Further Cooperation with Israel Can Help America Address Its Strategic Challenges in the Middle East

Nov. 11 2019

According to the Pentagon’s most recent National Defense Strategy, the U.S. must shift from focusing on counterterrorism to responding to the threats of hostile states; at the same time, the document acknowledges that the threat of jihadist terror has not abated. For assistance in dealing with the latter, write Bradley Bowman and Andrew Gabel, Washington should look to Jerusalem:

America’s adversaries in the Middle East are virtually indistinguishable from those of Israel. From an American perspective, Israel’s capability and willingness to target assertively Iran’s [forces abroad] and Hizballah are welcome, serving to undermine Tehran’s reach in Syria and Iraq. . . . Such strikes keep strategic pressure on these organizations, leaving them with less time, space, and security in which to plot attacks and build infrastructure.

If Israel is effectively and persistently targeting these American foes, it is functionally advancing U.S. security interests without putting American lives at risk. This frees up U.S. resources that Washington may employ elsewhere in the great-power competition, such as in Eastern Europe or the Indo-Pacific [region].

More specifically, despite the already extensive collaboration between the U.S. and Israel in the realm of military technology, Bowman and Gabel argue that far more can be done to benefit both countries:

With some important exceptions, the United States and Israel develop military doctrine and new weapons independently. In some cases, that makes sense. In others, it does not. Washington’s failure to team up earlier with Israel on research and development has resulted in dangerous gaps in U.S. military capabilities.

Consider the case of the Israeli-made Trophy active-protection system, which was recently delivered to the U.S. Army to protect its M1 Abrams main battle tanks from rockets and missiles. Despite the fact that the system has been operational in the Israeli military since 2011, it is only now making its way into the U.S. Army’s arsenal.

While Israel is by no means ahead of the United States in most types of military technology, there are nevertheless select areas in which the U.S. military could benefit from Israeli experience and technological innovation. [It] would be strategically negligent not to do so.

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More about: Israeli Security, U.S. Security, US-Israel relations, War on Terror


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More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Election 2019, Israeli politics