Twin developments have converged to require an urgent re-examination of America’s role in the world.
We’re saddled with a crushing debt that demands steep spending cuts. And Americans are weary—and wary—of international activism after long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in which we spent far too much American blood and treasure for too few results. We’re broke and we’re exhausted.
It should come as no surprise that some have sought to fashion these converging realities into a wedge with which to separate us from our ally Israel. Congressman Ron Paul has led this dubious charge. “Why,” Dr. Paul asks, “do we have this automatic commitment that we’re going to send our kids and send our money endlessly to Israel?” Even more provocatively, he’s claimed “all recent presidents have reiterated our obligation to bleed for Israel.”
Paul’s assertion is a borderline blood libel. We’ve never sent our kids to “bleed” for Israel. American soldiers have not participated in any of Israel’s wars. Nor have the Israelis ever requested our children’s blood. Instead, as Prime Minister Netanyahu recently put it, Israel wants only the ability to “defend itself by itself.”
More importantly, Paul’s distortions obscure the solution to the very problem he purports to address. In an era of belt-tightening at home and reduced commitments abroad, our relationship with Israel is not a mistake to be corrected but a model to be emulated.
We can’t afford to keep nation-building new allies. And we can’t afford to take the lead in defending existing allies. As we look to cut spending, we must invest in empowering our allies to fight for us rather than sending our boys to fight for them.
Our alliance with Israel exemplifies this new paradigm. American soldiers do not bleed for Israel. But the converse is true. In a very real sense, Israeli boys do bleed and die in defense of America and the West. Israeli soldiers patrol a line that is not only the border of the Jewish state, but the West’s first line of defense against militant Islam.
When Israel fights Hezbollah, it’s fighting an Iranian-backed terrorist group which murdered more than 240 of our Marines in Beirut. When Israel battles Hamas, it’s battling an Iranian-backed terrorist group which has repeatedly spilled American blood. And when Israel sounds the alarm about Iran, it’s focusing our attention on the greatest strategic threat to America and the West.
If only our Iraqi or Afghani trainees, or our supposed allies in Pakistan, performed so effectively on our behalf.
This article was originally published in The Daily Caller.
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