President Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken are going to be constantly reminded of what’s at stake in Israel’s war against Hamas—and not just by the Israelis.

Today, Blinken is in Israel meeting with its political leadership at a time of decreasing Democratic support for the war effort. Next week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog in a show of support. “It would indicate something of a unified front of Israel, Ukraine, Europe and the U.S. against the Russia-Iran axis,” as Israel’s Channel 12 described it.

Israel has previously attempted to balance moderate but quiet support for Ukraine without attracting blowback from Vladimir Putin and the Russian beachhead in Syria. But the need to shore up the U.S.-led alliance means moving from the fence to the foxhole.

The Russians, meanwhile, gave a chilling display reminiscent of centuries past. Pogroms have been all-too-common throughout Jewish history, but the particular Russian signature on them has always been an ostentatious mark of official approval by the government, such as having advance notice of the pogrom and having police or security forces at the ready but making no attempt to prevent the violence. That’s exactly what appears to have happened at the Makhachkala airport in Dagestan last week.

As the New York Times reports today, for two and a half weeks before Dagestanis stormed the airport looking for Jews to kill, popular Telegram channels set into motion organizing the mob. On the day of the violence, “two Russian Telegram channels with more than 600,000 combined followers had alerted their followers to online efforts to threaten the passengers hours before the plane arrived. Security services were apparently aware as well: A video posted on Telegram and verified by The Times shows Russian security vehicles and personnel at the airport’s entrance at least half an hour before the mob arrived. While some videos show the police attempting to contain protesters, the officers appeared to have been overcome with relative ease.”

Administration officials have finally locked down a meeting between Biden and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping at this month’s APEC summit in San Francisco. To do so, the White House has worked to shift its tone toward Beijing, emphasizing cooperation and playing down any economic moves away from China.

China has been less amicable. About a week or so after the war started, Xi joined the “ceasefire” chorus—the rallying cry of governments and activists that want Israel to be forced to stand down in the face of an annihilationist enemy—and met with the Egyptian prime minister and then Putin. China has been highly critical of Israel’s self-defense.

The message is intended less for the Palestinians than as a recruiting play in China’s ongoing attempts to piece together a global version of the Warsaw Pact against the U.S. and NATO. Like a Major League Baseball general manager flush with cash, Xi is looking to sign anyone to his team, even if it’s just to take them off the market for the West.

The battle lines, in other words, are drawn. The alliances have formed, the global stakes clarified. Xi and Putin are betting big on American weakness. It is incumbent upon Biden to prove them wrong.

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