Senator Daniel Inouye Was the Most Effective Architect of U.S.-Israel Strategic Cooperation Ever

December 21, 2012 5:15 pm 0 comments

The late Senator Daniel Inouye.

The late Senator Daniel Inouye, chairman of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee and the president pro tempore (the third in line for the U.S. presidency, after the vice-president and the House speaker), was the most effective architect ever of mutually beneficial U.S.-Israel strategic cooperation. He was a tenacious defender of the U.S. Constitution and the role of the legislature as a co-determining, co-equal branch of government. He was a humble American patriot and a realist who rejected wishful thinking in the interest of advancing U.S. national security.

In 1990, while most foreign policy and national security mavens were under the spell of the “peace dividends” mirage — following the dismantling of the U.S.S.R. — Inouye, then chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, alarmed Capitol Hill about the Iraqi and Iranian “sandstorms” threatening U.S. economic and national security interests.

While lowering the U.S. military profile in post-Cold War Europe, Inouye initiated a series of amendments, leveraging Israel’s unique capabilities and enhancing the win-win U.S.-Israel cooperation in the face of mutual challenges in the Middle East and beyond (counterterrorism, missile defense, military intelligence, battle tactics, industrial research and development).

Inouye initiated a significant transfer of U.S. military systems from pacified Europe to Israel, due to Israel’s geographic location, which is critical to vital U.S. economic and national security interests. This enhanced the U.S.-Israel posture of deterrence in the Middle East, reassuring pro-U.S. Arab allies such as Jordan and Saudi Arabia, and deterring anti-U.S. rogue regimes such as Libya, Syria, Iraq and Iran. Inouye was also responsible for expanding pre-positioned ammunition and medical supplies, in Israel, for American use during Middle East emergencies.

Inouye’s amendments were signed into law, in defiance of President George H. W. Bush and Secretary of State James Baker, who were on the verge of cutting off their noses to spite their faces, by holding the win-win bilateral cooperation initiatives hostage to their opposition to Israel’s settlements policy.

Bush and Baker opposed Inouye’s amendment to upgrade the facilities of the Israeli ports of Haifa and Ashdod in the crucial eastern flank of the Mediterranean, for the benefit of the Sixth Fleet. During one of the exchanges with the secretary of the Navy, Inouye said: “Under the U.S. Constitution, Congress possesses the oversight authority, and as the chairman of the Defense Subcommittee I’ve concluded that the Sixth Fleet would benefit from the upgrade.” The port of Haifa was upgraded and became the favored port for Sixth Fleet repairs, maintenance, training and recreation.

Upon learning that Baker did not implement an amendment that stipulated an expansion of U.S.-Israel counterterrorism cooperation, Inouye sent a letter threatening to “fence” part of the counterterrorism budget. Implementation was underway by the following day.

AIPAC officials were concerned about the Bush/Baker opposition to the Inouye amendments. They suggested that “the legislative pipe may not bear such a huge traffic.” Inouye quipped back, “I am the chairman and I know that the pipe can bear such traffic.”

Inouye was aware — more than most legislators and observers of Congress — that the U.S. Constitution provides Congress with the power to both directly shape foreign and national security policy and to constrain presidential actions.

In 2001, Inouye briefed Dr. Uzi Landau, then Israel’s homefront security minister, on Israel’s unique contributions to the national security of the U.S. “The scope of intelligence received by the U.S. from Israel exceeds the scope of intelligence received from all NATO countries combined,” Inouye said. He then contended that the Soviet military hardware (such as the P-12 radar and the MiG-21 and MiG-23 fighter aircraft) — captured by Israel and transferred to the U.S. — tilted the global balance of power in favor of the U.S. and amounted to a mega-billion dollar bonus to the U.S. defense industries.

Jointly with Senator Bob Kasten (R-Wis.), Inouye introduced the 1992 legislation to extend $10 billion for loan guarantees to Israel, and the 1987 legislation to allow Israel to refinance its exceptionally high-interest loans, which saved Israel some $2 billion over 20 years.

In 1993, Inouye expressed his concern about the potentially devastating consequences of the Oslo Accords. He participated in the White House ceremony because “I could not disappoint my good friend, Prime Minister Rabin.” Once again, Inouye demonstrated his ability to vanquish wishful thinking, in defiance of political and social pressure.

During our last personal meeting, at his office, Inouye asked, “Are you aware of Daniel Inouye-like legislators, who will carry the torch when I am gone?” In the words of Bruce Springsteen, “When they built you, brother Daniel, they turned dust into gold; when they built you, brother Daniel, they broke the mold.”

