Ancient Israel and Judah’s extended encounters with the Assyrian empire thus point out another lesson that may have a future: While we in our day tend to think of national sovereignty as an all-or-nothing proposition, reality offers up many shades of autonomy in between. For small states in dangerous neighborhoods, degrees of deference and vassalage were more common historically than either total independence or complete submission to foreign rule. It may happen again.

Dov S. Zakheim, “The Geopolitics of Scripture,” The American Interest (July/August 2012), 14.