Brushing off criticism that his sudden withdrawal of American forces from Syria had further endangered Israel, US President Donald Trump on Wednesday insisted that the Jewish state was perfectly capable of defending itself.
“We give Israel $4.5 billion a year. And they’re doing very well defending themselves, if you take a look,” Trump said during a surprise visit to Iraq, where he intends to keep US troops deployed for the foreseeable future.
Similar remarks from previous US presidents might’ve been greater cause for concern. American leaders have often touted both Israel’s right and ability to defend itself, while in practice they harshly criticized Jerusalem almost every time it used strong military force to do just that.
By now, most Israelis are aware that Trump is different in this regard, and very unlikely to react negatively to Israeli military action against the nation’s enemies.
Even so, the removal of American forces from Syria does indeed provide hostile Iranian and Turkish forces with an opportunity to establish stronger footholds in the war-torn country. And, while Israel might be capable of countering these threats militarily without any objection from Washington, the rest of the international community won’t be so understanding.