By RON JAGER—
Recent events in the Middle East suggest that 20 years of uncertainty about Israel’s strategic value to American interests may be ending. During the past two decades when the Cold War more or less ended and America was no longer competing with the Soviet Union for strategic control of the Middle East, it seemed as if the strategic bond between America and Israel was no longer essential to American interests. With America no longer strategically concerned about the Soviet threat, many officials in the Department of State and the Department of Defense began to see Israel as an obstacle to building relations with Arab leaders who had catered to the Soviets during the Cold War. Many in Washington embraced the idea that the Israeli-Palestinian Arab conflict fostered an anti-American resentment across the Middle East and viewed Israel as a chief obstacle to advancing regional harmony and acceptance of America as a true friend of the Arab world. With Russia re-entering the region by supporting Syria, it seems that the Cold War has come back and America’s battles are Israel’s battles. The strategic drift between Washington and Jerusalem, aided and abetted by the Obama administration during the first few years of the Obama incumbency have ended with Israel being perceived as America’s primary strategic partner that can counter the Soviet attempts to oppose American interests in the Middle East.
Israel has a long history of protecting American interests in the Middle East and thwarting Soviet incursions into this region. During the summer of 1982, during the height of the first Lebanon War, U.S. and Soviet made jets dueled in the skies over Lebanon in one of the largest aerial dogfights in modern military history. The pilots of course were Israelis flying Made-in-USA fighter jets and Syrians in Russian made MiGs. In a classic Cold War proxy battle, U.S.-backed Israel humiliated Soviet-backed Syria, downing no less than 86 MiGs without a single loss to Israel in one day. It was the finest example of Israel’s strategic value to the United States. In return for the planes, Israel served as a shield for American interests and a model for the superiority of American-made weaponry. Additional Israeli attacks in 2007 and this past year in which the Israeli Air Force Israel’ evaded sophisticated Russian-made anti-aircraft systems to bomb Syrian territory by striking and destroying a North Korean-made nuclear plant in northeast Syria and conveys of Russian made missiles that threatened not only Israel, but Turkey and Saudi Arabia, not to mention American forces in the region, only reinforced the expected upgrading of Israel’s strategic value for American interests.
Keeping all this in mind, it seems rather odd that the recent visit by Secretary of State Kerry has re-ignited obsolete policies and proven worthless expectations that preceded this new/old Cold War era that has returned to the Middle East. Here in Israel, as if they have been given the green light, politicians and political parties that are responsible for Israel’s greatest colossal strategic blunder, the Oslo agreements, in cahoots with the major newspapers and affiliate news outlets have become recently more brazen in their calls for re-entering political negotiations with Israel’s enemies despite the fact that the whole Middle East is in chaos and that most of the Arab countries surrounding Israel are in the process of internal disintegration. Locally, Hamas in the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian Arab Authority in Judea and Samaria are currently running on empty, unable to feed their people or even provide basic services without getting international funding or even subsidies from Israel in the form of tax rebates. As usual, in response to their utter helplessness and mismanagement they have recently turned up the volume of terror attacks against Israeli so as to remain relevant in the eyes of their Palestinian constituency, and divert much of the attention from their utter failure in managing the Palestinian Arab society.
Many at the forefront of this latest attempt to resuscitate peace negotiations have yet to understand the seismic changes that have transpired since the Arab Spring. America has no ally other than Israel who has the military ability to counter the aspirations and military might of Russia and her proxy allies, Iran, Syria, and assorted mega-terror organizations operating freely throughout the Middle East. Only Israel has been able to integrate the vast and superior American technology into her Air, Sea, and Ground Forces. Only Israel has the ability to upgrade and improve many of the sophisticated American systems with Israeli made ingenuity. Only Israel can enable America to begin to withdraw her military forces from the Afghanistan and Iraq knowing full well, that only Israel can watch America’s back.
Demanding of Israel to withdraw or forfeit strategic assests that have enabled her to be secure and strong as a precondition for jump starting obsolete peace negotiations will only weaken the strategic alliance between America and Israel and make Israel seem weakened as she continues to protect American interests here in the Middle East.
The writer, a 25-year veteran of the I.D.F., served as a field mental health officer. Prior to retiring in 2005, served as the Commander of the Central Psychiatric Military Clinic for Reserve Soldiers at Tel-Hashomer. Since retiring from active duty, he provides consultancy services to NGO’s implementing Psycho trauma and Psycho education programs to communities in the North and South of Israel. Today Ron is a strategic advisor to the Shomron Liaison Office. To contact: email@example.com