A regional power such as Israel may be able to afford a reactive, short-term approach. If America does not proactively shape the security environments in which it operates, it is left to respond on progressively less favorable terms. The collapse of, say, Jordan, or the collapse of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty system would have profound, unavoidable implications for American security.
America, of course, is not abandoning the Middle East, just creating an impression of tired ambivalence. Nearly every Israeli politician, legislator and think-tank scholar seems to be debating if America has really drawn a red line on Iranian nuclear weapons or is leaving some strategic ambiguity — which means the administration is leaving ambiguity.
Such debates, conducted over a glass of wine, eventually become less theoretical, as the storm gathers strength.
Michael Gerson's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.