Amb. Ettinger: Commentary on US Energy Independence and Israel

By Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger.

The most critical, clear and present dangers to US’ national security, homeland security and economy, are Iran’s nuclearization, Islamic terrorism, the explosive impact of the seismic Arab Street, the potential disruption of the supply and price of imported-oil and the declining US posture of deterrence.

The most clear and present policy to alleviate these threats would  be US energy independence, ending dependence on unpredictable Arab oil producers, bolstering the US posture of deterrence, accelerating economic growth, improving the trade balance, reducing the budget deficit, lowering energy cost, expanding employment and availing more funds toward infrastructures, education, the elderly, Medicare and human services in general .   

As demonstrated by the stormy, seismic Arab Winterand irrespective of the Palestinian issue, the Arab Street is increasingly anti-US, Islamist-oriented, violently intolerant, unpredictable, unstable and terror-dominated.

The US mainland and vital US interests abroad are targeted by Muslim regimes and organizations. They adhere to a 14 century old trans-national, imperialistic ideology, believing that they are divinely-ordained to rule the globe. They are energized by their assessment that Europe is caving-in, while the “Great Satan” US is increasingly vulnerable.

Iran is systematically defying the US.  A nuclear Iran would trigger a meltdown of the pro-US Arab oil-producing regimes; traumatizing the supply and price of oil, devastating the US economy; emboldening Islamic terrorist sleeper cells; intensifying the anti-US policy of Venezuela; accelerating nuclear proliferation in the Middle East and beyond; further eroding global sanity and undermining vital US interests.

A tour d’horizon of the Middle East reveals that Iraq has become a central theater of anti-US Islamic terrorism, increasingly controlled by Iran. Yemen is afflicted by a 14 century-old intra-tribal civil war, posing a threat to the House of Saud, Oman and oil tankers passing through the straits of Ban el-Mandeb and Hormuz. The Syrian lava – boiled by intra-Arab and intra-Muslim wars by proxies – threatens to sweep through Lebanon, Jordan and possibly the Persian Gulf.  Jordan’s pro-US Hashemite regime is facing lethal threats from Syria, Iraq, disgruntled Bedouins, Hamas terrorists, the Palestinian majority and the Muslim Brotherhood. Post-Mubarak Egypt improves ties with Iran and provides a tailwind to Muslim Brotherhood cells throughout the Arab World, advancing its trans-national, expansionist anti-US agenda. Libya and Tunisia undergo a rapid process of Islamization; and Morocco and Algeria face a major challenge by Islamic oppositions.  Since 2002,Turkey has veered toward the Muslim World away from the US.  The current upheaval on the Arab Street highlights the Middle East as a region of unpredictable geo-political shocks.

US energy independence would be a game-changer in the international arena, constituting an effective shock-absorber for the US and its allies. It wouldminimize US dependence on foreign markets and multilateral/international entities, enhancing the independence of US unilateral national security actions.

US national security and economic interests are also bolstered by Israel, which has adopted the independent oil producers’ state of mind: defiance of the jagged cutting edge of nature, a can-do mentality, independent action and out-of-the-box-thinking.

In 2013, Israel constitutes the only stable, predictable, capable, democratic and unconditional US ally, upgrading the shock-absorbing capabilities of the US, reducing regional instability, serving as a critical line of defense for Jordan and other US allies.   Israel is a unique source of intelligence, battle and counter-terrorism tactics. For example, the US receives from Israel more intelligence received from all NATO countries combined.  Moreover, US special operation forces benefit from Israel’s experience in facing improvised-explosive-devices, suicide bombers and car-bombs. US pilots employ Israeli Air Force tactics to evade Russian-made surface-to-air missiles. US homeland security officials, first responders and police chiefs systematically receive Israel’s lessons for combating Arab terrorism and tracking terrorists.

Israel has become a unique pipeline of cutting-edge technologies for the US defense and commercial industries.  For instance, the F-16, F-15 and hundreds of additional US military systems, employed by Israel, are systematically upgraded through lessons learned by the Israeli battle-tested “laboratory.” These lessons are shared on-line, in real-time with the US manufacturers, providing the US with a mega-billion dollar global competitive edge, expanding US exports, employment, research and development.  A similar process has benefitted some 300 US high-tech giants, who established research and development centers in Israel, leveraging Israel’s innovative technologies, establishing production lines, creating more jobs and exports in the US.

Israel’s unique capabilities extend the US’ strategic arm at a time of US withdrawal and defense cuts. According to the late General Alexander Haig, “Israel is the largest US aircraft carrier which does not require even one US soldier, cannot be sunk, deployed in a most critical area for US interests.  If there would not be an Israel, the US would have to deploy a few real additional aircraft carriers to the Mediterranean, which would cost the US taxpayer about $15BN annually.”

In the battle against Iran’s nuclearization, Islamic terrorism and threats to the supply and price of imported oil, US interests would be well-served by energy independence and by enhanced US-Israel mutually-beneficial, win-win defense and commercial cooperation.


Source: Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger: “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”.
“Israel Hayom”, June 22, 2013,