US Interests, Energy Independence and Israel
by Yoram Ettinger
The most critical, clear and present dangers to U.S. national security, homeland security and economy are Iran’s nuclearization, Islamic terrorism, the explosive impact of the seismic Arab street, the potential disruption of the supply and price of imported-oil and the declining American posture of deterrence.
The most clear and present policy to alleviate these threats would be U.S. energy independence, ending dependence on unpredictable Arab oil producers, bolstering the U.S. posture of deterrence, accelerating economic growth, improving the trade balance, reducing the budget deficit, lowering energy costs, expanding employment and putting more funds toward infrastructures, education, the elderly, Medicare and human services in general.
As demonstrated by the stormy, seismic Arab Winter, and irrespective of the Palestinian issue, the Arab street is increasingly anti-U.S., Islamist-oriented, violently intolerant, unpredictable, unstable and terror-dominated.
The U.S. mainland and vital U.S. interests abroad are targeted by Muslim regimes and organizations. They adhere to a 14-century-old transnational, imperialistic ideology that they are divinely ordained to rule the globe. They are energized by their assessment that Europe is caving in, while the “Great Satan,” the U.S., is increasingly vulnerable.
Iran is systematically defying the U.S. A nuclear Iran would trigger a meltdown of the pro-U.S. Arab oil-producing regimes, traumatize the supply and price of oil, devastate the U.S. economy, embolden Islamic terrorist sleeper cells, intensify the anti-U.S. policy of Venezuela, and accelerate nuclear proliferation in the Middle East and beyond, all of which would further erode global sanity and undermine vital U.S. interests.
A tour of the Middle East reveals that Iraq has become a central theater of anti-U.S. Islamic terrorism, increasingly controlled by Iran. Yemen is afflicted by a 14-century-old intra-tribal civil war, posing a threat to the House of Saud, Oman and oil tankers passing through the straits of Ban el-Mandeb and Hormuz.
The Syrian lava — boiled by intra-Arab and intra-Muslim wars by proxies — threatens to sweep through Lebanon, Jordan and possibly the Persian Gulf. Jordan’s pro-U.S. Hashemite regime is facing lethal threats from Syria, Iraq, disgruntled Bedouins, Hamas terrorists, the Palestinian majority and the Muslim Brotherhood. Post-Mubarak Egypt improves ties with Iran and provides a tailwind to Muslim Brotherhood cells throughout the Arab World, advancing its trans-national, expansionist anti-US agenda. Libya and Tunisia undergo a rapid process of Islamization, and Morocco and Algeria face a major challenge by Islamic oppositions. Since 2002, Turkey has veered toward the Muslim world away from the U.S. The current upheaval on the Arab street highlights the Middle East as a region of unpredictable geo-political shocks.
U.S. energy independence — via precision horizontal drilling and fracking — would be a game-changer in the international arena, constituting an effective shock-absorber for the U.S. and its allies. It would minimize U.S. dependence on foreign markets and multilateral/international entities, enhancing the independence of U.S. unilateral national security actions.
U.S. national security and economic interests are also bolstered by Israel, which has adopted the independent oil producers’ state of mind: defiance of the jagged cutting edge of nature, a can-do mentality, independent action and out-of-the-box-thinking.
In 2013, Israel constitutes the only stable, predictable, capable, democratic and unconditional U.S. ally, upgrading the shock-absorbing capabilities of the U.S., reducing regional instability, serving as a critical line of defense for Jordan and other U.S allies. Israel is a unique source of intelligence and battle and counter-terrorism tactics. The U.S. receives from Israel more intelligence than from all NATO countries combined.
Moreover, U.S. special operation forces benefit from Israel’s experience in facing improvised explosive devices, suicide bombers and car bombs. U.S. pilots employ Israel Air Force tactics to evade Russian-made surface-to-air missiles. U.S. homeland security officials, first responders and police chiefs systematically receive Israel’s lessons for combating Arab terrorism and tracking terrorists.
Israel has become a unique pipeline of cutting-edge technologies for the U.S. defense and commercial industries. For instance, the F-16, F-15 and hundreds of additional U.S. military systems, employed by Israel, are systematically upgraded through lessons learned by the Israeli battle-tested “laboratory.” These lessons are shared online, in real time, with the U.S. manufacturers, providing the U.S. with a mega-billion dollar global competitive edge, expanding U.S. exports, employment, research and development.
A similar process has benefited some 300 U.S. high-tech giants, who established research and development centers in Israel, leveraging Israel’s innovative technologies, establishing production lines, creating more jobs and exports in the U.S.
Israel’s unique capabilities extend America’s strategic arm at a time of U.S. withdrawal and defense cuts. According to the late Gen. Alexander Haig, “Israel is the largest U.S. aircraft carrier which does not require even one U.S. soldier, cannot be sunk, deployed in a most critical area for U.S. interests. If there would not be an Israel, the U.S. would have to deploy a few real additional aircraft carriers to the Mediterranean, which would cost the U.S. taxpayer about $15 billion annually.”
In the battle against Iran’s nuclearization, Islamic terrorism and threats to the supply and price of imported oil, U.S. interests would be well served by energy independence and by enhanced U.S.-Israel mutually beneficial, win-win defense and commercial cooperation.
This article was originally published by Israel Hayom.