By Efraim Inbar, Jewish Policy Center—
Ukraine behaved somewhat recklessly toward its large and ruthless Russian neighbor, and it was left alone to deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
For Israel, this is evidence that its self-reliance doctrine must be nourished with no illusions about foreign support in times of crisis. Despite its public support for Ukraine and the sanctions imposed on Russia, the West is not ready to send its soldiers to defy aggression.
Indeed, the Ukraine predicament points out again the lack of value of international guarantees.
The 1994 Budapest Memorandum, signed by the Russian Federation, the UK, and the US, provided security assurances against threats or the use of force against the territorial integrity of Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan in exchange for giving up their nuclear weapons. The memorandum was not respected when Russia conquered Crimea in 2014. The inaction of the guarantors was repeated in 2022.
International institutions similarly failed in providing security. For example, the US called a UN Security Council meeting to discuss Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, knowing that Russia has veto power. This so-called “preventive diplomacy” in Washington ended in futile angry clashes between Russian and American envoys.
The war in Ukraine also showed Israel’s growing international stature. It is one of the few countries that maintained direct contact with all parties. Its attempts to mediate between the warring protagonists were well appreciated. This allows Israel greater leeway in maneuvering in the international arena, alleviating the pressures to identify with the West and support sanctions against Russia.
Israel’s national security imperatives dictated caution versus Russia, which is militarily involved in Syria.
Countries that believe that there are no real “bad guys” in the international system suddenly realize that having armed enemies on their borders ready to wage war is possible.
Maybe, going forward, the international community will better understand Israel’s predicament in a tough neighborhood.
Further, Israel is an energy exporter when there is greater scarcity in the international market. This adds to its global status.
The new situation also influences Israel-Turkey relations. The Turkish efforts to secure Israeli gas are more significant than before the crisis, strengthening Israel’s hand in its negotiations with Ankara.
Moreover, Turkey probably sees NATO more positively since it borders Russia, pushing Ankara toward the West. It is less likely to obstruct Israel-NATO relations.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine reminds the world that the use of force is still one item in a nations’ toolbox. Continue Reading…