The Koch brothers now have an interest in foreign policy, specifically in the Middle East, in the form of a collaboration with Sheldon Adelson. They were motivated to form this alliance in 2012 in response to the reelection of Barack Obama and they played a large part in the 2016 election. They have probably been influential in recent decisions in the Middle East as well.
Previous to 2012 the Koch network had focused on domestic matters with an emphasis on shrinking the federal government, deregulation, and tax ‘reform’. Adelson’s interests on the other hand have been Israel, expanding defense spending, and promoting a hawkish foreign policy. However they have always shared other political and ideological aims such as weakening unions, killing estate taxes, and mobilizing veterans to vote. And they were both determined to win the White House in 2016. If the Libertarians who voted for Trump because of his anti-war rhetoric are wondering what went wrong, this alliance might be the answer.
The Kochs may not have supported Trump’s presidential campaign but his election didn’t slow them down. As of November 2017 the Koch brothers had close ties with 44 Trump officials. The officials are listed in this article along with their position in the administration and their ties to the Kochs. According to an article published in The Hill in April of this year, Democratic senators have demanded an explanation from Trump of his ties to the Kochs. The senators are concerned about a report sent to a group of Koch donors, the Seminar network, that took credit for a dozen new policies passed by the Trump administration, including the GOP tax bill and the repeal of the Obama-era Clean Power Plan.
The Koch turn to foreign policy, which coincides with Israel’s foreign policy, is bearing fruit in Israel. In 2017 the Kochs made their first investment in Israel through a newly formed high-tech fund.
Koch Disruptive Technologies (KDT), a subsidiary of the brothers’ Koch Industries, led a group of investors putting an initial $75 million into the Israeli startup Insightec. Elbit Imaging a company that is traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and holds 31% of Insightec, made the announcement on Thursday.
Haifa-based Insightec was not only the first Koch investment in Israel but the first investment of any kind for KDT, which was only formed last month.
In addition Koch Fertilizer Inc. hopes to benefit from the deposits of phosphates, a key ingredient in the production of nitrogen fertilizer. This deposit contains nearly a tenth of the world’s total deposits of phosphates. Koch Fertilizer already controls more than 70 percent of the world’s phosphate supply, but demand is outstripping supply so the company is eager for access to Anbar Province.