If realists are really as businesslike as they claim, then foreign policy ought to look something like investment. And while short-term profitability is clearly one important element in choosing which countries to support, another is stability.
Time will tell whether Netanyahu's gambit will pay off at the polls or result in a net loss of seats for his party. What is certain is that, in elevating Lieberman's status, he is effectively putting Israel's strategic interests in jeopardy while threatening the democratic fabric of society.
As in previous debates, the candidates will strive to surpass one another on two criteria. First, who can bash China the most? And, second, who loves Israel more? For many, whoever scores highest on these scales will be the "winner." What a tragedy.
If we take President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu at their word, the U.S. and Israel are aligned, despite the best efforts of whose who want to remove Obama from office so badly that they are willing to sacrifice the U.S.-Israel relationship on the altar of political expediency.
Israel's substantial contributions to U.S. interests are an underappreciated aspect of this relationship and deserve equal billing to shared values and historical responsibility as rationales for American support of Israel.
Israel is not the only country that abuses fundamental human rights. But it is the only country of this nature that receives over $3 billion a year in U.S. aid, and it is the only foreign nation that is receiving 81 American congressional delegates.