This article was originally published by Israel Hayom.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Theater US & Canada New Play Explores the ‘Arrogance’ of American Jews Critical of Israel, Playwright Says

    New Play Explores the ‘Arrogance’ of American Jews Critical of Israel, Playwright Says

    In his new play Mr. Goldberg Goes to Tel Aviv, playwright Oren Safdie tackles an issue that he has a major concern with: the relationship between Israelis and left-leaning Diaspora Jews with their “I know better” critical views. At the heart of the one-act play is Tony, a Jewish and gay Palestinian sympathizer who expresses strong anti-Israel sentiments when the play begins and at one point even sides with a Palestinian terrorist who holds his captive. Tony, who is also an [...]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Hassidic Parody of Taylor Swift Song Apes Long Jewish Holidays (VIDEO)

    Hassidic Parody of Taylor Swift Song Apes Long Jewish Holidays (VIDEO)

    A Jewish comedy troupe released a parody video on Wednesday of Taylor Swift’s hit song Shake It Off in which they joke about taking extensive time off from work for Jewish holidays. “And the goyim gonna stay, stay, stay, stay, stay. And the Jews are gonna pray, pray pray, pray, pray. I’m just gonna take, take, take, take, take. I’m taking off,” goes the chorus for I’m Taking Off. Menachem Weinstein, the video’s lead singer, is the creative director at [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Literature On 75th Anniversary, Looking at the Jewish Influence on Gone With the Wind

    On 75th Anniversary, Looking at the Jewish Influence on Gone With the Wind

    JNS.org – The 75th anniversary of the premiere of “Gone with the Wind” on Dec. 15 presents an opportunity to examine the Jewish influence on one of the most popular films of all time. That influence starts with the American Civil War epic’s famed producer, David O. Selznick. Adjusted for inflation, “Gone with the Wind” remains the highest-grossing movie ever made. It earned the 1939 Academy Award for Best Picture, the same honor another Selznick film, “Rebecca,” garnered in 1940. Selznick [...]

    Read more →
  • Featured Music US & Canada EXCLUSIVE: Matisyahu Provides Most Extensive Analysis Yet of His Religious, Musical Evolution (INTERVIEW)

    EXCLUSIVE: Matisyahu Provides Most Extensive Analysis Yet of His Religious, Musical Evolution (INTERVIEW)

    Matisyahu got candid in an exclusive interview with The Algemeiner on Monday about his religious and musical journey – after shedding his Chassidic skin, yarmulke, long beard and all – from the start of his career in 2005 when he became a reggae superstar with hits King Without a Crown and Jerusalem. The singer-songwriter embarks on his Festival of Light tour this month, an annual Hanukkah event that stops in Montreal, New York, and other cities before ending in San Juan, [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Personalities ‘Sheriff of Mars’ Unveils Endearing Life of Jewish Music Star Hidden in the Fields of France

    ‘Sheriff of Mars’ Unveils Endearing Life of Jewish Music Star Hidden in the Fields of France

    JNS.org – It was an era of steel strings, guitar heroes, and storytellers—high on heroin, rebellious. Outlaw country music, the hallmark of Nashville’s powerful and angry music scene of the 1970s, was the brew of greats such as Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and Townes Van Zandt. But there is another, little-known music hero of that era: Daniel Antopolsky. A Jewish lad from Augusta, Ga.—the son of immigrants who settled in the south and ran a hardware store on Main Street—the [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Iranian Actress Replaces Israel’s Gal Gadot for ‘Ben-Hur’ Remake

    Iranian Actress Replaces Israel’s Gal Gadot for ‘Ben-Hur’ Remake

    Iranian actress Nazanin Boniadi replaced Israeli star Gal Gadot as the female lead in the new Ben-Hur remake, Hollywood.com reported on Tuesday. The Homeland actress will play Esther, a slave that Ben-Hur sets free and falls in love with. Gadot quit the movie when it became clear that filming conflicted with her schedule for the Man of Steel sequel. The Israeli actress plays Wonder Woman in the superhero film Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Actor Jack Huston takes on the [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Personalities Biography Sheds New Light on David Ben-Gurion’s Place in Jewish History

    Biography Sheds New Light on David Ben-Gurion’s Place in Jewish History

    JNS.org – There is one sentence in “Ben-Gurion: Father of Modern Israel” that made me sit up in surprise. I thought that I knew the basic facts about how Israel came into being, but while describing what it was like in the days and hours before the state was declared, author Anita Shapira provides one important anecdote I was not aware of. On the 12th of May, the Zionist Executive met to decide what to do. Moshe Sharrett had just returned [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ Actress Compares Met Opera to ‘Schindler’s List’

    ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ Actress Compares Met Opera to ‘Schindler’s List’

    An actress starring in the controversial Met Opera The Death of Klinghoffer defended the show on Tuesday by comparing it to the 1993 Holocaust film Schindler’s List, New York Post reported. “To me, this was like [the movie] Schindler’s List. We make art so people won’t forget,’’ said the actress, who plays a captured passenger in the show and asked not to be identified. The Met Opera focuses on the infamous murder of Lower East Side Jewish resident Leon Klinghoffer, 69. The wheelchair-bound father of [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.