Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Follow-up: Does support for Israel put the US at risk?

After I blogged about Thaddeus Russell's article that claims that US support for Israel puts Americans at risk, The Investigative Project also takes it apart.  (It also links back to my post.)

After echoing my point that Bin Laden's fatwa against America mentioned Israel as, at best, a tertiary reason to kill Americans, TIP concludes:

Arguments like Russell's fail to address the threat posed by Islamic terror to Western countries such as the United KingdomGermanyItalySpainRussiaAustraliaCanadaBosniaIndia, and so many others that do not significantly support Israel. It also ignores the threat of terrorism faced by the Philippines by Abu Sayyaf and to Somalia by al Shabaab—a violence that is unrelated to Israel but shares a foundation of Islamist extremism.
Then there are the global aspirations for many hardcore Islamists. They want a Caliphate, a world ruled by Islamic law, and will do what it takes to create that. Take Abu Hamsa al-Masri, an imam jailed in England for inciting murder, and wanted by the U.S. for terror charges. In addition to coveting global sharia law, al-Masri's interpretation of Koranic verses allows for open season on non-Muslims, or the Kaffir.
"Killing of the Kaffir for any reason you can say it is OK, even if there is no reason for it," he has said, advocating a variety of means from poisoning to ambushes. "You must have a stand with your heart, with your tongue, with your money, with your hand, with your sword, with your Kalashnikov. Don't ask shall I do this, just do it."
Does such a blood lust die if America abandoned a long-standing ally? Not likely.
The argument can be strengthened - because not only is Israel not a real liability to the US, it is a huge asset.

Israel shares intelligence, technology and methodology in fighting certain types of battles that the IDF has more experience in. Israeli technology has already changed the game in aerial warfare, by pushing forward drone technology in the past decade to minimize the risk to real pilots and minimize the need for expensive fighter jets. It also has made great strides in active defenses against IEDs, one of the major killers of US soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Even beyond that, there is a much more compelling reason why the US should stand by Israel. If the US would abandon Israel, it would call into question US commitment to the security of every country that now relies on a strong America. In the case of so-called moderate Arab states like Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, this would make it far more likely that they would go into the Iranian orbit for their own security purposes, as Syria has.

European and other allies would get equally skittish at seeing such a turnabout in US policy. A good part of the security of the civilized world is based on the idea of a strong US, and the thought of the US throwing Israel to the wolves would make even America's strongest allies nervous about depending on an unreliable partner. This would, at the very least, spur a huge worldwide arms race as nations decide to go it alone.

This would inevitably mean a nuclear arms race as well.

It is not an exaggeration to say that the US sloughing off Israel is not only a dangerously shortsighted idea, but it could conceivably endanger the entire planet.