How Israel Bolsters Trump’s National Security Strategy
President Donald Trump’s national security strategy — as enunciated on December 18, 2017 — reflects a realistic assessment of clear and present threats to the US. The document rejects the politically-correct worldview of the foreign policy establishment, which has often crashed against the rocks of reality. It also provides a prescription for the enhancement of the flourishing, mutually-beneficial US-Israel relationship.
Contrary to Western media outlets, academic, and bureaucrats, Trump recognizes the complexity and inherently brutal reality of the Middle East. Trump is aware of the lethal threats posed by Shiite and Sunni terrorism, and the threats posed by the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
Trump also does not embrace the myth of the Palestinian issue as a core cause of regional instability, a core interest of Arab policymakers, or the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
According to Trump, apologies, appeasement and multilateralism will be replaced by America-first patriotism, the independence of unilateral US military action, the resurgence of the US posture of deterrence, an expanded defense budget and peace-through-strength.
Will Israel leverage these principles in its own battle against Islamic/Arab terrorism, and its public relations posture in the US?
In his document, Trump underlined US national goals, which can be further strengthened through the US-Israel alliance. Some examples include:
1. Improving ballistic missile defense and cyber technologies, with Israel as a top partner;
2. Operational and technological homeland security and counter-terrorism measures developed in Israel that can contribute to the US’ intelligence, training and operations systems; and
3. Building on Israel’s status as a platform of cutting-edge technologies for over 200 US hightech giants, as well as the leading battle-tested laboratory of the US defense industry. The two contains can also work together on research and development, global competitiveness, and strengthening both economies.
Moreover, Israel serves as a strategic deterrent in the Middle East, effectively making Israel “the largest US aircraft carrier” – as suggested by the late General Alexander Haig.
Trump also announced that allies of the US, which benefit from US protection, “should reimburse the United States for the cost of defending them.” However, unlike Germany (70,000 US troops), South Korea and Japan (40,000 troops each), etc., Israel does not require US military bases and/or personnel, on its soil, for its defense.
In fact, Israel constitutes a most effective, reliable, battle-tested and uniquely unconditional US beachhead, stretching the strategic arm of the US in a most critical region.
Now the question is: Will President Trump’s realistic national security talk be matched by effective walk?