Lord Palmerston is reputed to have stated that, “Nations have no permanent friends or allies, they only have permanent interests.” The truth is so rarely touched upon between politicians and especially leaders of nations. All too often two nations bond over a perceived mutual threat, real or imagined, as there be little difference in the end, and this arrangement continues for sufficient amount of time for many Prime Ministers, Presidents or even monarchs to pass through under the calm of the arrangement. Eventually the day comes when either their mutually perceived enemy is vanquished or under new leaders who alleviate any threat perceived or actual and the two presumed friends no longer have that binding fear. This allows for future minor annoyances to rise to some critical moment or prove to be a permanent wedge between the leaders over time eventually having one side or both deciding to end their “special relationship” and go their separate ways. All too often this kind of relationship has a senior and a junior party under which the senior party having greater resources had wooed the other with promises of weapons systems, troops, nuclear umbrella or other aid upon which the junior party becomes reliant. When they part quickly due to a radical change in leadership and views of the populace on the side of the senior partner, the dependent partner may find themselves without the necessary military or political insurance which they had grown dependent upon. This is even more true today with single weapons systems such as submarines, aircraft, naval vessels and other military necessities. This is the lesson the former strong and dependent allies of the United States need to take away from the Obama Presidency if nothing else. President Obama proved the United States to be less than trustworthy particularly for her former friends in the Middle East and especially to those who had attached their militaries to use and interface with the United States military equipment.
This, it turns out, is particularly true for any nation which plans on integrating the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Jet as their staple fighter/bomber in the future. This was well described by Caroline B. Glick in her article The IAF’s Achilles’ heel. What Ms. Glick described was the dependency of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the aircraft Israel has based their future air superiority upon, has a serious compromising systems requirement in that it is required by its design and software to be constantly interfaced and updated before and after every flight via the internet with United States command and control systems which then decided whether the aircraft may safely continue in service. The implications of this are enormous but can be made so simple a child could grasp the problem. The United States can ground any particular craft or an entire fleet of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters which would simply make them so much extremely expensive aluminum scrap metal. One has to wonder whether there exists a kill code which could take each aircraft out of the air mid-flight leaving the pilot with, hopefully, a still functioning ejection system so he too had not just been shut down, or shot down as there is little difference. Caroline Glick also implied that many of the United States next generation anti-missile and other advanced systems have a similar ask before use interfaces giving the United States actual veto over even self-defensive systems which would be traumatic and very vital thing to know before deploying any United States weapons systems. What is interesting is the choice of referring to the F-35 as the “IAF’s Achilles’ heel” by Caroline Glick as we used that same terminology, “Achilles Heel of the IDF” in our December 22, 2013 article Time for Israel to Diversify her Relations in the World particularly referencing the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter specifically and all other armaments as well. We proposed Israel seriously relent on purchasing any future weapons systems and instead develop our own technology and weapons systems as I was as sure then as I remain today that Israeli designed and built weapons system would become the standard bearer in every industry.
That was why we referred to “the Merkava Main Battle Tanks are a blessing in so many ways as it is a fully capable modern main battle tank comparable to any other currently fielded or in production and the older models have been repurposed as personnel carriers and armored field ambulances thus providing systems necessary for the type of warfare Israel may face and supplying superior defenses when compared to other systems used by other nations, especially the armored field ambulances.” Even earlier, November 22, 2010, we had a short article, Israeli Best Hope for Air and Military Superiority, sometimes the best articles are short ones, where we advised Israel develop her future air force to be drones rather than piloted aircraft as using drones flown from stationary simulators or active but relaxed simulators which gave some referential feedback as to direction turned but not equal G-force as a drone can make a fifty-G turn while a piloted craft would render its pilot unconscious before fifteen-G and dead at fifty-G. As might be readily obvious, we saw the problem but so have many military advisors and a few rare gems of the political class. Just for argument’s sake, we would like to wager that people who saw this dependency thing as a problem would also believe in simply annexing the lands of Judea and Samaria and inviting the hard core members of the terror groups which includes the security forces of the Palestinian Authority to kindly take their troubles elsewhere. But the problem right before us is this new attached United States oversight which has the power to cripple any and all systems of any nation so blinded by low cost defensive weapons would face should make any nation shudder, let alone one as dependent on its military for its survival as Israel. If the United States is insisting on training operational readiness and through such systems riding shotgun on every mission including actually holding the keys to the kingdom in their hands by being able to, by a few key-strokes, turn off the majority and the best of the Israeli Air Defense is completely unacceptable. We should press IAI and RAFAEL to immediately start using the airframe of the Lavi fighter which was what started the United States air dependency as the United States saw the Lavi as a direct and worthy fighter aircraft system which they preferred not to face as a competitor in the sales to the world so they initiated a sweetheart deal of F-16s and F-15s and the guarantee that Israel could depend on the United States for all future fighter aircraft. Could we now? Not with the strings which the F-35 apparently carries with it.
