5. Israel useless as Mideast ally

No question that the Iraqi aggression must be condemned with the strongest terms and vigorously opposed. It provided, nonetheless the opportunity to test the reaction and the reliability of "our strategic ally" (Israel) when American vital interests are at stake.

According to the Washington Post, "Israeli officials said the movement of Iraqi troops into Kuwait did not in itself threaten the Jewish state and would not provoke any military response by Israel." A former defense minister, Ezer Weizman, even saw something positive: "Hussein attacked an Arab state, so he won't attack us." And while Americans are going to be affected in many ways, a senior government official in Israel said that "we are the big winners of the whole situation. It's like a God-given gift for us." Maybe so for the Israelis but certainly not for the Americans.

Notwithstanding the Reagan administration doctrine that Israel is a strategic asset and the $4 billion it receives from the United States every year, it turns out that Israel is a very costly and useless strategic ally.

It is of course not my intention to suggest that Israel should be asked to do anything given the delicate situation. But it certainly is legitimate to ask for a reassessment of the Reagan doctrine, now that the communist threat has considerably waned.

August 20, 1990

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