Jan. 30, 2017
- Israel: The Eighth Great Power of 2017 – Walter Russell Mead and Sean Keeley
The U.S. remains the most powerful country on earth, followed by China, Japan, Russia, Germany, India, Iran, and Israel – a new name on our list of the Eight Greats. A small country, Israel is a rising power with a growing impact on world affairs. Overall, the Jewish state continues to develop diplomatic, economic and military power and to insert itself into the heart of regional politics.
Large, off-shore discoveries of natural gas and oil are turning Israel into an energy exporter. Energy self-sufficiency is a boost to Israel’s economy; energy exports boost Israel’s foreign policy clout. Access to Israeli technology (like the technology behind the Iron Dome missile defense system) matters to more and more countries. Israel’s diplomatic outreach to Africa and its deepening relationship with India benefit from Israel’s ability to deliver what people in other countries want.
Another factor is the change in the Middle Eastern balance of power that has transformed Israel from a pariah state to a kingmaker. Syria, one of Israel’s most vociferous enemies and biggest security threats, has now been broken. Egypt hates Hamas, ISIS and Islamic Jihad as much as Israel does; never has Egyptian-Israeli security cooperation been as close as it is today. Even more consequentially, the rise of Iran and its aspirations to regional hegemony made Israel critical to the survival of the Sunni Arabs, including the Gulf states.
Israel begins 2017 as the keystone of a regional anti-Iran alliance, a most-favored-nation in the White House, and a country that enjoys good relations with all of the world’s major powers bar Iran. (American Interest)