In an effort to engender educated conversation, the Opinion staff will debate pressing election topics. Future debate topic idea? Email Zach Brown at email@example.com.
Positions are determined by coin-flip. Stated opinions may not necessarily reflect an individual columnist’s view, but are crafted for rhetorical exercise.
Should the United States provide military support to Israel in the event that it attacks another Middle Eastern state?
To see Wes Spears’ response to this question, click here.
Israel: Loyal American pitbull
By Garrett Vande Kamp
Former Secretary of State Alexander Haig once described Israel as “the largest American aircraft carrier in the world that cannot be sunk, does not carry even one American soldier, and is located in a critical region for American national security.”
If Israel were to go to war today, these benefits may cease unless the United States supports Israel in its military efforts. This is why the United States should continue to provide military support to Israel in the event that it comes to war with another nation in the Middle East.
If Israel were to attack another nation, probably Iran, it would be one of the most important moments in the U.S-Israeli relationship. If the U.S. refused aid, relations between the two countries would tear. Thus, at the heart of the debate is the question of whether or not U.S.-Israeli relations produce tangible benefits for America. The answer to this question is a resounding yes.
The primary reason for maintaining the U.S.-Israeli alliance is Israel’s military prowess. Michael Oren, guest lecturer at Harvard, Yale, and Georgetown, describes how Israel conducts joint exercises with the United States military in aerial combat and special operations. The United States military frequently uses Israeli military bases as pit stops, which will continue to be useful as volatility in the Middle East persists. Israel is also good at intelligence operations, with Gen. George Keegan, former head of U.S. Air Force Intelligence, calling Israel the equivalent of five CIAs. This information helps keep us safe from terror, weapons of mass destruction and cyber-attacks.
Israel also shares its military innovations. According to author Karin McQuillan, Israel is the lead developer in unmanned aerial systems for intelligence collection and combat. Israel provides revolutionary sights and gun systems. They invented short-range rocket defense and are the primary partner in U.S. large-scale missile defense systems. These innovations, and their successors, will only be provided if Israel continues to exist and has a good relationship with the United States.
Some would argue that support for Israel hurts our position in the Middle East. This claim is answered by Professors Eytan Gilboa and Efraim Inbar from Israel’s Bar-Ilan University. The simplistic view just described, they argue, ignores the deep-seated cultural antagonism that Middle-Eastern peoples have for the United States They argue that al-Qaida and other jihadist organizations have higher reasons for hating the United States. The United States gave money to Middle Eastern dictators, regularly kills civilians during counter-terror operations and has occupied Afghanistan for over a decade. Even if the United States were to distance itself from Israel, it would not solve our Middle Eastern problems.
Others would suggest that supporting Israel would alienate our other allies. But any relationship that we lose from supporting Israel will be more than made up for by keeping Israel happy and secure. David Meir-Levi, a lecturer on the Middle East peace process, states that Israel votes with the United States 94 percent of the time at the United Nations, far more than any other country. When the United States gives Israel funds, they spend it on equipment manufactured in the United States. This helps our economy.
I sincerely hope that Israel will not go to war with another nation, and there is good evidence that it will not. But, like a loyal pitbull, Israel has stood by the United States and aggressively helped defend us in battle. We cannot abandon them in their time of need.