While US President Joe Biden's recent trip to Israel undoubtedly carries symbolic weight, especially in the wake of a devastating attack, it's essential to dive deeper into its significance. The visit is celebrated in Israel as a testament to the US's unwavering support, but it also unveils some underlying truths.
The nature of Biden's visit points to an evolving US-Israel dynamic. Although it may be a temporary shift born from a crisis, it's a pivotal moment that shouldn't be overlooked. Historically, the US has never so explicitly indicated its willingness to provide military aid to Israel. The deployment of the USS Gerald R. Ford and the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, along with other military assets, is a clear demonstration of this support. But such decisions are not taken lightly. While they underscore America's commitment, they also hint at US apprehensions about Israel's capabilities and strategies.
US needs a more hands-on approach to stop the conflict
There is a sense in Washington, according to the media, that the US needs a more hands-on approach to prevent the conflict from escalating. Biden has vocalised concerns about prolonged ground operations in Gaza, suggesting that the consequences might be grave for all involved. Marine Corps Gen. (ret.) Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. echoes this sentiment in the American media, predicting a drawn-out and complicated confrontation in Gaza. Other Israeli commentators have also predicted the same.
The US's active involvement might also reflect doubts about Israel's strategic decisions and the absence of a comprehensive plan. While the US acknowledges Israel's right to retaliate, there's a noticeable lack of trust in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. His contentious decisions and demeanour have strained relations with the US.
Concerns over Israel's preparedness to defend itself
Furthermore, there's growing concern that Israel might not be adequately prepared to defend itself on multiple fronts. The unprecedented participation of the US Secretary of State in an Israeli cabinet meeting underscores this apprehension. Questions arise regarding Israel's military readiness, especially given its advanced capabilities and U.S. financial support. The sudden request for additional U.S. military aid, amidst a conflict limited to Gaza, has raised eyebrows.
For Israelis, US involvement might be comforting to some, but concerning to others. The October 7 attack was undoubtedly traumatic, but it doesn't equate to the existential threats of the Six-Day-War of 1967 or 1973 Yom Kippur War. The heightened US support might be indicative of changing perceptions about Israel's decision-making capabilities.
Biden's visit shows changing dynamics between Washington and Tel Aviv
The backdrop of global politics can't be ignored. The US is currently juggling various strategic interests, from countering Russia in Ukraine and addressing the challenge posed by China to ensuring stability in the Middle East. Any potential flare-ups in the region could jeopardise U.S. strategic interests.
In conclusion, while Biden's visit is a show of solidarity, it's also reflective of the changing dynamics and concerns between the two nations. The broader implications of this shift remain to be seen.