Israel is signing a new defense funding authorization crafted by President Obama and his administration. The carrot was an amount of additional funding. The sticks way outweigh the carrots in our opinions. First is the deal will remove Israeli ability to spend approximately a quarter of the funds domestically with Israeli companies. Instead, in a rapid change all funds must be spent with United States defense companies. Already due to budget constraints Elbit and other Israeli defense companies have opened America branches in order to work with American companies. These Israeli branch companies operate as if they were purely American in all financing and hire virtually all United States citizens to work in their offices. This will likely lead to a further if not complete migration of Israeli defense industries, especially research and development, moving to the now greener pastures in the United States as this deal will suffocate Israeli operations. The claim is this is the most advantageous deal possible and waiting for the next administration and hoping for the best from the American elections, whatever might be argued is best, was a risk not worth taking as the deal was amply generous and neither new President would be pressed to begin by giving Israel an increase in funding right off the bat. That is a valid argument and there are plenty of other reasons in favor of taking this deal despite that it also will include a condition where Israel agrees not to request any further funding unless in a war footing. One might wish to know who defines if Israel is fighting a war as in this age few wars are declared, they are simply fought such as the one which will last decades longer in Syria with an ever widening number of disparate forces engaging in a free-for-all. Would another Gaza war qualify or would Israel have to be invaded with a formal declaration of war announced in the United Nations be required? One rumor before we state our arguments; there are claims that Israel aid will also be at the behest and control of the White House with no ability for Congress to alter the details and stipulation of the deal as it will be signed.
There was another path which would have had far reaching effects leading to a greater respect from the average America and a greater standing in the world. Israel could have simply said thank you President Obama for this very generous offer but Israel has developed economically and technologically and because of these improvements and developments and believe that the United States and Israel would benefit from Israel paying their own path forward and the United States could save these billions of dollars and return them to the American taxpayers or pay down the debt or use them to lower the costs to the people with their healthcare or in any number of ways and Israel could benefit from the technologies we will develop from pursuing our own defense research and developments. By paying their own way in Israel they would still be open to purchasing United States aircraft or other weapon systems from the actual companies and possibly request assistance from the United States government seeking whether or not such would be available or simply request the companies to seek such backing for allowing any discounts. Even better would be Israel developing their own technology which is something they are more than adequately capable. Israeli scientists, programmers, mathematicians and engineers might even make discoveries which they could share under mutually favorable conditions with United States defense and other industries leading to developing new weapons systems or improving existing systems thus leading to improved defensive capabilities for both nations. The advantages to Israel seeking their own paths forward would have so many upsides making such absolutely breathtaking.
For Israel it would make a swift stop to much of the so-called brain drain of tech and science graduates from Israeli colleges and universities to the United States and Europe as there would be ample additional opportunities and some of the most exciting leading edge advances to be made and rewards and Nobel Prizes that these students would find Israel far more inviting than overseas. Israel would benefit from weapons’ sales internationally and United States permission would no longer be required as the developed technologies would be Israeli paid for by Israeli funds and owned by the Israeli companies or the government under more sensitive agreements with the developing companies where Israeli defense secrets were involved. The entire funding boondoggle, which is what this funding proffer can only be described as, began, as we have pointed out uncounted times, began to prevent the Israeli aerospace industries from developing and producing the Lavi fighter jet which would have directly competed with and surpassed the abilities of the United States F-16 fighter jet causing the United States distress.
After the Israeli success in the Six Day War the administration of President Lyndon Baines Johnson decided Israel was worth a look and when adding in the potential success the Lavi might grab against the F-16 it was decided to bribe the Israelis with a sweetheart deal and a “solemn promise.” The deal was F-16s at a reduced price plus F-15s at a similarly reduced price and a promise of air and weapons superiority over the Arab nations into perpetuity. President Obama long ago sacrificed on the altar of “fundamental transformation” the “solemn promise” of air superiority and specially arms superiority and even may have turned hostile aiding Israel’s existential enemy, Iran, to become a nuclear armed nation in a single decade with the blessings of the United States and the remainder of nations holding permanent seats on the Security Council plus Germany and the European Union thus threatening Israel with Armageddon. The seemingly apparent betrayal of traditional United States allies including Israel by the Obama administration should have spelled out a dramatic warning that Israeli leadership should have taken to heart and turned to her own weapons and defense industry as the sole trustable source for providing Israel with a trusted and advanced military capabilities for the future.
Finally, the F-35 JSF (Joint Strike Fighter) was designed initially to provide a single airframe which could be easily adapted for use by the Air Force (traditional airframe), Navy (reinforced landing gear and frame for carrier landings and take-off) and Marines with VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) with minimal adjustments in order to reduce overall costs. This would have been wonderful for the United States if it had worked out; it didn’t. Instead the similarities between the three aircraft turned out to be simply cosmetic as the differences were sufficient that the three aircraft still required three separate production lines thus resulting in three separately built aircrafts for all intents and purposes unless you are Lockheed Martin, the producing company for all three versions of the F-35 JSF. The problem is none of these versions of the F-35 JSF were designed specifically for Israel which when you are spending over half of a billion dollars per aircraft one might actually want the aircraft tailored to your specific needs.
Of course should Israel really wish to demand that Lockheed Martin design and manufacture a specific F-35 JSF-I specifically for Israel, we believe such would be possible providing Israel would be prepared to spend over another half of a billion dollars for that pleasure. All figured, the question would be whether Israel might not have been better served to have developed their own fifth generation fighter aircraft and this becomes even more applicable when one figures that the United States F-35 JSF may not be battle ready until half way through the next decade. While Israel will be waiting for the F-35 JSF to have all its little wrinkles and software glitches and small black holes, code wise, all of which must be ironed smooth before the aircraft will be truly battle ready, the Russian and Chinese top aircraft are ready now and compete well if not better than the F-15 and F-16 Israel is equipped with and are ready currently or within a few short years.
While Israel waits for the perfected F-35 JSF Iran will be taking some of the now rapidly approaching three billion dollars or more and investing it in the purchase of some of these fine aircraft in sufficient numbers to place Israel’s air force in a heavily challenged position by comparison and providing ample protection for all of the Iranian nuclear mischief and other less savory activities. Had Israel planned ahead when things became obvious that depending upon the United States for their security going into the future and fallen back on their own abilities even as late as President Obama’s reelection, they could already have four years of development of their next generation airframe and avionics close to development and ready for implementation and also increased the opportunities in their technological and aeronautics industries and other developments in related fields. Perhaps instead of signing this agreement Israel should tear up the agreement and cancel their orders for the seemingly stillborn F-35 JSF and staked out on their own into a more promising future. That would have been our advice, but then we often disagree with the General Staff on so many things.
Beyond the Cusp