The unconditional U.S. support of Israel's military campaign in Gaza has meant unconditional support of Israel's mass killings of Palestinian civilians and medieval siege tactics that amount to collective punishment. It has meant the unconditional supply of American weapons to Israel in the full knowledge that they are being used to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity. And it has meant Washington's unconditional deployment of its political and diplomatic influence, at the United Nations and elsewhere, to ensure Israel can continue down this path with impunity.
To put it bluntly, the United States is an active and complicit partner in Gaza's killing fields, and judging by official statements coming out of Washington, the Biden administration is proud, even boastful of its role. "A cease-fire right now really only benefits Hamas," National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told journalists Tuesday.
Yet America's unconditional support of Israel nevertheless masks an important development that has received insufficient attention: a collapse in U.S. confidence in the Israeli political and military leadership, and with it a collapse in U.S. confidence in Israel's military and intelligence capabilities. This is far more serious than during the October War 50 years ago. In 1973, the Israeli military experienced a resource crisis that could be compensated by a massive U.S. airlift of arms. In 2023, Israel is experiencing a crisis of leadership and ability, which no amount of advanced U.S. weaponry can compensate for.
This collapse in confidence will have significant long-term consequences for the U.S.-Israel relationship. Israel will lose its status as "the largest American aircraft carrier in the world that cannot be sunk," as it was once described by Ronald Reagan's secretary of state, Alexander Haig. U.S. decision-makers, particularly but not limited to military and intelligence, will no longer take their cues from their Israeli counterparts, and will begin to treat their swaggering pretensions to omniscience and omnipotence with the scepticism that they have always deserved. The USS Israel today looks more like a leaky trawler in urgent need of repair to stay seaworthy—which is evident in the fact that not one but two U.S. aircraft carrier groups have been sent to the Eastern Mediterranean....