The prestigious American Interest, in its annual ranking of the World’s eight great powers, has added Israel to the list for the first time.
“This year there’s a new name on our list of the Eight Greats: Israel,” American Interest (AI), a non-partisan quarterly, stated in its latest issue.
AI describes Israel as “a small country in a chaotic part of the world, Israel is a rising power with a growing impact on world affairs.”
“Although 2016 saw the passage of yet another condemnation of Israel at the United Nations, this time in the Security Council thanks to an American decision to abstain rather than veto, overall the Jewish state continues to develop diplomatic, economic and military power and to insert itself into the heart of regional politics.”
AI cites three factors that are empowering Israel: economic developments, the regional crisis and diplomatic ingenuity.
Israel’s Economic Power
“The economic developments behind Israel’s new stature are partly the result of luck and location, and partly the result of smart choices,” AI writes.
The large off-shore discoveries of natural gas and oil are turning Israel into an energy exporter. Energy self-sufficiency is a boost to Israel’s economy; energy exports boost Israel’s foreign policy clout.
Israel’s newfound clout also comes from the rise of industrial sectors and technologies that “good Israeli schools, smart Israeli policies and talented Israeli thinkers and entrepreneurs have built up over many years.”
In particular, Israel’s decision to support the rise of a domestic cybersecurity and infotech economy has put the Jewish state at the center of the ongoing revolution in military power based on the importance of information control and management to 21st-century states.
“Other, less glamorous Israeli industries, like the irrigation, desalinization and dry land farming tech that water-poor Israel has developed over the decades play their part. Israel’s diplomatic outreach to Africa and its deepening (and increasingly public) relationship with India benefit from Israel’s ability to deliver what people in other countries and governments want.”
Israel’s Stability in the Mideast Turmoil
The second factor influencing AI’s list is the change in the Middle Eastern balance of power that has transformed Israel from a pariah state to a kingmaker.
The region is torn apart by numerous conflicts, mostly the fallout of the Sunni-Shia conflict
“Israel has a mix of intelligence and military capabilities that can help keep the regional balance stable; privately and even not so privately many prominent Arab officials today will say that Israeli support is necessary for the survival of Arab independence,” AI states.
A Master Diplomatic Navigator
Finally, Israel has managed to “advance its global political agenda through effective and even subtle diplomacy,” according to AI.
Israel’s deepening ties with countries around the globe and its ability to navigate the ever-shifting diplomatic scene and map “has also helped Israel achieve new levels of contact and collaboration with many Arab countries.”
Hezbollah in the north, the civil war in Syria, the Palestinian terror threat within Israel and in the diplomatic arena and the unstable region in general remain clear and present dangers.
“But for now at least, Israel can afford to ignore the dismal croaking of the previous American administration. One of a small handful of American allies to be assiduously courted by the Trump campaign, Israel begins 2017 as the keystone of a regional anti-Iran alliance, a most-favored-nation in the White House, and a country that enjoys good relations with all of the world’s major powers bar Iran. Theodore Herzl would be astonished to see what his dream has grown into; David Ben-Gurion would be astounded by the progress his poor and embattled nation has made,” AI concludes.
The US ranked first, followed by Japan and China, who tied for second place, followed by Russia, Germany, India and Iran aheadof Israel.