Benefits to the US
The reinforcement of Israel’s qualitative military edge (QME) – through the most advanced US military systems – bolsters Israel’s national security, while enhancing the US’ own geo-strategic interests.
*Israel’s QME has upgraded its capabilities to extend the strategic hand of the US with no need for US soldiers, serving as the most cost-effective, battle-experienced, reliable and democratic force-multiplier; as a US outpost in the inherently explosive geo-strategic junction of Europe-Asia-Africa, between the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Persia Gulf.
*Israel’s QME has elevated its efficiency as the most cost-effective, battle-tested and trustworthy laboratory of the US armed forces (sharing with the US unique air, ground and sea battle tactics and intelligence) and providing the US defense industries unique lessons (operation, maintenance and repair), which have been integrated as upgrades, sparing many years of research and development, increasing US exports and expanding US employment.
*Israel’s QME has improved its potential to circumvent the regional and global maneuverability of rogue Middle East regimes and organizations (e.g., Iran’s Ayatollahs, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah), which have served as epicenters of the global proliferation of Islamic terrorism, conventional and non-conventional military systems and drug trafficking from Central Asia through the Middle East and Africa to South and Central America.
*Israel’s QME has boosted its posture of deterrence, in the face of a multitude of rogue regimes and organizations, thus reducing the threat of regional wars – which could expand globally – while enticing moderate Arab regimes to seek peace, rather than war, with the Jewish State.
*Israel’s QME provides for swift and decisive military victories, with less fatalities, which diminishes the potential of global involvement.
*Israel’s QME facilitates a gradual US military withdrawal from the Middle East, while leveraging Israel’s bolstered posture of deterrence to curtail regional instability, which has the potential to expand globally.
Congressional legislation of QME
The geo-strategic benefits to the US, resulting from Israel’s qualitative military edge, along with Israel’s positive stature in the US, in general, and on Capitol Hill, in particular, yielded legislation (the 1992-1993 Foreign Relations Authorization Act), which required an annual presidential report on all sales of military systems – by any country – to Middle Eastern countries, and the resulting impact on the Israel-Arab military balance.
Congressional support for Israel’s QME was reinforced in 2008 (H.R. 7177, title II, led by then Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman, Congressman Howard Berman):
“…. The term Qualitative Military Edge means the ability to counter and defeat any credible conventional military threat from any individual state or possible coalition of states, or from non-state actors, while sustaining minimal damages and casualties, through the use of superior military means, possessed in sufficient quantity, including weapons, command, control, communications, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities that in their technical characteristics are superior in capability to those of such other individuals or possible coalition of states or non-state actors….
“Any certification relating to a proposed sale of defense articles, or defense services, to any country in the Middle East, other than Israel, shall include a determination that the sale or export of the defense articles or defense services will not adversely affect Israel’s qualitative military edge over military threats to Israel….
“The President shall carry out an empirical and qualitative assessment on an ongoing basis of the extent to which Israel possesses a qualitative military edge over military threats to Israel….”
Compliance with the US law – as legislated by Congress – enhances Israel’s posture of deterrence, thus advancing major US geo-strategic goals without the need to deploy additional US military personnel.
On the other hand, a departure from the US law would erode Israel’s posture of deterrence, denying the US major benefits, thus undermining major US geo-strategic goals.
However, compliance with the US law depends on interpretation and implementation by the US Congress and Administration, which would be determined by different worldviews: a worldview which considers Iran’s Ayatollahs a lead-threat or a partner? A worldview which refers to Middle East turbulence as “Arab Spring” or recognizes the reality of the “Arab Tsunami”? A worldview which considers Islamic terrorism as a major global threat, or underestimates it as “workplace violence”?
For instance, how does one interpret the following language of the aforementioned 2008 legislation: “[Israel’s] ability to counter and defeat any credible conventional military threat“?
How does one assess “minimal damages and casualties,” “sufficient quantity,” ” superior in capability,” “adversely affect Israel’s qualitative military edge over military threats to Israel”?
The language of the law is open to different interpretations and assessments, a byproduct of a subjective worldview, and therefore cannot be perceived by Israel as a cornerstone of its national security.
Furthermore, the military high-tech of today is destined to become the low-tech of tomorrow, superseded by more advanced military systems, some of which may be supplied to anti-Israel countries by Russia, China and Europe, undetected by US and Israel intelligence, as evidenced by pre-1973 Soviet military supplies to Egypt and Syria.
On the other hand, the high-ground of the mountain ridges of the Golan Heights and Judea and Samaria will always remain high-ground, overpowering the region and providing Israel with the minimal strategic depth and early-warning time to deploy its reservists, which constitute 75% of its military.
Therefore, no qualitative military edge can replace the critical role played by the Golan Heights and the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria in securing Israel’s survival in the violently unpredictable, shifty Middle East with its tenuous regimes, policies and accords.
This column was originally published at The Ettinger Report.
The views expressed in guest columns are not necessarily the views or positions of the CCNS or its members.