Shalem College
August 17, 2016

Shalem President Martin Kramer Defends the Status Quo in Foreign Affairs

Shalem President Martin Kramer Defends the Status Quo in Foreign Affairs
Shalem President and Chair of the Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Department Martin Kramer.

Arguing in the July/August issue of Foreign Affairs that while Israel indeed “faces all manner of potential threats and challenges…it has never been more thoroughly prepared to meet them,” Shalem president and renowned Middle East historian Martin Kramer challenges the conventional wisdom that the status quo is unsustainable in a bold piece for the premier international-affairs journal.

In “Israel and the Post-American Middle East,” Kramer insists that “Israel’s survival has always depended on its willingness to sustain the status quo that it has created.” Furthermore, he writes, America’s retreat from the region has, far from paralyzing the Jewish state, only encouraged it to build its independent capabilities. “In the Middle East of the next 50 years….There will be no hegemony-seeking outside powers…large swathes of the Middle East will be left to their fate,” predicts Kramer. In this new reality, Israel, once the fulcrum of regional conflict, “will loom like a pillar of regional stability—not only for its own people but also for its neighbors, threatened by a rising tide of political fragmentation, economic contraction, radical Islam, and sectarian hatred.”

Kramer’s provocative conclusion—that “the Jewish state will outlast the United States in the Middle East”—is delivered as not merely a declaration, but more important, as a warning to politicians, pundits, and foreign-affairs experts who are fueling a dangerous dismissal of Israel in the region. “Only if Israel’s adversaries conclude that Israel can sustain the status quo indefinitely,” he writes, “is there any hope that they will reconcile themselves to Israel’s existence as a Jewish state.”

Kramer, a regular contributor on Middle Eastern affairs to Commentary and Mosaic magazines, as well as to other popular media outlets, is the author of the forthcoming book The War on Error: Israel, Islam, and the Middle East.