America’s Power Has Its Limits

The reason Biden is having such a hard time arranging a cease-fire in Gaza is that Hamas and Israel are fighting for their lives. It also says something about global politics.

Once again, military reality in the Middle East is presenting a major challenge to diplomacy. The Israeli prime minister does not want a permanent cease-fire because he wants to destroy Hamas. For precisely this reason, Hamas is against Joe Biden’s cease-fire and wants to keep the hostages as a bargaining chip.

International appeals have not had much effect to date, much less judicial rulings. That is because the war in Gaza is a war in which both sides are fighting for their survival: Hamas, of course, but also Israel, which feels that it is being harassed by Iran’s shadow armies.

Important for the Majority

It probably will not make an impression on Benjamin Netanyahu if Benny Gantz leaves his war cabinet, either. The domestic calm that Netanyahu wanted to achieve by including the opposition leader has evaporated. More important to his majority is continued support from his coalition partners, and they, too, oppose a permanent cease-fire.

The conflict in the Middle East has proven to be a hard nut for the West to crack on several occasions. But the fact that an American president has such difficulty influencing the development of events is a situation that calls into question an important assumption about the region and global politics in general: America’s military power is still great, but its political power is dwindling.

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