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Video #36: US security guarantees and Constitutional limits

Video#36:http://bit.ly/2mpQc6g; Entire mini-seminar: http://bit.ly/1ze66dS

1. US-Israel defense cooperation should be driven by the enhancement of the mutually-beneficial, win-win, two-way-street ties, not by the re-introduction of one-way-street relations, which would burden the US and increasing the dependency of Israel upon the US. The proposal to extend, to Israel, US security guarantees – including a defense pact and a peacekeeping force – in exchange for Israel’s retreat from the historically and militarily critical, dominant mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria, ignores the inherently ineffective track record of such (open-ended) US guarantees, the provisions of the US Constitution, which enables US presidents to avoid full implementation of the guarantees, and the US public opposition – especially since the military involvement in Vietnam and then Iraq and Afghanistan – to the stationing of US troops abroad.

2. According to a November 15, 2001 Department of Justice memo to the White House National Security Council, irrespective of international law and consistent with the US Constitution, the President has the constitutional, discretionary authority to terminate, or suspend, unilaterally, fully or partly, the 1972 USA-USSR ABM Treaty – the  limitation of anti-ballistic missile systems – without seeking coordination with Congress, and certainly not with the USSR, whenever the President determines that it is in the national interest to do so.

3. In 1979, President Carter unilaterally terminated/abrogated the Mutual Defense Treaty with Taiwan, upon the establishment of diplomatic relations with China. Such a presidential prerogative was also asserted by Presidents Madison, McKinley, Wilson, Coolidge, Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and recently by Carter and Reagan.  Thus, in 1986, Reagan suspended the ANZUS (Australia, New Zealand, US) Pact security obligations to New Zealand, and in 1985, he terminated the Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation with Nicaragua.

4. The London Economist wrote on March 9, 2015: “Article 5 [of the NATO Treaty] stipulates that the response [to aggression against a member state] may include armed force, but it does not mandate it. All that NATO actually promises is to take ‘such action as it deems necessary’ to restore and maintain security. That could be anything from nuclear war to a stiff diplomatic protest…. The Baltics argue that an attack on them would mean an all-out East-West confrontation…. But Article 5 does not specify such a response…. Many eastern NATO members worry, since it is hard to imagine a US president risking nuclear war to defend a tiny country half a world away…. What might count locally as an intolerable assault on the Baltic States’ sovereignty may not be seen in NATO headquarters as an ‘armed attack’…. All the strength of the world’s mightiest military alliance will not amount to much if its members cannot agree when an aggressor has actually stepped over the line….” 

According to Hebrew University Prof. of international relations, Michla Pomerance: “A treaty can never entail more than a contingent and tentative promise to use force in the future; execution of the promise requires further specific authorization by Congress.  Otherwise, the treaty-makers – the President and 2/3 of the Senate – would be unconstitutionally usurping the war-making powers of Congress (the 1973 War Powers Act, which passed over a presidential veto)…. Past American defense commitments… are generally characterized by vagueness, non-specificity and the explicit denial of any automatic obligation to use force… to keep the US options open and its absolute discretion intact in deciding whether, and how, to redeem its promise….

6. In 1967, President Johnson invoked constitutional and congressional non-compliance with the 1957 Eisenhower’s-Dulles’ assurances to Israel, in response to Egyptian violations of the ceasefire and demilitarization accords.  Johnson said: “I’m a tall Texan, but without Congress, I’m a short president.”

7.  “Any commitment must be interpreted and applied by the President. And, the line between interpretation and breach, evasion and non-execution may be thin indeed.  What constitutes ‘interpretation’ for the promisor may well be seen as ‘breach’ by the promisee. Evasion by means of interpretation would not be a difficult task.  Recent legislative restrictions on presidential war-making could readily be cited as additional justification for non-execution or evasion…. The violation of international law by the US president is not proscribed by the Constitution…. A president’s decision to execute – or not to execute – an international commitment depends on his own – not the promisee’s – assessment of the domestic and international political and military environment. Every US international commitment allows for future non-implementation, consistent with US interests and the US Constitution.”
8. Against the backdrop of the US Constitution and past US security guarantees and defense pacts, it is clear that US security guarantees, with or without troops on Israel’s borders – in exchange for Israel’s withdrawal from the dominant mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria – would create a short-term false sense of peace and security, while dramatically eroding Israel’s posture of deterrence in the Middle East, transforming Israel’s image in the US from a role-model of strategic ally to a feeble dependent, undermining US-Israel relations, injuring US reliability and power-projection, and therefore fueling Middle East turbulence, damaging US interests and causing another setback to the cause of peace. 

9. The next video will highlight the systematic blunders of the Department of State, Foggy Bottom.



The post-1967 turning point of US-Israel cooperation

Israeli benefits to the US taxpayer exceed US foreign aid to Israel

Iran - A Clear And Present Danger To The USA

Exposing the myth of the Arab demographic time bomb

President Biden’s pressure and Israel’s Judiciary Reform

Israel’s proposed Judiciary Reform ranks very low on President Biden’s order of priorities, far below scores of pressing domestic, foreign and national security threats and challenges.

Therefore, he has not studied the various articles of the reform, but leverages the explosive Israeli domestic controversy as a means to intensify pressure on Israel, in order to:

*Gradually, force Israel back to the 1967 ceasefire lines;
*End Jewish construction and proliferate Arab construction in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank);
*Advance the establishment of a Palestinian state on the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria, which overpower the coastal sliver of pre-1967 Israel;
*Re-divide Jerusalem;
*Prevent game-changing Israeli military actions against Palestinian terrorists and Iran’s Ayatollahs.

