Strategy site to Obama: End alliance with Israel

Thursday, January 13, 2011   E-Mail this story   Free Headline Alerts

WASHINGTON A newsletter-publisher said to have ties with the Obama administration has called on Washington to end its strategic alliance with Israel.

George Friedman, publisher of Stratfor, has published a book that called on the Obama administration to reorder U.S. foreign policy. Friedman has argued that the key element of the proposal required the end of U.S. strategic ties with Israel and bolstering of cooperation with the Islamic world, particularly Iran and Pakistan.

"The United States must quietly distance itself from Israel," Friedman says in his book, titled "The Next Decade." "It must strengthen or at least put an end to weakening Pakistan."

This marked the second U.S. strategist to call for a revision of Washington's alliance with Israel. Last year, a former consultant to Obama, Anthony Cordesman, argued that the U.S. strategic alliance with Israel was harming Washington's interests in the Middle East.

Friedman's organization includes former intelligence officials and enjoys ties with the Obama administration, Middle East Newsline reported.

Acknowledging that his proposal would be regarded as controversial, Friedman said under Obama and former President George Bush, Washington has been in a confrontation with the Islamic world, which consists of one billion people, as part of the "obsessive" U.S. war against Al Qaida.

Instead, a U.S. withdrawal of support for Israel, which receives $3 billion a year in American aid, would restore balance in the Middle East, Friedman argued. He said Washington's recent policy has destabilized the region as well as bolstered Indian dominance of Pakistan.

"Owing largely to recent U.S. policy, those balances are unstable or no longer exist," Friedman said. "The Israelis are no longer constrained by their neighbors and are now trying to create a new reality on the ground."

"The Pakistanis have been badly weakened by the war in Afghanistan, and they are no longer an effective counterbalance to India. And, most important, the Iraqi state has collapsed, leaving the Iranians as the most powerful military force in the Persian Gulf area," Friedman said.

The book also called on Washington to recognize Iran as the new power in the Middle East. Friedman argued that Washington must arrange a detente with Teheran similar to that with China in the 1970s and the Soviet Union in the 1940s. He said Iran already dominates neighboring Iraq.

"And in the spirit of Roosevelt's entente with the USSR during World War II, as well as Nixon's entente with China in the 1970s, the United States will be required to make a distasteful accommodation with Iran, regardless of whether it attacks Iran's nuclear facilities," Friedman said. "These steps will demand a more subtle exercise of power than we have seen on the part of recent presidents."

Friedman said the decline in U.S. support for Israel must mark the first step in a revised American foreign policy. He said this was vital for what he termed the survival of the U.S. empire.

"The United States is a commercial republic, which means that it lives on trade," Friedman said. "Its tremendous prosperity derives from its own assets and virtues, but it cannot maintain this prosperity and be isolated from the world. Therefore, if the United States intends to retain its size, wealth, and power, the only option is to learn how to manage its disruptive influence maturely."

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