Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Thinking outside the box

Here are two views about the U.S.-Israel relationship that caught my eye:

-- Avigdor Haselkorn argues that U.S. military deployments in the Middle East have worked to Israel's detriment, as they have failed to constrain Israel's most dangerous enemies: Iran, Syria, Hamas and Hezbollah. He also says that U.S. Central Command now worries that any Israeli 'provocation' will endanger U.S. troops in Iran and Afghanistan.

Such sentiments were attributed recently to General David Petraeus, the CentCom commander. He has since said his comments, to the effect that the unresolved status of the Palestinians was a complicating factor and that many in the Mideast perceived the U.S. as partial to Israel, were misconstrued and misquoted.

-- Daniel Pipes argues that it's actually better for Israel when relations with Washington are frosty. "Strong U.S.-Israel ties induce irreversible Israeli mistakes. Poor U.S.-Israel ties abort this process."

That said, he is clearly concerned about the poisonous atmosphere in Washington. So are 76 Senators who have written a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton "implicitly rebuking the Obama Administration for its confrontational stance toward Israel." Some 333 members of the House of Representatives already sent a similar letter.

So what do I think? I think that the ties between Israel and the United States are strong and enduring precisely because they are not/not based on ethnicity, but on common interests and values. But the United States shouldn't indulge in policies that won't work - like pursuing the mirage of a 'peace process,' or refusing to address the Iranian threat. We don't just hurt our allies, we hurt ourselves.

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