What’s in Russia’s World Chess Game for Israel?
Over the past few days, we have been on the brink of historic events centering on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s determined decision to bring Ukraine and other countries of the former Soviet Union back into the sphere of influence of Russia. It’s a well-calculated decision with a clear strategy behind it, accompanied by a strong will to do whatever it takes, whether economically or militarily, including the risk of direct confrontation (even if not militarily ) with the United States.
Given past precedents – Georgia, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Syria – combined with the high-quality intelligence that the United States shares publicly with the rest of the world, it would be safe to assume that the Russians will soon implement their strategic plan and bring about regime change in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev. If such a goal were achieved, Russia would challenge the status of the United States as a global hegemon.
Putin’s decision likely stems from his vision to restore Russia to glory in the days of the Soviet Union and his assessment that the United States and the West are currently at a historic low point that would allow him, in tandem with China as a rising power, to create a multivalent world order.
Although Russia risks a severe economic setback, it seems that the Russians have taken notice and are confident that they can recreate their latest successes and reap the fruit with the most extraordinary historical significance for them – regaining control of the Ukraine as part of their vision of a Greater Russia.
Meanwhile, Russia is also a dominant factor alongside the United States and the West in reaching a deal to curtail Iran’s efforts to acquire a nuclear weapon (Vienna talks).
On the strategic Moscow-Beijing axis, the Chinese seem to be taking a more cautious approach, as they always do. However, the Chinese and Russian presidents are elevating the overall rapprochement between the two countries against their common rival, the United States, while assuming that Europe is an ally with limited power.
It is safe to assume that if Russia’s plan to take over Ukraine somehow materializes, it could also have dramatic consequences for Israel and the Middle East. The Iranian threat against Israel and other Arab countries in the region will only grow.
Iran is developing impressive offensive capabilities aimed at damaging strategic civilian infrastructure in Israel and Arab countries, while entrenching itself in failed states in the region.
If a deal is struck, Iran would have carte blanche to continue building militarily with unprecedented economic capabilities at its disposal following the lifting of sanctions. Moreover, the agreement will also (significantly) delay the development of its military nuclear capability, but will not prevent it.
On the other hand, in the absence of such an agreement, Iran will continue to build its power unhindered.
Either way, Iran will benefit from the growing rivalry between the United States and the Russian-Chinese strategic axis, which sees Iran as an ally against the Americans.
However, this situation may also create opportunities for Israel. The United States may come to the conclusion that there is no alternative to the Middle East as a vital strategic asset for its national security and therefore it will slow down its efforts to withdraw from the region. .
The United States will continue to depend on oil from the region and will provide massive support to Israel and Arab countries in the region. Furthermore, Israel will continue to expand its strength and rely more on the alliance with the United States. It is also safe to assume that he will further strengthen his strategic security ties with Sunni Arab countries which are remarkably capable of maintaining stability.
From all the developments and events in the region, it seems that Arab countries see Israel as a strategic partner, especially after joining the United States Central Command – a US framework that oversees a variety of military and intelligence alliances between the countries of the Middle East. This achievement is of exceptional significance for Israel’s national security.
Quite paradoxically, the common Israeli-Russian interest in curbing Iran’s influence in Syria may remain unchanged, with Russia wishing to maintain its position as the dominant force in the country. But that requires Israel to act with caution in the face of the Ukrainian crisis.
Ultimately, the Ukraine crisis could accelerate aid to old and new threats, but it could also generate positive results for Israel. Therefore, Israel must consider both deadlines.