Michael Crowley reports on the close relations between Trump and Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer:
That cozy relationship reflects more than Dermer’s longtime admiration for Trump — it also illustrates what Dermer has predicted will be a policy of “no daylight” between the U.S. and Israel under Trump [bold mine-DL]. Gone will be Obama’s pressure on Israel to halt its settlement-building in Palestinian areas. Gone will be talk of a diplomatic thaw between Washington and Tehran. Trump has even threatened to tear up America’s commitment to the July 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran, which Netanyahu strongly opposed.
A “no daylight” approach to any other state is always a mistake for both parties. No two states can ever have perfectly aligned interests, and no state should want to align itself so closely with another at the expense of its own interests. If there is “no daylight” between two governments, that can only come about when they pretend to have no disagreements, which isn’t sustainable given the inevitable divergence of interests that always occurs, or when one of the two abandons its own positions and reflexively adopts the other’s. When a government makes a point of keeping “no daylight” between itself and another, it imposes constraints on both that bring no advantage to either one. That is no way to handle relations between a major power patron and one of its clients, or indeed between any two states.
There are times in any relationship between two states when their interests will inevitably diverge and occasionally even clash, and it makes no sense to deny or conceal those disagreements. In this case, it does the patron no favors if it has to contradict or reverse its own policies to keep the client temporarily happy, and in the long term the client will be harmed through the excessive indulgence of the patron. There should be limits in any healthy relationship, and there ought to be costs for crossing those limits. If there aren’t any costs, one state will grow resentful and increasingly dissatisfied with the arrangement and the other will become entitled and reasonably assume that it can get away with anything indefinitely. The more one-sided and imbalanced the relationship becomes, the more likely it is that it will become toxic and destructive for both parties, and it is hard to see how that serves the interests of either one. If Dermer is right that Trump will have a “no daylight” approach to the relationship with Israel (and everything Trump has said and done so far suggests that he is), that is clearly bad news for U.S. interests, and in the longer term it is likely to be bad for Israel as well.