace between Israelis and Palestinians" underscores the United States' commitment to a two-state solution. The U.S. support for this vision, advocating for an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel, may be perceived as a move towards a principles-based foreign policy.

However, skepticism lingers, with some viewing it as too little, too late, especially given the historical U.S. arms supplies to Israel and its involvement in protracted conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Mustafa Kamal Kazi, a former Pakistani ambassador, points out that aid to Gaza, if delivered sufficiently, could earn Biden some credit in averting a humanitarian catastrophe.

Yet, the challenge remains formidable. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's opposition to a two-state solution complicates the prospects for lasting peace. Additionally, the question of governance in Gaza post-Hamas and the establishment of a viable state in the West Bank, laden with Israeli settlements, pose significant hurdles.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Egypt, Jonathan Cohen, envisions a potential pathway post-conflict, suggesting that a change in Israeli leadership could pave the way for a more centrist government open to a two-state solution. He proposes the possibility of a limited land swap, where Israel relinquishes territory to the West Bank in exchange for retaining its largest settlements.

The trajectory of the Israeli war and its aftermath holds profound implications for the region's inhabitants. Still, it also carries weight in shaping the United States' influence with swing states and its broader geopolitical struggle with China. The unfolding developments in the region may well resonate far beyond the immediate conflict zone.

In conclusion, as the Gaza conflict unfolds, President Biden's pursuit of a "pathway for a permanent peace between Israelis and Palestinians" presents a complex diplomatic challenge. The U.S. stance in support of a two-state solution aims to position it as a proponent of principles-based foreign policy, particularly in the eyes of influential swing states. However, skepticism persists, with historical considerations such as U.S. arms supplies to Israel and involvement in lengthy conflicts influencing perceptions.

The potential for significant U.S. influence in the aftermath of the conflict hinges on successful aid delivery to Gaza and progress toward a more lasting peace. Yet, formidable obstacles, including Netanyahu's opposition to a two-state solution and uncertainties regarding governance in Gaza and Israeli settlements in the West Bank, loom large.

Former Ambassador Jonathan Cohen sees a potential pathway for change, suggesting that a shift in Israeli leadership could pave the way for a more amenable government to a two-state solution. His proposal for a limited land swap adds a glimmer of optimism amid the complex geopolitical landscape.

As the Israeli war continues, its evolution will profoundly impact the region's residents, while also carrying broader implications for the United States' relations with swing states and its ongoing geopolitical struggles, particularly in the context of its competition with China. The intricate interplay of diplomatic efforts, geopolitical dynamics, and regional stability underscores the multifaceted nature of the challenges faced by the United States in this critical moment.