Beyond the Cusp

September 15, 2016

Israel Signing Defense Industry Away to America


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.


Lavi, F-15I Strike Eagle F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-35 JSF

Lavi, F-15I Strike Eagle
F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-35 JSF


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


December 22, 2013

Time for Israel to Diversify her Relations in the World

After World War II the United States took steps to assure that they would be the leader of the Western World and the sole defender of Democracy. They freed the European countries from retaining large militaries probably hoping to avoid another European driven conflagration that would drag the United States into the conflict before it ended much as the two world wars had done. They even went so far as to almost completely neuter the British Navy to where they had to overcome difficulties in the 1980s to field a force to the Falkland Islands to rescue them from an Argentine attempted takeover. This arrangement worked well for quite some time especially as the United States had to remain militarily powerful as a balance against the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Eventually, Israel came to depend on the United States as well, though not immediately or as early in her history as many tend to believe. The Israelis largely depended on a combination of Europeans and for a while at the start from the Soviet Union who saw Israel as a socialist ally and fellow traveler initially. The Soviet Union drifted off and sided with the Arabs who forced them to choose one side and as the Arabs had more natural resources and offered a seemingly better dependence and patronage than the Israelis as well as a much larger market for Soviet weaponry.


The United States led the charge after the 1956 War between Israel and Egypt over the closure of the Suez Canal and the Red Sea to Israeli shipping as well as European shipping through the Suez Canal. Technically speaking, the Israelis were invited to join with the British and French in the war with Egypt after President Nasser closed the Canal to Western shipping, something Britain and France could not live without or their markets in Asia would have become unprofitable. The British and French were supposed to attack Egypt concurrent with the Israeli attack but only Israel offensive ever came to fruition. The British and French got their reopened Suez Canal and the Israelis got their reopened port using the Red Sea at Eilat and control of the Sinai Peninsula. This was the first time that Israel held the entire Sinai Peninsula after a war with Egypt. The United States along with Israel’s so-called allies in the war, Britain and France, all joined the United Nations Security Council in demanding that Israel return every inch of the lands won, which she did without much fuss. It was not until after the Six Day War where Israel responded to the threats and massed troops on her northern and southern borders, open threats of genocidal annihilation, and the closing once again of the Straits of Tihran closing off Israeli access to Asia which after the 1956 War had been declared a casus belli for war by Egypt. Once again the Israelis, using almost the exact same battle plan, took control of the Sinai Peninsula along with the Golan Heights and after Jordan joined the attack on the second day believing the Egyptian and Syrian claims of massive victories and disbelieving Israeli requests that they not make a disastrous mistake on erroneous propaganda, Israel also took control of Judea and Samaria and all the land occupied by Jordan since the 1948 War which cemented Israeli independence. President Johnson ordered the Pentagon to assess the Israeli military capabilities and after reading the impressive report decided that Israel would make a suitable ally for the United States to balance the Soviet Union leaning Arab states.


Even this was not the final cementing of what has become Israeli semi-dependence on the United States for armaments and equipment parts. That came when Israel had designed their own fourth generation fighter Jet named the Lavi which many thought would compare favorably with the United States F-16. This was viewed as a potential threat to the United States almost unique ownership of fighter jet sales so the United States made an irresistible offer to Israel of supplying F-16s and F-15s with Israeli modifications and full support at a far lower price than it would have cost Israel to produce the Lavi themselves. This led over the years to the United States slowly Americanizing much of the IDF equipment including replacing indigenous weapons systems such as rifles, grenades and numerous other pieces with United States built replacements to where Israel slowly became dependent on the United States for parts and support of much IDF equipment. Israel did not, as many argue, come supplicant to the door of the United States asking for American weapon systems which is partly why the Israeli Defense Force does not field the M1A1 Abrams heavy battle tank and instead uses the very capable Merkava MKIV and MKV heavy battle tanks. Not having relied on in-house weapons systems development and domestic manufacture may end up proving very costly for Israel with an antagonistic President in the White House. Let us hope that Israel will not end up paying too high a price learning that there is no such thing as friends between nations, just temporary relations for as long as mutual benefit and convenience dictate.


Israel is facing a threat which nobody speaks of but might be heard in the whispers if you possess a trained ear and know where to listen closest. Dependence on the United States for weapons systems, especially fighter aircraft, may be the Achilles Heel of the IDF. If the United States were to stop supplying replacement parts and maintenance for the fleets of F-16I and F-15I fighters that make up the Israeli Air Force and also cancel the planned shipments of F-35 Strike Fighters scheduled for the next two years, Israel would be behind the eight ball and needing to design or find a replacement fifth generation fighter close to overnight in order to maintain sufficient air suppression superiority. That is why 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. Should there come an irreconcilable difference between Israel and President Obama and his Administration over possibly Israeli refusal to accept an interim deal with the Palestinians or after Israel strikes known vital Iranian nuclear sites to prevent an Iranian nuclear weapons breakout and President Obama decides to break relations with Israel in protest placing military sanctions upon the Israelis, then Israel would be facing a severe challenge simply to keep her Air Force functioning without replacement parts. The emergency such a predicament would present is beyond definition or explanation, it is simply unimaginable. The bright side is Israel, providing she survived long enough to produce replacement systems indigenously, will have learned a basic and vital lesson, never place all your eggs, especially if those eggs protect your nation, in one basket. The United States under the leadership of President Obama has made one thing evidently clear, the nations who thought that the United States was completely reliable and beyond being turned on its head by a single person, even the President, is a false belief and could prove to be fatal to those holding to that premise. The Obama Presidency has hopefully taught the Israelis a basic and vital lesson, never rely totally for your defense on any single nation, spread your vulnerabilities around even at the cost of efficiency as one can efficiency themselves out of existence. There is no such entity as an ally who will never let you down or fail you when you most need them, and that must be part of all military planning. Next time somebody offers Israel a sweet deal and promises to always be there, let us hope that Israel will not act like a school girl with a crush and believe such a story. The only friend who will never desert you is your own in-country production of vital defense systems. Oh, and on another note, they also make for a great trade item once you build the next and better system to replace them. Don’t worry, there will still be nations where you now discarded weapons are an improvement.


Beyond the Cusp


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