As strange as it may sound, President Donald Trump’s shocking decision to effectively abandon the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces to a Turkish incursion could have, in fact, come at a worse time for besieged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Had the American president acquiesced to Turkish President Recep Erdogan just a few weeks earlier in the throes of Israel’s campaign season, Netanyahu and his right-wing bloc might have suffered an even greater blow. With coalition negotiations in a deadlock and the reality of an indictment announcement drawing ever closer, the prime minister and his allies seem intent in pushing for yet another round of elections to win back a majority. This, despite the unlikelihood of Netanyahu waiting out his legal proceedings in the hope the attorney general drops or softens charges against him. And if preliminary polls forecasting a similar distribution of seats are bad news for the prime minister, others conducted gauging the public’s sentiments regarding who’s to blame for the political stalemate are even worse.

Compounding Netanyahu’s problems will be the shadow cast by the new reality in northeastern Syria. The long-to-medium-term costs of Trump’s decision—the emboldening of Iran, ceding of sensitive areas to the Assad regime and its allies, the dangerous precedent the U.S. administration has created for future partnerships, the risk of new ISIS-supported attacks—are disastrous in themselves, but even viewed through the entirely cold-hearted consideration of possible elections, they’re only marginally better. Adding to an already problematic situation is the ongoing diplomatic wrangling between Israel and Vladimir Putin’s government over the fate of an Israeli-American being held in Russia and as a bargaining chip in the hopes of securing the release of hacker Aleksey Burkov. The giant banners adorning Israel’s major highways used liberally in both campaigns this year, showing a smiling Netanyahu embracing Trump and Putin have now become an embarrassing liability, foretelling an already uphill campaign that could lead to even more losses for the right.

Yet Netanyahu, perhaps one of the most astute political campaigners in the world today, has long proven his ability to spin unfavorable situations in his favor, and it’s difficult to see how he’d squander this latest opportunity. Directly following Trump’s announcement, Yemina’s Naftali Bennett voiced a rebuke of sorts, and what many on the Israeli right have long believed and repeated like a mantra: that Israel must ultimately rely on its own military prowess to protect itself. It’s from this vantage that the prime minister may choose to wage a possible reelection campaign.

To complement his talking points about diplomatic wizardry, Netanyahu has routinely framed his appeal over his political opponents as one between responsible leadership and unbridled chaos. Even a cursory glance at the many, slickly-produced short clips released over the course of multiple elections reveal a repeating theme of Netanyahu-as-adult among a group of incompetents and novices. His supposedly excellent negotiation skills were simply part of his overall cachet, navigating the treacherous world of international affairs that he and he alone could successfully master. Never mind the fact it was his own narrowmindedness in currying favor with one side of the political map in the United States that has now contributed to Israel’s difficulty in appealing to members of the Democratic Party. He surely knows that Israelis are not immune to the phenomenon of closing ranks in the face of a much greater external danger and may be willing to forgive his battering of the rule of law, or at least shunt it aside for the time being.

Netanyahu has frequently instrumentalized fear in his campaigns — fear of Israeli Arabs and other non-Jews, fear of the courts and their supposedly undemocratic wielding of power, and of course, fear of the Iranian regime, a very real threat that the prime minister has exploited in order to frighten the public out of all proportion to its actual capabilities. It’s therefore easy to conclude he’ll once again fall back on this time-tested strategy. An exhausted Israeli public, he may reason, that has been demoralized from nearly a year of elections and lack of a functioning government and one that will be even further affected by a receding America and an increasingly aggressive Iran will think twice about booting out a long-serving prime minister at such an inopportune moment. Why, as the saying goes, would it make sense to switch horses midstream in the midst of such dangerous developments? Under these circumstances, Likud will contend (as it had been doing prior to the latest developments in Syria) that any claims of corruption leveled against the prime minister, problematic as they may be, pale in comparison to a greater existential threat.

And if it turns out that charges against him are reduced, it will prove harder for Kachol Lavan leader Benny Gantz to resist Netanyahu’s calls for a unity government, especially in the face of such an overt menace to the state’s wellbeing. In reality, many in Gantz’s party have banked on a legal outcome for the prime minister that will leave the Likud little choice but to demand his resignation, paving the way for a coalition between the two biggest parties. However, if the prime minister is cleared of bribery charges, many of his supporters will surely argue that the opposition cannot allow a ‘mere’ ‘breach of trust’ to obstruct the creation of a functioning government, making it more difficult for Gantz to continue dragging his feet. In this case, it could be Kachol Lavan that will then increasingly share the blame for the stalemate and face the electorate’s wrath.

A United States that appears less and less engaged in international affairs is a dangerous prospect for the future, but in the hands of someone as skillfully manipulative as Netanyahu, it could prove, ironically, an electoral asset. Of course, the prime minister’s magic may very well have worn off and such a campaign to frighten voters could easily fail, but that has never stopped him from exploiting the public’s anxiety in order to further his own ends. Even though he’s been severely weakened, his ultimate demise is still a bit of wishful thinking; at his lowest ebb, Netanyahu may yet use a seeming disaster to extricate himself from political oblivion.