On March 27th 2014 Prime Minister Netanyahu abstained from the vote at the UN General Assembly on a resolution on Crimea. It was de facto support for Russian aggression. The significance of this event may not have hit the mainstream just yet, but it may soon outpace it in its own trajectory. It’s not the first time the Israeli government has looked eastwards with fond eyes. When Putin invaded Georgia in 2008 the Israeli government set a moratorium on arms sales to the tiny republic and in return Medvedev cancelled a delivery of missiles to Iran in 2009. There’s even talk of a free trade deal between Russia and Israel now.
It would seem that there is a hand full of very exact reasons why the Russian government would seek out a relationship with the Israeli government at this time. Firstly, the Russian repression of the Chechen bid for self-determination has been severe and has engendered a Chechen resistance. Secondly, the need for international legitimation of Russia’s military campaigns in its backyard and, in general, a new pretext as the Cold War is long over. Thirdly, there is the necessity of non-Arab actors as allies in the Middle East. Israel is a top candidate for all of the above. It’s a state that has long understood what it takes to grind a people into dirt. But the Israeli government knows full well that it couldn’t do so without its patron-state.
The US has long played the role of patron-state to Israel’s aggressive expansionism. There are signs that the Netanyahu administration can see far enough to perceive a potential break with the American hegemon. Even Washington cannot support Israeli aggression indefinitely. It has seemed, for a long time, completely incomprehensible that the US would ever abandon Israel and with good reason. The US does need a strong military outpost capable of policing the region and it has built Israel into an armed force greater than any standing NATO power. It has created a strong force at hand in a region ridden with crises and oil fields. The empowered outpost has the capability to pursue its own strategic agenda. The story won’t end there.