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...

  • Analysis Arts and Culture Beyond ‘Klinghoffer’: Opera’s Composer, Librettist Have Broader Jewish Problem

    Beyond ‘Klinghoffer’: Opera’s Composer, Librettist Have Broader Jewish Problem

    JNS.org – One of the most controversial operas in recent memory, “The Death of Klinghoffer,” debuted Oct. 20 at New York’s Metropolitan Opera. The Met has scheduled seven more performances through November. The first staging did not occur without protest, as about 400 demonstrators—including Jewish communal and nationally recognized leaders—came to Lincoln Center to denounce the anti-Jewish and anti-Israel opera. “Klinghoffer,” the creation of composer John Adams and librettist Alice Goodman, premiered in 1991—with few additional stagings. The opera is based [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Israeli Actress Gal Gadot in Talks to Star in Ben-Hur Remake

    Israeli Actress Gal Gadot in Talks to Star in Ben-Hur Remake

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot is in negotiations to take on the female lead role in the remake of the 1959 classic Ben-Hur, according to The Hollywood Reporter. If the deal is finalized Gadot will play Esther, a slave and Ben-Hur’s love interest. Actor Jack Huston will star as the Jewish prince who is betrayed into slavery by his childhood friend Messala, played by Toby Kebbell. Ben-Hur fights for his freedom and vengeance with the help of Morgan Freeman’s character, who trains Ben-Hur how to win at chariot-racing. [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Young Israelis Try to Crowd-Fund Their Way to Major League Baseball Playoffs

    Young Israelis Try to Crowd-Fund Their Way to Major League Baseball Playoffs

    JNS.org – Baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie are the American dream. So why do two young men who have built their lives in Israel have a GoFundMe crowd-funding webpage with the urgent message that they need $3,000 to travel to the U.S. to watch the Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles square off for Major League Baseball’s (MLB) American League championship? Brothers Naftali and Yoni Schwartz, 27 and 25, respectively, are Kansas City natives. Even though they made aliyah with their [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Sports Race Cars Speed Through Jerusalem in Amazing Exhibition

    Race Cars Speed Through Jerusalem in Amazing Exhibition

    Some 3,000 years ago, King David probably never imagined cars racing at 240 kilometers per hour (150 miles per hour) through the ancient capital of the Jewish people. But on Monday and Tuesday, October 6-7, thousands of Israelis lined the streets to watch Porsche, Audi, and Ferrari race cars fly through the capital against the backdrop of the Tower of David, the Old City Walls, and other city landmarks. The second annual non-competitive Jerusalem Formula One Road Show had been [...]

    Read more →
  • Israel Sports NBA Superstar LeBron James Says He Wants to Visit Israel

    NBA Superstar LeBron James Says He Wants to Visit Israel

    Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James expressed interest in visiting Israel someday, local news site Cleveland.com reported on Sunday. Speaking to Israeli reporters before the Cleveland Cavaliers’ preseason debut against Maccabi Tel Aviv, the NBA star said he had never visited the Jewish state but “I want to look forward to going there if I get an opportunity to.” When asked by an Israeli reporter if there was “any chance that LeBron James and Cleveland comes to Tel Aviv,” the athlete said [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Florida Rabbi Dominates Former Basketball Star Congressman in Hoops Showdown (VIDEO)

    Florida Rabbi Dominates Former Basketball Star Congressman in Hoops Showdown (VIDEO)

    A Florida-based Chabad rabbi put former basketball star, U.S. Congressman Curt Clawson to shame on the court when the two faced off one-on-one recently. A YouTube video, posted online on Tuesday, shows Rabbi Fishel Zaklos of Chabad of Naples shooting hoops with the Florida politician, who played basketball in high school and at Purdue University in Indiana. The game took place in the parking lot of the Chabad Jewish center run by Zaklos. During the 1-minute clip, Zaklos scores two impressive [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada David Blatt’s Cleveland Cavaliers Rout Maccabi Tel Aviv, 107-80

    David Blatt’s Cleveland Cavaliers Rout Maccabi Tel Aviv, 107-80

    JNS.org – Less than five months after leading Maccabi Tel Aviv to its sixth European basketball title, David Blatt, now the head coach of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, routed his former team in an exhibition game on Sunday, with the Cavaliers dominating Maccabi 107-80 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. The 20,562 fans in attendance witnessed Lebron James’s first appearance in a Cavaliers uniform since he left the club in free agency for the Miami Heat four years ago. [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Jewish New York Giants Guard Plans to Fast on Yom Kippur

    Jewish New York Giants Guard Plans to Fast on Yom Kippur

    New York Giants offensive guard Geoff Schwartz said on Wednesday that he will not eat anything between sundown Friday and sundown Saturday in observation of Yom Kippur, ESPN reported. “If I was playing, I wouldn’t fast, because I’ve got to be able to fuel myself to play,” said the Jewish athlete, who is on short-term leave due to a toe injury. “But it’s not that tough, really. I’ll eat dinner at 5:00 Friday, then I’ll go to services and I’ll just [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.