Gaza could end up being the U.S.’s Suez crisis

GAZA CITY, GAZA - OCTOBER 12: An explosion on a residential tower caused by Israeli raids in the northern Gaza Strip on October 12, 2023 in Gaza City, Gaza. At least 1,200 people, including at least 326 children, have been killed and more than 300,000 displaced, after Israel launched sustained retaliatory air strikes after a large-scale attack by Hamas. On October 7, the Palestinian militant group Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel from Gaza by land, sea, and air, killing 1000 people and wounding more than 2000. Israeli soldiers and civilians have also been taken hostage by Hamas and moved into Gaza. The attack prompted a declaration of war by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Photo by Ahmad Hasaballah/Getty Images)

by Arnaud Bertrand

There is actually some chance Gaza could end up being the U.S.’s Suez crisis moment, when the UK, France and Israel had to give up an invasion aimed at retaking control over the Suez canal after political pressure from the US, the Soviet Union, and the UN. It effectively highlighted and confirmed the UK and France’s declining status among great powers.

Similarly the international community could come to the conclusion that the U.S.’s unconditional backing of Israel is simply too destructive and cannot stand anymore, putting so much political pressure they’d be forced to back down.

I can see this happening. The political pressure is certainly there already from an immense majority of the world. I guess it’d take a different form compared to Suez since the U.S. isn’t on the ground invading Gaza with Israel (although they’re in the air with drones and things of that nature), but it might have a similar effect as the Suez crisis if they’re effectively pressured into bringing Israel to heel and having to adopt a solution they didn’t initiate (for instance one that China or Arab states would be driving).

I guess it depends how broad and united an international coalition can be built against what Israel is doing, whether they can propose a coherent and acceptable solution and, ultimately, how forcefully they pressure the U.S.

The U.S. could also see this coming and preempt it by proposing their own solution, and there again it depends how broad and united a coalition they can build around it.

All this to say we might be on the eve of witnessing an immense test of diplomatic influence that might be the clearest sign yet of where we stand in terms of relative power in our new multipolar world.

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