There has been one dominant constant in US policy in the Middle East since 1973. The United States has defined the security of Israel as a priority American national interest for more than 50 years.
The Americans have essentially used the same strategies to achieve this national interest since the 1973 war. The names and places change, but the American approach is the same.
First, an essential American strategy is ensuring Israeli military superiority. In the 1973 war, where the Israeli military suffered heavy losses in the opening days, Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon quickly delivered military supplies and new fighter aircraft.
Notably, the Nixon administration took American F-4 Phantoms out of the American Air Force and flew them to Israel, where the star of David was painted over the American flag, and Israeli pilots immediately began using the planes against Syria and Egypt. Kissinger and Nixon wanted the military balance in the October War to be in Israel’s favour.
On its part, the Biden administration's speedy dispatch to Israel of bombs, anti-missile missiles and other supplies after the Hamas attack aims to enable Israel to bomb Gaza, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq as Israel determines necessary while helping Israel protect itself from missile strikes.
A complement to this policy is that the United States consistently condemns terror attacks against Israeli civilians, whether committed by Hamas, Palestinian fedayeen or Hezbollah. By contrast, Washington has always hesitated to directly criticise Israeli military actions, which have killed thousands of civilians in Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon.
Such criticism would open debate about American military aid to Israel, and apart from left-leaning Democrats like Senator Bernie Sanders, no one in Washington's political class wants to discuss this traditional American policy.
The second constant American strategy is to bring regional states out of the camp that confronts Israel. Henry Kissinger, in late 1973, aimed to establish between Egypt and Israel an initial military agreement that eventually would lead to peace talks under American sponsorship.
The process Kissinger started and later that Sadat and President Carter finished at Camp David tied Egypt to an American military and economic patron and ensured that no coalition of Arab states could ever pose a significant military threat to Israel as had occurred in the October War.
Fifty years later, the Trump and then Biden administrations have continued the American effort to convince regional states to accept Israel. After Trump’s Abraham Accords, Biden’s team was expending big efforts to reach an agreement for the normalisation between Israel and Saudi Arabia.
These normalisation agreements aim to build a regional group of Israel and key Arab states against Iran and, at the same time, limit this Middle East group’s military relations with China and Russia.
A final constant in the American strategy that is especially important now is Washington’s ignoring of the Palestinian issue. Kissinger never regarded the Palestinian issue as vital; he preferred to work with Arab states, not groups like the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, which he considered terrorist organisations.
Even in the 1979 Camp David negotiations, Carter’s weak domestic political support convinced him not to confront Israeli Prime Minister Begin over the Palestinian issue. Carter instead worked to achieve the core American strategy of a separate peace between Egypt and Israel.
Like Kissinger, the Biden administration worked only with states in the region, and like Kissinger, Nixon, Obama and Trump, Biden does not care much about the Palestinian issue.