As regimes collapse and power structures shift in Israel’s environs, Reva Bhalla ponders the country’s growing need for powerful political patrons to ensure its national security.
The state of Israel has a basic, inescapable geopolitical dilemma: its national security requirements outstrip its military capabilities, making it dependent on an outside power. Not only must that power have significant military capabilities but it also must have enough common ground with Israel to align its foreign policy toward the Arab world with that of Israel. These are rather heavy requirements for such a small nation.
Security, in the Israeli sense, is thus often characterized in terms of survival. And for Israel to survive, it needs just the right blend of geopolitical circumstance, complex diplomatic arrangements and military preparedness to respond to potential threats nearby. Over the past 33 years, a sense of complacency settled over Israel and gave rise to various theories that it could finally overcome its dependency on outside powers. But a familiar sense of unease crept back into the Israeli psyche before any of those arguments could take root. A survey of the Israeli periphery in Egypt, Syria and Jordan explains why.
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