“Israel is responsible for over 600 modifications in the current generation of General Dynamics’ F-16 fighter aircraft, providing GD a multi-billion dollars bonus in research and development, improving GD’s competitive edge in the global market, expanding the US employment and export base and enhancing US national security,” told me GD’s plant manager in Ft. Worth, Texas. Similar benefits are enjoyed by hundreds of US defense contractors, who sell their products to Israel. Israel’s choice of US military products is perceived, by the global community, as a Blue Ribbon effect, which multiplies US exports. Israel constitutes the most advanced, battle-tested, cost-effective, invaluable laboratory for US military systems.
Israel is to the US defense industry what a triple-A tenant is to a shopping mall – value enhancer and tenants/clients drawer.
In fact, the CEOs of Intel, Microsoft, Motorola, IBM and many other US giants concur that Israeli technologies have played a crucial role in their global competitiveness. George Gilder, a US high tech guru maintains that “we need Israel as much as it needs us.”
Contrary to conventional wisdom, US-Israel relations are not a one-way street (US gives and Israel receives), but a two-way street, mutually-beneficial, win-win ties. Contrary to conventional oversimplification, US-Israel relations transcend the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Palestinian issue.
Israel has shared with US soldiers, on their way to Iraq and Afghanistan, its unique experience in facing car bombs, suicide bombers and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and anti-tank missiles. Israeli developed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) provide intelligence otherwise unobtainable, preempting terrorists, thus saving American lives. Brig. General Michael Vane, Deputy Chief of Staff at the US Army Training and Doctrine Command contends that the Israeli experience played a role in defeating terrorists in Iraq’s Sunni Triangle.
According to Senator Daniel Inouye, President Pro Tempore of the Senate, Chairman of the Appropriations Committee and former Chairman of the Intelligence Committee, “the scope of intelligence received, by the US, from Israel exceeds the scope of intelligence received from all NATO countries combined.”
According to Assistant Secretary of State, Andrew J. Shapiro, “Israel serves as a cornerstone of our regional security commitments. From confronting Iranian aggression, to working together to combat transnational terrorist networks, to stopping nuclear proliferation and supporting democratic change and economic development in the region – it is clear that both our strategic outlook, as well as our national interests, are strongly in sync….Israeli technology is proving critical to improving our Homeland Security and protecting our troops. One only has to look at Afghanistan and Iraq, where Israeli armor plating technology is being used on U.S. military vehicles and innovative equipment, such as the specially designed “Israeli bandage,” is being used to treat our troops….U.S. and Israeli forces also take part in numerous exercises throughout the year in order to test operational concepts, improve interoperability, and practice urban terrain and counter-terrorism operations…”
In 1970, Israel demonstrated its posture of deterrence, while the US was bogged down in Vietnam. Israel forced the rollback of the pro-Soviet Syrian invasion of pro-US Jordan, which also threatened the survival of pro-US oil-rich Persian Gulf regimes. Thus, Israel spared the US an economic and national security disaster, without requiring a single US boot.
In 1981, Israel demonstrated its counter-nuclear proliferation muscle, and its aptitude as a national security producer, by bombing Iraq’s nuclear reactor, thus sparing the US a nuclear confrontation with Iraq in1991 and 2003. In 2007, Israel demolished a Syrian-Iranian-North Korean nuclear reactor in Syria. Israel’s battle tactics were promptly shared with the US Air Force.
The late General Alexander Haig, who was NATO’s Supreme Commander and US’ Secretary of State, defined Israel as “the largest, most battle-tested and cost-effective US aircraft carrier, which does not require a single US boot, cannot be sunk and is located at a most critical area. If Israel did not exist, the US would have to deploy a few more real aircraft carriers to the eastern flank of the Mediterranean, costing $20BN annually, which has been spared by the Jewish State.”
The seismic events on the Arab Street – which have yet to climax – underline the tenuous nature of Arab regimes, policies and alliances. The stormy Arab Winter – which may be followed by a burning Arab Summer – highlights the one-bullet, one-revolution aspect of each Arab regime.
The pending US withdrawal from Iraq, the increasing volatility of the Middle East, the intensifying threats, the deepening Russian and Chinese involvement, the vulnerability of pro-US Arab regimes and the substantial US interests, shed light on Israel as the sole stable, reliable, capable, democratic and unconditional ally of the US – a regional anomaly and a global rarity.