Sunday, November 14, 2010

most favored nation: part 2

In most favored nation: part 1, I highlighted the economic benefits that Israel enjoys from the United States. In this second part, I want to describe the military benefits with which Israel is showered by the U.S. Again, most of the information is taken from the book The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy by Mearsheimer and Walt. Where quotes appear, it is from this book.

Keep in mind that in return for the largess described, the United States receives essentially nothing in return except the enmity of the world.

Israel, the exceptional country:

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) handles almost all the purchasing and monitors U.S. aid for all other military aid recipients, but Israel deals directly with military contractors for virtually all of its purchases and then gets reimbursed from its aid account.

Israel is the only country where contracts for less than $500,000 are exempt from prior U.S. review

$3 billion was provided by the U.S. for Israel to develop the Lavi aircraft, the Merkava tank and the Arrow missile. This was funded through the U.S. Dept. of Defense and was "often portrayed as joint research and development efforts, but the U.S. did not need these weapons and never intended to purchase them for its own use"

Lavi was cancelled and the U.S. ate the cancellation costs. In FY2004 $136 million went for the Arrow missile, $66 million for improvements to Arrow and $70 million for additional production of the Arrow. In 2010, $400 million was spent by the U.S. for the Iron Dome missile defense system for Israel that uses the Arrow missile.

Prepositioning of U.S. weapons in Israel began in 1989. In 2006 Congress voted to increase the stockpile from $100 million to $400 million. It has been tripled since (see below) This is for the stated purpose of deploying weapons that the U.S. military can use in an emergency, but the Pentagon has never been enthusiastic about it and the weapons are only of the kind immediately useful to Israel. The U.S. can never be certain the material would be available for U.S. use. Ynet reported that a great deal of the material was used for the 2006 Lebanon War by Israel. Just this last week it was revealed that a $400 million hike will bring the value of American military equipment stockpiled in Israel to $1.2 billion by 2012.

"The U.S. has turned a blind eye to Israel's development of nuclear weapons, while pressing many other nations to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)." Though U.S. inspectors were allowed eventually to visit the Dimona nuclear site, the visits were always announced well in advance and Israel set up a phony control room (per Seymour Hersh) to fool the inspectors and keep them away from the real installation. On some visits, inspectors were not allowed to bring in instruments for measurement or to take samples. Initially set for twice a year, inspections were reduced to once a year.

As Mearsheimer and Walt state "such obfuscatory tactics are part of the standard playbook for all clandestine proliferators" but Israel's tactics worked because no U.S President was willing to withhold U.S. support of Israel was not forthcoming.

"The irony is hard to miss: The United States has pressured many other countries to join the NPT, imposed sanctions on countries that have defied U.S. wishes and acquired nuclear weapons, gone to war in 2003 to prevent Iraq from pursuing WMD, and contemplated attacking Iran and North Korea for the same reason. Yet Washington has long subsidized an ally whose clandestine WMD activities are well-known and whose nuclear arsenal has given several of its neighbors a powerful incentive to seek WMD themselves."

"The most singular feature of U.S. support for Israel is its increasingly unconditional nature" that keeps the goodies coming
  • despite Israel's refusal to sign the NPT
  • despite Israel's refusal to stop settlement building
  • despite Israel's annexation of territory (Jerusalem and the Golan Heights)
  • despite Israel selling U.S. technology to potential U.S. enemies (China)
  • despite Israel conducting intelligence operations on U.S. soil
  • despite Israel using U.S. weapons in ways that violate U.S. laws (cluster munitions used on civilians)

"When dealing with Israel, U.S. leaders can usually elict cooperation only by offering additional carrots (additional assistance) rather than employing sticks (withholding aid) ." One need only read the news to see examples of this to this very day.

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