Even if the F-35 JSF did not provide the United States with basically mission review before the aircraft could take flight as the F-35 JSF requires programmed specifics for each flight to optimize its systems or who knows what else without access to the code to decipher, and there is no manner to gain the code, the fact that it needs to transmit over the Internet to United States servicing systems is a real problem. Let’s take a look at an actual sortie flown over Syria a while back. The Israeli intelligence informed Washington that the Syrians were building a nuclear plant which was almost an exact copy of a North Korean nuclear weapons plant and the United States basic reply was not to be so paranoid and there was no way such could take place without the United States knowing about it. Israel gave them the exact position and even sent them pictures of the two sites and still the United States, particularly the state Department dismissed the allegations out of hand. Israel, over United States directives against and great threats should Israel continue in such a brutal and aggressive manner, sent squadrons of aircraft while shutting down the necessary Syrian air defense systems and radars and bombed the plant out of existence. It was after IAEA inspections that it became evident that the system actually was a nuclear facility and that it had a drawing of its water from over a mile distant just as Israel had described when the United States held that no such plant could be built that far from the closest water supply. So, now that ISIS would have gained control of the nuclear facility that the world should be ever so grateful that Israel removed what would have been an existential threat from over the world’s head. One little set of unusual events followed the removal of the Syrian reactor complex, complete and total silence from the Syrians and a complaint to the United Nations, likely the IAEA, over their loss of five nuclear scientists attending a summit in Syria.
Imagine the results if the Israeli Air Force F-15s and F-16s had been equipped with systems which were required to give their flight plans and mission intents to the United States CENTCOM at the Pentagon and over at Foggy Bottom and the State Department. It would have been a race between the Pentagon, State Department and CIA to see who would get the privilege of hitting the kill switch and turning off the entire Israeli Air Force. With such oversight the Iraqis would have kept their nuclear plant and had nuclear weapons by the time of Operation Desert Shield (August 2, 1990 – January 17, 1991) and Operation Desert Storm (January 17, 1991 – February 28, 1991) and these would have proven impossible as Saddam Hussein not only would have threatened and actually, at the first strike by the United States, would have nuked Tel Aviv, Israel and the Saudi Arabian oil fields and the Capital of Riyadh plus every last palatial domicile of the Saudi Arabian Royal Family and whatever else Saddam Hussein decided was involved with any assault on his sovereign nation. Imagine the Syrian Civil War with Bashir al-Assad and the Iranians with nuclear weapons. Imagine any conflict in the Middle East with one or both sides equipped with nuclear weapons and your view of the entire world changes. Guess what, that will soon become a reality and when that time comes, Israel cannot be reliant on Washington’s providing approval and also not warning the recipient of any Israeli airstrike. Iran would have had nothing to fear as first off they would have been nuked back to the age before Mohamad as soon as Saddam Hussein had decided the Iran-Iraq War was too costly and he was not winning, which would have been very early in what resulted ultimately in a decade long struggle. The world would be very different with Sadden Hussein ruling over the lands which we include today as Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, The Gulf Coast States, Yemen, and virtually anything other than Israel. Israel would have likely been forced to solidify her borders which would have included all of Judea and Samaria and there would have been no Palestinian Authority and almost everything across the Middle East would have been different if Saddam Hussein had developed nuclear weapons in the mid-1980s. Can the world really survive a Middle East where Israeli wings can be easily and readily clipped by whoever in Washington is second guessing them on that day? We doubt it and doubt it very seriously.
Beyond the Cusp