Friday, April 06, 2007

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I find it hard to decide which is in our national interests. By now you have read that Israel is protesting about an arms deal between the US and its Middle Eastern allies including Saudi Arabia and others. Should we go through with the deal, or not; that is the question?

The proposed sale is featuring tanks, warships, advanced air defenses, and guided missiles totaling $5-10 billion. This could very likely create an unbalancing situation when compared to Israel; which is why the Israeli government has protested against the pending deal. They say that with the guided missiles, Saudi warplanes will have a much greater ability to strike targets. That is of course true, but the Israelis have been enjoying these capabilities for quite some time now. As we have seen them exercise their capabilities in the recent conflict against Hezbollah.

Obviously by going through with the deal, we will likely gain closer relations with the Middle Eastern states involved. As a side benefit, by us going against Israel’s protest, it could make us more popular to some people in the region who do not think highly of us now. Also, these states will have a better capability in fighting the war on terror, if they choose to get involved. Though, this will lower our support from Israel. The Israelis are very powerful in the region now and by this deal continuing, they could be balanced by the other states in the region. The bad side is, if any of the weapons that we sell some how get in the possession of terrorists, the US would have contributed to terrorism. If these weapons are used in a conflict with Israel, we would have contributed to this. There are many things that need to be looked at and evaluated.

The other side of the coin is if we do not go through with the deal. Obviously, Israel will rejoice in this, however, we could damage relations with Saudi Arabia and the other states named in the deal. They will see that Israel is drastically more important, than they are and could take it as a sign of disrespect. Enemies of the United States will see that we side with Israel against the Arab states in order to keep them weaker than Israel. In the event of a conflict it will be apparent who we support, whether we state it or not. All death and destruction in the Middle East as a result from a conflict with Israel that could have been avoided by the sale of these arms would be on us.

This deal needs to be carefully evaluated by the people in charge. Keeping support in the region is important, and if we make moves to keep those states weaker, it could cause bad blood. However, if we continue with it and the weapons are used against our other allies, then we are responsible. Or, if terrorists acquire these, it will be counter to what we have been fighting for over the past six years.

I realize there are a lot of “what ifs” here, but I am trying to see all sides, and everywhere you look, it seems daunting. Whichever direction the United States decides to go could cause problems; this we are already seeing from the Israelis.

What are your thoughts?

Referencing article:

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