Re: Greg Johnson on dropping the alliance with Israel

From: Mike Linksvayer (
Date: Tue Sep 18 2001 - 04:08:59 MDT

On Sun, Sep 16, 2001 at 12:44:32PM -0500, Barbara Lamar wrote:
> > Perhaps I'm just stupid, but how? AFAIK Israel doesn't include
> > access to Middle Eastern oil among its priorities.
> Let me begin by saying that I am attempting to describe things from the
> point of view of the leaders of the US. Barring something like global
> nuclear war, I personally could probably weather a total interruption of oil
> production. I live in a remote area, have photovoltaic panels that provide
> for my basic electrical appliances, including water pump; I have my own
> source of water (rainwater cisterns and pond); I am capable of growing
> enough food to keep myself alive without the use of synthetic fertilizer or
> pesticides, and I'm accustomed to living a rather rugged lifestyle. But for
> most people in the US and other "first world" countries, even a 10%
> reduction in oil production would be disastrous.
> Maybe this will help explain why. Excerpts from PBS Online News Hour
I'm not questioning that a reduction in oil availability would
cause major hardship, I'm questioning whether giving Israel aid
lessens the risk of such a reduction.

Beyond the US relationship with Israel, I question whether anything
the US has done or will do in the Middle East actually lessens the
risk of reduced access to oil. To the contrary.

Like we did in Southeast Asia, we've stupidly taken the colonial
mantle from the UK and France, manufactured enemies, supported
tyrants because it was expedient for a moment, and generally helped
screw up every country we've bothered with. Instead of taking on
that colonial mantle/yoke, we should've learned from the mistakes
of the UK and France and left well enough alone.

> > The US hasn't used
> > Israel as a base from which to attack countries that refuse to sell
> > or raise the price of oil. Is there an implicit threat to do so?
> Of course there is, although it's not usually stated in the terms you've
> used. That's what maintaining a military presence is all about. Look at it
> on a smaller scale. When you hire uniformed security guards to watch your
> warehouse at night, your expectation is that his or her mere presence will
> deter burglars.

The US doesn't have a military presence in Israel. Does the US pay Israel
to guard access to oil? What has, what could Israel do in the event that
such acess was threatened?
> With respect to the Gulf War's relevance to preserving Israel -- the point
> is not that Israel is the ONLY possible staging area. As you've probably
> noted, US is now discussing using Pakistan for access to Afghanistan. The
> point is that Israel is reliable--that is, it can be depended on *under any
> and all circumstances*.

I actually noted that Turkey is another possible staging area.
Pakistan and Afghanistan are largely irrelevant, neither is anywhere
near the oil fields. I hardly think that Israel can be depended on under
any circumstances to defend our access to oil. Under even moderately bad
circumstances, Israel's very survival would be threatened, and it would
do what it had to do to ensure its survival (as it should), not to ensure
our access to oil at low prices.
> > > I don't believe it's ever had to defend itself without US support.
> >
> > They've mostly managed on their own.
> See my reply to Alejandro. Israel has always had aid from the US.

I saw. Nothing mentioned besides financial aid, something currently
somewhere between $3 and $5.5 billion annually it seems. According
to the
Israeli government has annual expenditures of $40 billion and the
country a GDP of $105 billion. No doubt a loss of ~$5 billion
would case some temporary economic hardship, but a military threat?
I think not.
> > What has the US provided
> > apart from money and intelligence?
> Huh? Don't understand what point you're trying to make.

Money and intelligence aren't very tangible. My point is that
Israel doesn't owe its survival to US support. If the US ended
foreign aid today, Israel would be just as ready to kick Syria's
ass tomorrow and next year ad nauseum as it is today.

  Mike Linksvayer

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