Why Can’t The United States Be More Like Israel?

DSC_0040-1I wrote the other day how the Wall Street Journal complained that Obama was not helping Israel and the Sunni nations in their fight against Bashar al-Assad the leader of Syria. That got me wondering. What is it that Israel is doing in the fight to remove Assad.

It certainly hasn’t put any of its ground forces into the fight. It borders right up against Syria in fact it occupies what used to be a part of Syria called the Golan Heights until 1967 when it was occupied by Israel’s military. It could easily pour its forces over into Syria without facing any opposition and be extremely effective in the fight against Assad, and also in the fight against the Islamic State (IS,ISIS). The question is why isn’t it doing it.

It’s not that its military is that weak. Here’s what a recent article stated: Jane’s Information Group, a British publishing company specializing in military, aerospace and transportation topics, published its yearly rankings of the world militaries, and the results regarding the Middle East are not surprising. The Israel Defense Forces was ranked is the mightiest military power in the region. 

It then went on: “1. Israel – with a $15 billion defense budget, 176,500 active frontline personnel, 870 tanks, 680 aircraft, Israel has space assets, advanced fighter jets, high-tech armed drones, and reportedly, nuclear weapons. Its air force has incredibly high entry and training standards. Thanks to Israel’s small size, the military can rapidly mobilize its reserves on relatively short notice.”

After Israel it ranks the countries in that area as follows:  Turkey – with a $18.1 billion defense budget, 410,500 active frontline personnel, 3,657 tanks, 989 aircraft,; . Saudi Arabia – with a $56.7 billion defense budget, 233,500 active frontline personnel, 1,095 tanks, 652 aircraft, Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the Middle East and also has the fourth-highest military spending of any country in the world.  United Arab Emirates – with a $14.4 billion defense budget, 65,000 active frontline personnel, 545 tanks, 444 aircraft, the UAE is the Middle East’s rising military power. Iran – with a $6.3 billion defense budget, 545,000 active frontline personnel, 2,409 tanks, 481 aircraft, Iran has its own domestic military industry under the guidance of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Oman and Kuwait fill out the top ten.

Israel is also ranked as the eleventh most powerful military in the world.  We know that the other nations in the area fear its might. We’ve seen how in its wars with them it quickly defeated the other forces.

So it seems quite a mystery why it won’t get involved in some of the fighting against the people it is urging us to fight. What is even more intriguing is why no one in the United States government or military suggests that Israel lend us a little hand in the many wars we’ve gotten embroiled in on the lands surrounding it which it, or its supporters, have urged us to do.

It’s not that Israel doesn’t want to be seen fighting the Arabs; it certainly has no problem going after the Palestinians when it feels like exercising its muscle as we saw last year or going after the Hezbollah forces in Lebanon when they get too threatening. So why is it that aside from those encounters, it won’t do more.

It’s not that its soldiers aren’t courageous or capable. They certainly are that and more. It’s not that it lacks the latest equipment or its military leaders aren’t highly skilled. I guess it comes down to them being too smart to waste its time and manpower on things that don’t directly threaten it as the missiles from Hamas in Palestine or the occasional forays into its territory from Lebanon.

I guess the answer comes down to this. Israel will act when it sees a real threat. All the wars going on in the countries around it I’m sure it is watching closely but right now is content to let those involved in them fight it out among themselves. That is wise. Why waste any resources, either men or weapons, unless it is absolutely necessary to do this.

Which brings me to this question. Why then can’t the United States be more like Israel? Why are we running around willy-nilly getting involved in all these things that we do when we are not threatened by any of the forces we are fighting; or if we are threatened then surely it is much less than Israel is and it finds no need to get involved. Isn’t it time we became smart like the Israelis.

14 thoughts on “Why Can’t The United States Be More Like Israel?

  1. The last paragraph of Daves post and your response to it will hopefully find its way into the 2016 Presidential debates as far as the questioning of the people running for that office

  2. Matt:

    Please start a thread about the Lebanon business. The judgement against Iran must stand, and, they must pay.

    1. Khalid:

      I’m not worried about it. I expect the decision to be upheld. The Court asked Administration’s position. Expect it to support the Americans over the Iranian bank. That is, unless Kerry made one of his side deals to give the bank the money in exchange for something else like he id in trying to get Israel to deal with the Palestinians when he offered to free Jonathan Pollard.

  3. Wa-llahi! The Reagan administration made us play the fool in Lebanon. His people were great at getting him elected, but, once behind the wheel, they showed themselves deficient in the breath of knowledge required to chart the ship’s course. It is truly absurd hubris to not only judge others, but, also, initiate actions to their detriment, on the basis of American cultural prerogatives.

