Friends with Benefits: Why the U.S.-Israeli Alliance Is Good for America

(Foreign Affairs) Michael Eisenstadt and David Pollock - The U.S.-Israeli alliance is a two-way partnership whose economic, military, and political benefits to the U.S. have been substantial. Israel remains a counterweight against radical forces in the Middle East, including political Islam and violent extremism. It has also prevented the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the region by thwarting Iraq and Syria's nuclear programs. The two countries share intelligence on terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and Middle Eastern politics. Israel's military experiences have shaped the U.S. approach to counterterrorism and homeland security. The two governments work together to develop sophisticated military technology, such as the David's Sling counter-rocket and Arrow missile defense systems. Israel's military research and development complex has pioneered many cutting-edge technologies that are transforming the face of modern war, including cyberweapons, unmanned vehicles (such as land robots and aerial drones), sensors and electronic warfare systems, and advanced defenses for military vehicles. Israeli high-tech firms often turn to U.S. companies as partners for joint production and marketing opportunities in the U.S., creating tens of thousands of American jobs. And although Israelis make up just 3% of the population of the Middle East, in 2011 Israel was the destination of 25% of all U.S. exports to the region, having eclipsed Saudi Arabia as the top market there for American products. The authors are fellows at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

2012-12-07 00:00:00

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