The growing sophistication of domestic oil and natural gas production has enhanced the US national security. It has transformed the leader of the free world from a major importer of crude oil to the world’s top producer of both crude oil (surpassing Saudi Arabia) and natural gas (ahead of Russia), expected to be the globe’s largest exporter in five years.
The dramatic reduction of US dependency on the importation of oil takes place at a time when the supply of oil from the Persian Gulf is increasingly precarious. It is threatened by Iran’s Ayatollahs, as well as by additional rogue elements, which agitate the inherently violent, intolerant, fragmented, unpredictable, shifty, non-democratic and unstable Middle East, which is strategically located between Europe, the Mediterranean, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.
The Middle East – and especially Iran’s Ayatollahs – has become a most proliferating epicenter of global Islamic terrorism, drug trafficking and the development of ballistic and nuclear capabilities, producing lethal ripple effects throughout the globe. For instance, the expanding presence of the Ayatollahs and Hezbollah terrorists – who are controlled by the Ayatollahs – in the South American platforms of anti-US Islamic terrorism and drug trafficking: the trilateral border of Argentina-Brazil-Paraguay and the trilateral border of Chile-Peru-Bolivia. The aim of the Ayatollahs is not focused on these countries, but to employ them – along with the intensified presence in Venezuela and Mexico – as a venue to surge toward the US.
Iran’s Ayatollahs are not driven by the eagerness to improve trade balance, reduce unemployment, improve standard of living and upgrade education. They have been driven, since their 1979 toppling of the Shah, by the conviction that they are divinely ordained to dominate the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Peninsula, the Middle East, Asia, Africa and the entire globe. They indoctrinate their youth that the world is divided into the abode of Islam and the abode of the infidel, which will eventually submit itself or be vanquished through Jihad (holy war).
The Ayatollahs – as reflected by their education and media systems – consider the US to be the “Great Satan,” the mega obstacle on their way to achieve the mega goal of global domination. Hence, their focus on the development of mega capabilities (ballistic and nuclear), in order to remove the mega obstacle.
The Ayatollahs are energized by Western policy-makers, who are unaware that gestures and retreats – such as the 1978/79 US stabbing the back of the Shah and supporting the Ayatollahs – are perceived by the Ayatollahs as weakness, which intensifies their anti-Western zeal. Moreover, they consider any agreement concluded with the West – such as the 2015 nuclear accord – a Hudna or Sulh (a tenuous truce/ceasefire/armistice), which must be abrogated once the “believers” gain the necessary strength to overpower the “infidel” West.
Experience suggests that Western policy makers may not be aware that leopards don’t change spots, only tactics.
The expansion of the Ayatollahs to Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, the Horn of Africa and all the way to South and Central America has occurred while the Arab Tsunami – superficially defined as “Arab Spring” – is haunting the Middle East from northwest Africa to the Arabian Peninsula. The Arab Tsunami, represented by the raging civil wars in Libya, Syria, Iraq and Yemen and the domestic upheaval in Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain and most other pro-US Arab countries, has underlined the 1,400 year old reality of the Middle East: no intra-Arab, intra-Muslim peaceful-coexistence, let alone peaceful-coexistence between “believers” and “infidels.”
Against the background of the clear and present conventional and non-conventional threats posed by the tectonic Middle East, Europe is losing its will to flex an effective military muscle, reverting to Chamberlain’s and Daladier’s pre-WW2 policy of appeasement.
On the other hand, Israel is increasingly considered by Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman as the most effective “life insurance agent” in the region. Hence, the unprecedented security and commercial ties between Israel and these pro-US Arab countries. At the same time, Israel is the most effective, willing and reliable ally of the US, extending the strategic hand of the US in a critical geo-strategic junction, benefitting the US militarily, technologically and commercially.
For example, Israel has emerged as the most cost-effective, battle-tested laboratory of the US defense industries, employing hundreds of US military systems and sharing with the US manufacturers lessons related to operation, maintenance and repair. These lessons have yielded thousands of upgrades, saving the US many years of the very costly research and development, enhancing the competitiveness of the US products in the global market, increasing US exports and expanding the employment base of the defense industry. According to Lockheed-Martin management, the lessons shared by Israel’s air force, flying the F-16, “have yielded a mega-billion dollar bonanza to the US manufacturer.” One may assume that similar benefits have been produced by Israel flying the F-15 and larger benefits are expected by Israel flying the more sophisticated F-35.
Israel’s battle experience has been shared with the US armed forces, transferring to the US advanced Soviet/Russian military systems, captured by Israel. It has provided the US critical information about the performance of Russian military systems, which are operated by Israel’s enemies. Israel’s battle experience has contributed to the formulation of battle tactics in Ft. Leavenworth, KN. US special operation units on their way to Iraq and Afghanistan stop in Israel for 2-3 week training by Israel’s experienced experts in countering suicide bombers, car bombs and the deadly improvised explosive devices.
According to General George Keegan, former Chief of Air Force Intelligence, five CIAs would be required, in order to procure the intelligence provided by Israel. The late Senator Daniel Inouye assessed that the scope of intelligence provided to the US by Israel exceeds that which is provided by all NATO countries.
In the aftermath of the January 1991 First Gulf War, then Defense Secretary Dick Cheney stated: “Thank you Israel for destroying Iraq’s nuclear reactor in 1981, which spared the US a nuclear confrontation in 1991.”
The late General Alexander Haig, a former Supreme Commander of NATO and Secretary of State, referred to Israel as “the largest US aircraft carrier, which does not require a single US soldier on board, is deployed in a most critical region, and if there were not Israel, then the US would have to deploy a few more real aircraft carriers to the region, along with many more ground forces, which would have cost the US taxpayer some $15BN-$20BN annually, all of which is spared by Israel.”
Just like the US independent oil and natural gas producers, Israel has defied the odds, ascending to new heights. Just like the US independent oil and natural gas producers, Israel has enhanced the US national security and economy through mutually-beneficial cooperation. US-Israel relations have resembled a two-way street, whereby the US makes an annual investment in – not foreign aid to – Israel, which yield an annual rate of return of a few hundred percent.
The US-Israel cooperation proves that two guns shoot longer than one.
By Ambassador Yoram Ettinger and Fred Zeidman.