Jan

23

 The recent plea by the Israeli defense minister (supposedly uttered in private) for Kerry to leave Israel alone coupled with a not particularly flattering characterization of him indicates the level of frustration with him in Israel. This Administration is engaged in nothing less than a deliberate attempt to destroy Israel if only they agree to the terms. Since the US supplies a lot of the spare parts and Israeli weapons, their pleas to agree to self-destruction are not gentle urgings of a misguided friend.

Even if you assume that Kerry is only confused and not malicious, he behaves like a drunk who is looking for his lost keys in the middle of the night under a lamppost, and when asked if he had lost them there replies that that's the only place where he can see anything. Nothing will get better for the US if Israel capitulates, so you have to ask yourself what his (and his masters') real motivation is.

David Lillienfeld writes: 

I see this as one more step in Israel's international re-alignment. Israeli forces were at one time dependent on French arms, until the French decided that selling arms to the Israelis brought more problems than it solved.

Stefan Jovanovich writes: 

David's comment about Israel's use of French military equipment deserves attention. For the decade following the first Suez crisis (1956) France was Israel's sole supplier of aircraft, tanks and naval vessels. During that time Israel was not by any means an "American ally". Eisenhower, who knew how utterly disastrous Korea had been and how weak the U.S. was strategically, wanted to avoid even the possibility of another European war (not exactly in America's best interests then or now), and the Suez crisis offered the United States an opportunity to be "on the same side" with the Soviets and all the anti-colonial member nations of the U.N. (He was also clever enough to know that the British, French and Israelis had utterly destroyed Egypt's military capabilities.) At the same time, it was very much in France's interests to have a foreign "customer" for its own armaments manufacturers, especially if DeGaulle's vision of France as a "third force" was to be achieved. The British came to the party much later, in the 1960s when they provided the Centurion tanks on which the Merkava was based.

All this is, by now, truly ancient history. The United States now has closer financial and technical ties with the IDF than with any other country's military, including those in NATO. (We are not sending Britain or France or Germany or Italy $5B a year in military aid, $4B of which returns to the U.S. for the purchase of American armaments.) I don't think enough attention is now given to how large a force Israel now has (I can understand why it is in their interest to be seen as David against Goliath, but in pure military terms that is far from the truth.) Israel now spends about $15B in its public military budget and (my estimate) another $5-$10B (not including U.S. aid) that is not publicly-disclosed; that puts it on a par with China, if you exclude the money that country spends on what is essentially a jobs program for its equivalent of our national guard.) Israel is the only country in the Middle East that has an independent launch capability. The other countries that can put heavy payloads into the air are Britain, Russia, U.S. France, S. Korea, Italy, Germany, China, India, Japan, Brazil and Ukraine. There is no evidence that any of these countries are eager to provide Iran, Palestine, Saudi Arabia or any other country in the region with free use of such a delivery system, given the fact that the Israeli's have an ICBM (the Jericho) with an 8,000 mile range.

It seems to me that Israeli politicians in control of the government have come to the same conclusion that Reagan did in 1983 when he established the JPMG and Sharon and Weinberger began having what the diplomats call "discussions". The Israeli governing coalition knows that there is absolutely no domestic political risk in ignoring completely the opposition voices of "moderation" (whatever that means); and there is a great deal of domestic political risk in actually doing anything to stop further settlement on the West Bank or reducing the recent Israeli arms build-up. The Europeans won't like it any more than they approved of Reagan's arms build-up; but there is nothing they can do about it. They no longer have the Soviets to fear as they did in the 1980s; but they also no longer have the actual armies that they had then. All they can do is join John Kerry in clucking.

To answer David's question: "No". Morgan did not lock people in a room. That is as much a fiction as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The dynamic was the opposite; the question for the meeting was who would be allowed to be in the room and who would be kept out. Everyone knew that the clearing house would resolve the panic just as it had earlier domestic ones. This was not a crisis of gold leaving the U.S. as it did in 1894-5 because people feared Americans would stop crucifying mankind on a cross of gold - i.e. paying its creditors in money rather than IOUs. The issue in the 1907 Morgan meeting was whether or not your paper would be among the notes accepted at par. My own "conspiracy theory" about the founding of the Federal Reserve is that the "good" people in favor of reform et. al. were appalled that the banks had been able to resolve the crisis without "help" (sic) from the government. Roosevelt was particularly infuriated; but the two-term tradition for American Presidents forced him to leave the White House before he and the Progressives could do anything about this monstrous exercise of the freedom of contract.


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