paramount influence in the Trans-Caucasus and Middle East oil-gas regions and using NATO as leverage for all other matters. Throughout the 1990s, the US as well as Europe rushed to integrate economically the former Soviet republics--the new Third World to be exploited--in effect encircling Russia.
attenuated with EU and NATO membership. Naturally, what I am suggesting assumes the political will in Tel Aviv and Moscow to move toward NATO and EU membership, as well as private sector pressure.
Entrenched interests will resist, especially nationalists of various sorts, militarists and right-wing ideologues in Russia, Israel, EU and US where the political establishment, media, and think tanks are nostalgic for the Cold War. Economic integration of Russia would be very costly for the EU and likely to meet major resistance. Therefore, it would have to take a long time, while NATO integration could proceed more smoothly. The question for both Russia and Israel is whether in the 21st century it best serves their interests to be part of Europe and NATO, or to continue on the same course and see how far the US tightens the thinning rope?
The global economic power balance is changing very rapidly, and that means gradually US policy will have to change to reflect the realities of its own power and the role of other powers in the Middle East. Realizing that there are certain entrenched interests that want no change in the status quo in Israel, the question is can you count on the status quo remaining in the early Cold War mode? The conflict with the Palestinians must come to some kind of resolution if Israel is to transform itself into a more secure and prosperous society for all people and not one where only some enjoy the benefits of the current war economy.
There are very powerful European interests currently refusing to invest in Israel, directly or indirectly, to say nothing of interests linked to Islamic sources. For example, one of the world's largest fund at more than one trillion euro is Norwegian. Along with other EU funds, it refuses to invest in Israel. If I were advising the government, I would ask what is the trade off here and how can we move ahead to promote the welfare not of a handful of Israeli interests, but of the broader middle class and workers? In short, Israel's integration into the EU and NATO does have trade offs, but this means more Israeli citizens benefit in exchange for leaving the early Cold War ideology in the past. It is time for Israel to move on and embrace the future, which is not the US but Europe.
If the goal of Western capitalism is continued expansion, including geographic integration of as much of the world as possible, and if the goal is to reduce tariff barriers and maximize profits while creating more opportunities for growth and development, then the proposal to have Russia and Israel join the EU makes sense. After all, if Turkey is an associate member, why not Israel and Russia? At the same time, if the concern of the West is antagonism from Russia because it is a nuclear power, then what a better way to coopt the country with second largest military arsenal on earth? And if the endless Israel-Palestinian conflict seems like an endless possibility, is there a better way to coopt Israel other than bringing it into NATO and EU? While such a proposal as described above may actually divert precious resources from the defense sector to the civilian economy and benefit all concerned, that may be one reason, among many others that are largely political, for the difficulty of pursuing it.