Thursday, June 3, 2010

Anthony Cordesman on How Israeli Actions Strain US Ties

Via J. A. Farrell's blog at US News and World Report, some comments from highly respected, and conservative, security expert Anthony Cordesman:
    America’s ties to Israel are not based primarily on U.S. strategic interests. At the best of times, an Israeli government that pursues the path to peace provides some intelligence, some minor advances in military technology, and a potential source of stabilizing military power that could help Arab states like Jordan. Even then, however, any actual Israeli military intervention in an Arab state could prove as destabilizing as beneficial. The fact is that the real motives behind America’s commitment to Israel are moral and ethical. They are a reaction to the horrors of the Holocaust, to the entire history of Western anti-Semitism, and to the United States’ failure to help German and European Jews during the period before it entered World War II. They are a product of the fact that Israel is a democracy that shares virtually all of the same values as the United States.


"the depth of America’s moral commitment does not justify or excuse actions by an Israeli government that unnecessarily makes Israel a strategic liability . . . ."

It does not mean that the United States should be passive when Israel makes a series of major strategic blunders--such as persisting in the strategic bombing of Lebanon during the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict, escalating its attack on Gaza long after it had achieved its key objectives, embarrassing the U.S. president by announcing the expansion of Israeli building programs in east Jerusalem at a critical moment in U.S. efforts to put Israeli-Palestinian peace talks back on track, or sending commandos to seize a Turkish ship in a horribly mismanaged effort to halt the 'peace flotilla' going to Gaza.
"It is time Israel realized that it has obligations to the United States, as well as the United States to Israel," Cordesman argues. Israel needs to recognize "that it is a tertiary U.S. strategic interest in a complex and demanding world. ... The United States does not need unnecessary problems in one of the most troubled parts of the world, particularly when Israeli actions take a form that does not serve Israel’s own strategic interests."

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