Israel’s Judiciary Reform and US democracy

If the President and his advisors had studied the proposed reform, they would have noticed the Israeli attempt to adopt key features of the US democratic system, which would end the current situation of Israel’s Judiciary as Israel’s supreme branch of government. The reform aims to provide Israel’s Legislature and Executive branches with the effective authority (currently infringed by the Judiciary) to exercise the responsibility accorded to them by the constituency.

For example:

*Israeli Supreme Court Justices should not be appointed – as they are today – by a committee, which is controlled by Justices (who possess a veto power) and lawyers, but rather by a committee, dominated by legislators;

*The Attorney General and the Legal Advisors of Cabinet Departments should be appointed (and fired) by – and subordinated to – the Executive, not the Judiciary. Their role should be to advise, and not to approve or veto policy matters, as it is today. Their advice should not be binding, as it is today.

*Supreme Court Justices should not be empowered to overturn Basic Laws (Israel’s mini-Constitution).

*Supreme Court Justices should have a limited power to nullify and overturn legislation.

*Supreme Court Justices should decide cases according to the Basic Laws and existing legislation, and not resort to the reasonableness of the legislation (which is utterly subjective), as is the case today.

*The Supreme Court should not be able to overturn legislation by three – out of fifteen – Justices, as is the case today.

*The Supreme Court should be supreme to lower level courts, not to the Legislature and Executive, as it is today.

President Biden’s pressuring Israel

*President Biden’s pressuring Israel reflects the return of the US State Department to the center-stage of policy-making. The State Department opposed Israel’s establishment in 1948, has been a systematic critic of Israel since then, and has been consistently wrong on crucial Middle East issues.

*This pressure on Israel represents the multilateral and cosmopolitan worldview of the State Department establishment, in general, and Secretary Blinken and National Security Advisor Sullivan, in particular. This worldview espouses a common ideological and strategic denominator with the UN, International Organizations and Europe, rather than the unilateral US action of foreign policy and US national security. It examines the Middle East through Western lenses, assuming that dramatic financial and diplomatic gestures would convince Iran’s Ayatollahs and Palestinian terrorists to abandon deeply-rooted, fanatic ideologies in favor of peaceful-coexistence, enhanced standard of living and good-faith negotiation.  Middle East reality has proven such assumptions to be wrong.

*President Biden’s pressure mirrors the routine of presidential pressure on Israel since 1948 (except 2017-2020), which has always resulted in short-term tension/friction and occasional punishment, such as a suspension of delivery of military systems and not vetoing UN condemnations of Israel.

*However, since 1948, simultaneously with presidential pressure on Israel, there has been a dramatic enhancement of mutually-beneficial defense and commercial cooperation, as determined by vital US interests, recognizing Israel’s unique technological and military capabilities and growing role as a leading force and dollar multiplier for the US. Israel’s unique contribution to the US defense and aerospace industries, high tech sector, armed forces and intelligence has transcended US foreign aid to Israel, and has eclipsed US-Israel friction over less critical issues (e.g., the Palestinian issue).

*The current bilateral friction is very moderate compared to prior frictions, such as the Obama-Netanyahu tension over the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran; the US’ brutal opposition to Israel’s bombing of Iraq’s and Syria’s nuclear reactors; the US’ ferocious resentment of Israel’s application of its law to the Golan Heights; the US’ determined opposition to the reunification of Jerusalem, and the renewal of Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria, the Golan Heights and Greater Jerusalem; and the US’ strong-handed pressure for Israel to withdraw to the suicidal 1947 Partition lines; etc.

*In hindsight, the US pressure on Israel was based on erroneous assumptions, which could have undermined vital US interests, if not for Israel’s defiance of pressure.  For example, Israel’s refraining from bombing Iraq’s and Syria’s nuclear reactors in 1981 and 2007 would have confronted the US and the world at-large with a potential nuclear confrontation in 1991 and a potential Syrian nuclearized civil war since 2011.

*Rogue Middle East regimes consider US pressure on Israel as an erosion of Israel’s posture of deterrence, and therefore an inducement to the intensified threat of terrorism and war, which gravely destabilize the region and undermine US interests (while advancing the interests of China, Russia and Iran’s Ayatollahs), threatening the survival of pro-US vulnerable oil-producing Arab regimes.

*Most Israeli Prime Ministers – especially from Ben Gurion through Shamir – defied presidential pressure, which yielded short-term friction and erosion in popularity, but accorded Israel long-term enhanced strategic respect. On a rainy day, the US prefers allies, which stand up to pressure, and are driven by clear principles and national security requirements.

*Succumbing to – and accommodating – US presidential pressure ignores precedents, overlooks Israel’s base of support in the co-equal, co-determining US Legislature, undermines Israel’s posture of deterrence, whets the appetite of anti-US and anti-Israel rogue regimes, and adds fuel to the Middle East fire at the expense of Israel’s and US’ national security and economic interests.

Support Appreciated





The post-1967 turning point of US-Israel cooperation

Israeli benefits to the US taxpayer exceed US foreign aid to Israel

Iran - A Clear And Present Danger To The USA

Exposing the myth of the Arab demographic time bomb