Borders and Guarantees

Somewhat related to the issue raised in last night's debate about extending the U.S. nuclear umbrella to cover Israel, it's always worth making the point that one of several reasons it would serve Israel's interests to aggressively seek a resolution of the Palestinian issue is that it would be much more feasible for the United States to extend security guarantees to Israel under those conditions. With a peace deal in place, Israel would be a friendly democracy with internationally recognized borders -- just the sort of place the U.S. would make a formal treaty with.

But as things stand, Israel has no internationally recognized borders to guarantee. Obviously, some actions like a hypothetical unprovoked Iranian nuclear first strike would obviously go far beyond the scope of border ambiguity, but nuclear-armed Israel doesn't actually need U.S. guaranteed to have a credible threat of massive retaliation. Guarantees and formal alliances would be much more useful in a much lower-intensity setting, but country without internationally recognized borders isn't a good candidate for NATO membership or other kinds of similar relationships that might be useful to Israel.

Presented by

Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

Why Principals Matter

Nadia Lopez didn't think anybody cared about her middle school. Then Humans of New York told her story to the Internet—and everything changed.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A History of Contraception

In the 16th century, men used linen condoms laced shut with ribbons.

Video

'A Music That Has No End'

In Spain, a flamenco guitarist hustles to make a modest living.

Video

What Fifty Shades Left Out

A straightforward guide to BDSM

More in Politics

Just In