  4. Our foreign policy in the Middle East was a visceral reaction to the 9/11 attacks. We made the mistake of approaching the jihadist threat as if we were fighting a belligerent nation like Nazi Germany or the USSR. We decided to conquer countries that harbored terrorists (Afghanistan) or allegedly harbored terrorists, (Iraq), without realizing at the time that the jihadi threat was not confined to the borders of a single country. When forming our strategy, we failed to realize that terrorism is an amorphous threat that can sprout wherever the ideology reaches.

    Also, I think that we claim the existence of any jihadist/extremist movement to be a threat to national security is due to the fact that al-Qaeda prospered under the Taliban regime in far off distant land that most Americans had never heard of. We were less than vigilant and sort of ignored the looming threat in the far off land. Now you see a hypervigilance on our part, attacking and bombing any prospect of a jihadist threat that pops in any Middle Eastern country, regardless of whether or not in reality, these groups really pose a threat, (like the mysterious Khorasan group that existed for all of 3 days). If we really felt that these groups were national security threats like Germany or Japan, we could pour 500,000 troops into those regions, but we don’t, we go in with as minimal a force as possible. Here is an interesting article I found about why we haven’t had success militarily since WWII.


    14 years of this, with no end in sight, history repeating itself over and over. Thank God our technology and weapons capabilities have improved to the point were we’ve only lost approx 6,000 soldiers lives, compared to Vietnam were we lost 50,000 fighting a similar insurgency, guerrilla warfare style enemies. If the casualties of our never ending war on terror were closer to Vietnam levels, I think you would see a far greater public outcry against all of our military campaigns.

    1. Dave:

      Nice comment. I agree. I’d add that our “attacking and bombing any prospect of a jihadist threat that pops in any Middle Eastern country” has probably increased the numbers of jihadist and increased the hatred of us. You have to think how would we like it if some other nation decided to use drones to take out certain Americans that they decided were threats. We seem to lack the capacity to look at these things through the eyes of the people we are attacking.

      1. Not to mention WE use drone strikes against certain Americans, rather than adhering to the Constitution and letting them get their day in court.

        1. Dave:

          True – but I would have done the same thing against some of those guys because they are at war with us.

      2. We’ve heard a lot about Muslim supremacism, but very little about Jewish supremacism

        There really isn’t much difference between an Islamic jihadist and a Zionist fanatic. Just change a word here and there and you’ve the same 10th century mentality and belief. Not really a surprise since they both come from the same idea.

        Understanding the Idea of Israeli Land Under Talmudic Law

        But of course, the US has chosen sides.

  5. Assad is only a puppet of Iran. He had independence, once upon a time, but, that is over. Syria should be counted as another province of Iran. Any major attack by the IDF on Syria would be considered causus belli by Iran. Israel doesn’t have the resources to take on Iran without US support.
    The Yemen conflict has made the Saudi Kingdom look for regional “boots” to deploy. Egypt, and, Pakistan, are being pressed to provide ground forces for the struggle against the Houthis. The economies of both countries are dependent on Saudi financial support, they must provide Hessians, when, demanded.
    Obama is backing off from any problems with Iran. I hope this doesn’t mean he’s decided to let the Iranian banks get off from paying for the 1983 barracks bombing in Lebanon. The families of guys killed in that Ronald Reagan directed disaster deserve better. Critics of Reagan’s incompetence, and, dishonesty, always, point to the Iran/Contra scandal as the worst of his errors. The complete defeat of US policy in Lebanon is easily the equal of Iran/Contra. If people are looking for reasons to call Reagan a myopic bone-head, they should look at what happened over the course of 1983 in Lebanon.

    1. Khalild:

      I can’t say I disagree with anything you say. Good points. I’m sure Saudi Arabia is not too happy having to pay Pakistan and Egypt for the troops when they used to get them from the U.S. for nothing.

  6. That is Rand Paul’s position. Boots on the ground but Arab boots not American. Some still support the McCain, neo con approach of putting the U S out front. More restraint seems to be called for. Israel’s vital interests are not at stake so they stay out. America’s aren’t at stake either. So we should demur. 2. The size of your budget and the number of troops doesn’t equate with your military power. Hezbollah has a limited budget but they would probably prevail in a struggle against the Saudis. Wasn’t a Russian General dismissive of the Saudi army saying they have never been in battle and are completely untested. Most of those Gulf armies are essentially palace guards. They could buy all the equipment in the world and still be impotent.

    1. NC:

      Rand Paul and Obama think alike with the American boots on the ground. That is something that is driving our Middle East “friends” crazy because they are so used to us coming in to help them. If Israel doesn’t feel threatened enough to engage, it’s hare do see why we should.
      2. True, it’s not the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog. The Arab countries have armies in order to keep their unarmed population under control and to have some flashy equipment for the princes to fly. We’ve led them to believe that is all they needed because we’d always be there to back them up even when they abused us as teaching the form of Islam that gave rise to al Qaeda and IS. As you know the Saudis are now trying to buy Pakistani troops to come in and fight for them.

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