Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Israel and the U.S. - more

In my previous post I wrote about Israel's strategic value to the United States, as discussed by Robert D. Blackwill and Walter B. Slocombe. Their detailed report, “Israel: A Strategic Asset for the United States,” was just published by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. The report can be downloaded for free, or you can view a video of the authors' presentation.

Tablet Magazine
has an article by Lee Smith about the the report. Smith writes:
The paper offers chapter and verse on Israeli contributions to the U.S. national interest. They include: Israeli counter-proliferation efforts, such as the 1981 bombing of Iraq’s Osirak nuclear facility and the 2007 attack on Syria’s secret nuclear facility at al-Kibar; joint military training exercises, as well as exchanges on military doctrine; Israeli technology, like unmanned aerial systems, armored vehicle protection, defense against short-range rocket threats, and robotics; missile defense cooperation; counterterrorism and intelligence cooperation; and cyber defense. Blackwill and Slocombe conclude that the alliance is in fact so central to U.S. national interests that U.S. policymakers should find ways to further enhance cooperation with Jerusalem.

...If the alliance with Israel really is a liability to U.S. national interests, there should be concrete evidence to back it up. “We tried to identify episodes when you could plausibly argue that Arab governments exacted a price from the U.S. for its alliance with Israel.” Blackwill said. He and Slocombe found only one example: the Arab oil embargo after the 1973 war.

“Without doubt that embargo was related to the U.S. re-supply during the ’73 Arab-Israeli war,” Blackwill said. “We thought, ‘Well, there have to be other examples. We’re just not looking hard enough.’ But to our surprise, we couldn’t find another example from that instance to today.”

Lee Smith is the author a fascinating book about the Arab world, The Strong Horse: Power, Politics, and the Clash of Arab Civilizations. Smith spent time living in Eqypt studying Arabic and the Koran. He gives a very different perspective than most journalists.

(h/t Silke)

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