WINEP: Washington “need not be too worried” about Putin’s trip to Israel
By Maidhc Ó Cathail
The Passionate Attachment
June 24, 2012
Reading Simon Henderson’s policy alert on President Putin’s “working visit” to Israel next week, one might get the impression that the Washington Institute for Near East Policy was created by the America lobby to influence Tel Aviv rather than the other way around:
For the United States, Putin’s trip demonstrates that there is competition for diplomatic leadership in the Middle East; in his view, Israel, the Palestinians, and Jordan have options other than Washington. Putin’s direct talks with regional leaders will be aimed at forcing them to judge which partnership they prefer on certain issues. Although Washington need not be too worried about this, it should press its partners, particularly Israel, to make sure U.S. perspectives are given due prominence during the discussions.
Considering Washington’s abysmal record on pressuring Israel to do anything, Henderson’s suggestion can be taken as pro forma. If there is something the U.S. needs to be worried about here, it’s that the Israel lobby is attempting to play both sides against each other.
UPDATE: The BBC’s diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus writes suggestively:
The current instability in the Middle East prompts a cautious stance on the part of Moscow. But it is clear that this is something of a hinge moment for Russia.
Its old partnerships are under pressure or very much in decline. New relationships beckon but these are early days yet.