A great deal has been said and written about the Israeli “drain” on the US economy.
A month or so ago, on WABC Radio, 770 AM on the dial, broadcast from New York City, I heard two announcers debating the $10 Billion dollar loan guarantee Israel had requested from the US Congress.
One of the announcers slammed the USA for making such a commitment while the USA is suffering economically. And the other defended the guarantee by reminding the first announcer that Israel is a staunch US ally.
And inevitably, it came down to the American Jewish Lobby being responsible for “pressuring” Congress to authorize this loan guarantee, as if Israel was the ONLY country to make such a request. Nonetheless; both announcers missed the point completely.
A loan guarantee is just that. A GUARANTEE. It is NOT a loan. And in Israel’s 50 plus year history, it has NEVER defaulted on an economic pledge. It has NEVER missed a payment schedule. And it has NEVER renegotiated on a commitment.
Israel also offers one of the highest rates of return on National Savings Bonds (about 6%). And here too, Israel has NEVER missed paying an obligation.
For there to be a debate on the USA’s cost to guarantee an Israeli loan is ridiculous. There is NO COST unless Israel defaults. And that has NEVER happened. And there is no reason to believe that it will happen now.
In the meantime, the USA and other countries are always making such guarantees for countries where there are private and national economic interests. What about them? Why is there silence when loan guarantees are made to dubious Third World countries, but consternation when made to Israel?
I think the answer is obvious.
About the US money: Approximately $2 – $3 Billion dollars per year goes to Israel in the form of foreign aid, which is about the same amount per year that goes to Egypt. However; the media talks much less of the foreign aid to Egypt.
The difference between the similar amounts of money given to Israel and Egypt is simple. The money that goes to Israel is to help a friend who will be there for the USA whenever they need that friend.
The money going to Egypt is a BRIBE to keep the Egyptians from being the enemy of the USA if ever the money stops.
One also has to look at other US Middle Eastern and Global security costs.
How much money did it cost to fight the Iraqis in 1991? After the rest of the world paid their share, it cost the USA Tens of Billions of dollars? This war had everything to do with oil and Arab self-interests, and nothing to do with Israel. Yet; Israel was bombed by Iraq and ORDERED NOT to defend itself. Israel held its fire.
How much is it costing the USA to police the Northern and Southern Iraqi NO FLY ZONES which protect the Moslem Shiites in the South and the Kurds in the North? I don’t know, because it’s on-going. But I would guess that the cost is a whole lot more than the few Billion dollars the US gives to Israel every year.
How much is it going to cost the USA to fight the Iraqis in 2003? It is estimated that the cost could be more than $100 Billion dollars. Does it have anything whatsoever to do with Israel? NO!
How much has it cost the USA to maintain permanent rotating troops in South America, Europe, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, South Korea, Turkey, Japan, and the Philippines, amongst other nations? WE CAN’T COUNT THAT HIGH! Does this have anything to do with Israel? NO!
How many American men and women serve in all the above countries on a regular rotation? As many as a million. How many Americans serve to protect Israel? NONE!
How many Americans have died fighting the Communists and the wars of others since WWII? More than 50,000 Americans died JUST in Vietnam alone. How many Americans died fighting to protect Israel? NONE!
Which Arab country is most like the USA in terms of democracy, multi culturalism, modernity, legal values and human rights? NONE!
When you peel back the ultra thin Middle Eastern Arab veneer, how many Arab countries will be loyal to the USA come hell or high water? NONE!
Will Israel ever turn its back on the USA? NEVER!
It’s easy to point selectively to Israel and claim that the minimal cost to the USA to help maintain the Jewish State is too expensive and not worth it, especially if the costs are compared to how the money could be better spent on American social issues and lowering taxes.
However; when all the accounting is done, Israel is the biggest bargain any nation could ever have. Israel accepts a few Billion dollars in foreign aid, and promptly sends it right back to US industries. The US guarantees $10 Billion dollars in Israeli loans, and American banks earn the interest, not to mention the business that comes back to American companies.
The USA will invade Iraq, and NOT have to ever worry who will be there to protect its back. And as long as Israel is the Middle Eastern Super Power, America has to worry an awful lot LESS about regional stability.
If it wasn’t for Israel bombing the French built Osirak Iraqi nuclear plant in 1981, today would be a very different world. Can you imagine what the world would look like if Saddam had THE BOMB?
Also; if it wasn’t for Israel helping King Hussein of Jordan in September of 1970, the Palestinians and Syrians would have overthrown the Hashemite King, leaving Jordan and the entire region in utter turmoil.
As long as Israel is the big military player in the Middle East, there will be stability of one sort or another. And the moment that changes, American troops, and the American people will REALLY begin to understand how expensive it will be to maintain peace, order and the flow of Middle Eastern oil.
It is also remarkable that the world has conveniently forgotten how the Soviets got their asses kicked time and time again when the Arab world went to war against Israel, with Soviet advisors and the Soviet’s BEST military equipment.
More than anything, Israel’s success with US weapons against an Arab/Soviet coalition proved beyond the slimmest shadow of a doubt, that when it came to REAL warfare, a miniscule state outnumbered and outgunned 100 to 1, but equipped with American military technology and equipment was far superior to anything the Soviets could bring to the table.
This military reality, did as much to end the Cold War, as anything and everything else.
ISRAEL: A BARGAIN AT TWICE THE PRICE.
Congratulations Howard and Anne on 41 years. And, please keep fighting for rights.
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