Israel and the United States enjoy a special alliance which has a strong “strategic contribution” to US security, a report by two former high ranking Washington officials says.
Robert D. Blackwill and Walter B. Slocombe, who served under Democratic and Republican administrations, have recently presented the Washington Institute for Near East Policy with a thesis asserting that US aid to Israel is not just a gesture among allied nations, but a move that serves US national interests worldwide and does not take a toll on its relations with its Arab allies.
Slocombe served as the under secretary of defense for policy in the Clinton Administration, while Blackwill served as US ambassador to India the United States national security council deputy for Iraq in the second Bush Administration.
“The United States has taken advantage of access to unique Israeli capabilities in key ‘niche’ areas of military technology… Israeli technology promotes American interests. Increasingly, US homeland security and military agencies are turning to Israeli technology to solve some of their most vexing technical problems,” the report states.
“Through joint training and exercises as well as exchanges on military doctrine, the United States has benefited in the areas of counter-terrorism cooperation, tactical intelligence, and experience in urban warfare.
“Counter-terrorism and intelligence cooperation is deep and extensive, with the United States and Israel working to advance their common interest in defeating the terrorism of Hamas, Hezbollah and al-Qaeda… sharing information, supporting preventive actions, deterring challenges, and coordinating overall strategy.”
The US, the two said, is benefiting from Israel’s knowledge on airport security: “In the vital realm of missile defense cooperation, the United States has a broad and multifaceted relationship with Israel, which is its most sophisticated and experienced partner in this field.
“Israel’s national missile defenses… will be an integral part of a larger missile defense architecture spanning Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean, and the Persian Gulf that will help protect US forces and allies throughout this vast area.”
Moreover, the report stressed, “Israel’s integrated, multi-layered command-and-control network contributes to the US military’s ability to defend against the Iranian missile threat.”
Israel and the US enjoy broad intelligence cooperation, they said, and “This intimate relationship reinforces overall US intelligence efforts by providing Washington with access to Israel’s unique set of capabilities for collection and assessments on key countries and issues in the region, since Israel is able to focus resources and attention on certain targets of central importance to the United States.
“As Israel’s strategic intelligence collection capabilities mature, this cooperation and exchange of intelligence information will increasingly serve US national interests,” the report said.
“We do not deny that there are costs to the United States, in the Arab world and elsewhere, for its support of Israel… We are, however, convinced that in a net assessment those real costs are markedly outweighed by the many ways in which Israel bolsters US national interests and the benefits that Israel provides to those interests,” the report argues.
“In particular, we believe that the United States can have strong and productive relations with Arab and other Muslim nations while sustaining its intimate collaboration with Israel, and that US support for Israel is not the primary – and probably not even a dominant – reason Islamist terrorists target the United States.
“The long-standing US commitment to Israel has not prevented development of close ties with Arab nations… nor has it made the Arab oil-exporting states any less conscious of their own economic and strategic interest in a reasonably stable flow of oil to world markets, or their eagerness to buy first-class military equipment from the United States or to enjoy.”
“The conclusion of our analysis,” Blackwill and Slocombe wrote, “is that the US-Israel relationship is a significant asset to US national interests and the potential for even greater US benefits from deeper cooperation is substantial.”