Norman Bailey responds: China is favorable to Israel and Russia is indifferent

David is right to emphasize the Russian problem with the north Caucasus and the Chinese problem with the Uighurs.  These concerns
in the case of Russia, are added to holding on to the military assets on the Syrian coast and shoring up the Assad regime in the 1/6th of the
country he controls, from Damascus to the Mediterranean coastal zone.
Aside from the Uyghur problem the Chinese are happy to piggy-back on the Russians and Iranians to establish a presence in the Middle East,
including military (deal with Jordan; flotilla visit to Tartus).  All of this in light of a power vacuum created by Europe and the U.S.  Putin has a
set of policies and has chosen strategies to implement them.  All this is perfectly elementary (dear Watson) but seems to have been forgotten
in the West.  It is well-understood by the Iranians and the Chinese however, as well as the Israelis, the Saudis and the Egyptians.  Turkey is odd-man-out in all of this mostly because of its own gross mistakes.  It will be lucky to emerge intact, much less with its regional position enhanced.
As far as Israel is concerned, China is favorable to its interests, Russia is indifferent and Iran is hostile.  So there is no policy coherence on that
front.  If Iran doesn’t make hostility to Israel a condition of its cooperation with  the Russians I don’t see an immediate problem for Israel.  In the longer run, of course, increased Iranian support for Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad et. al. will indeed pose a threat to Israel, not to mention the introduction of actual Iranian troops into the former Syria.  Israeli military superiority is recognized by the Russians, the Chinese and the Iranians.  Threats will come from the Iranian proxies and Israel will respond massively to provocations.  Nothing positive can be expected from Washington until after January 2017 or at all from Europe now or in the foreseeable future.  It will be lucky to emerge from the current Islamic invasion with its culture tattered and dirtied but intact.  By no means certain.


Categories: Chatham House Rules