Israel has isolated itself by its own actions, Robert Gates says

Israel/PalestineUS Politics

Gates-Book-001

You can’t buy Robert Gates’s new book till January 14, but coverage of the former Defense Secretary’s memoir has included several of his perceptions re the U.S.-Israel relationship.

From the New York Times review by Michiko Kakutani

Regarding the Bush administration, the most compelling parts of this book concern Iran and Mr. Gates’s worries about “the influence of the Israelis and the Saudis” on the White House, particularly the Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and “their shared desire to have problems like Iran ‘taken care of’ while Bush was still president.” Mr. Gates repeatedly warned of the dangers of “looking for another war” when America was already at war in Iraq and Afghanistan. At one point, he says, he was so worried that Mr. Bush might be persuaded by Vice President Dick Cheney and Mr. Olmert “to act or enable the Israelis to act” (that is, to take military action to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon) that he made an intense private call to Mr. Bush in which he argued “we must not make our vital interests in the entire Middle East, the Persian Gulf and Southwest Asia hostage to another nation’s decisions — no matter how close an ally.”

Tony Capaccio has more on that influence question, at Bloomberg:

Israel didn’t oppose a $60 billion U.S. arms sale to Saudi Arabia [in 2010], in part because the Pentagon agreed to sell the Israelis at least 20 new Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) F-35 jets, according to the new book by Robert Gates…

A series of meetings with Gates, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu resulted in a working group to ensure that the Saudi sale didn’t erode Israel’s “qualitative military edge” against its Arab neighbors. Maintaining that edge is a long-standing U.S. foreign policy objective.

More from Bloomberg coverage:

In the book, Gates also has some criticism for Israel. “I believe Israel’s strategic situation is worsening, its own actions contributing to its isolation” he wrote
….

When Netanyahu “complained about the number of F-15s the Saudis would be buying or upgrading, I pointedly asked him, ‘When did Saudi Arabia ever attack Israel? How long would those planes continue to work without U.S. support?’” Gates wrote.

According to Gates, Netanyahu responded by asking, “What about a counterbalancing investment in our military? How do we compensate on the Israeli side?”

Gates wrote: “Exasperated, I shot back that no U.S. administration had done more, in concrete ways, for Israel’s strategic defense than Obama’s.”

“I used the line that the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” Gates wrote. Netanyahu “replied acidly, ‘In the Middle East, the enemy of my enemy is my frenemy.’”

 

15 Responses

  1. Woody Tanaka
    January 10, 2014, 10:39 am

    “Netanyahu ‘replied acidly, ‘In the Middle East, the enemy of my enemy is my frenemy.””

    Ugh. The mentality of a pre-teen child. And this asshat runs a nuclear power??

    • hophmi
      January 10, 2014, 1:35 pm

      Except that it happens to be true. See Pakistan.

      • Woody Tanaka
        January 12, 2014, 2:55 pm

        “Except that it happens to be true. See Pakistan.”

        No, although you and Netanyahu might talk about how wee need to treat Pakistan differently because she is fat, dresses badly and is a Justin Beiber fan and we don’t want to look bad in front of the cool kids in the cafeteria, actual thinking people understand that silly, juvenile talk of “friends,” “enemies” and especially “frenemies” in the context of international relations is the height of absurdity and that the fact that this moron made this statement simply exposes how grossly incompetent and morally, emotionally and intellectually unqualified he is.

    • Talkback
      January 10, 2014, 7:48 pm

      Preteen childs are the leaders of the toddlers.

  2. Citizen
    January 10, 2014, 10:45 am

    So, what’s new? Israel regards every state in the world as either a current enemy, or a latent enemy. How could he not? He’s a Zionist. Recall that the US VP, Beiden, talking to AIPAC, said the same thing?

    I’d like to send a memo to all US leaders that America must look to its own self-interest, just as Bibi N does for Israel. To Wit: Israel is a frenemy of America. Time to hold the carrots, give Israel some sticks, niche wahr?

  3. Justpassingby
    January 10, 2014, 12:01 pm

    Another proof that you must quit your job before speaking out against the Israel/Lobby.

  4. American
    January 10, 2014, 12:45 pm

    The Zio/Israeli/Lobby hold on the US will come to an end eventually.
    Just a matter of how it will end…lose its grip gradually or blow up. Thats only real question I believe most of us have any longer about the situtation and we’re just following the trail looking for clues as to how long till and which it will be.
    I believe a war with Iran would speed up their demise in the US ,but is worth it?….I would say not, better to strangle them slowly politically than have everyone suffer the consquences of a US attack on Iran.

  5. Henry Norr
    January 10, 2014, 1:15 pm

    Israel didn’t oppose a $60 billion U.S. arms sale to Saudi Arabia [in 2010], in part because the Pentagon agreed to sell the Israelis at least 20 new Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) F-35 jets, according to the new book by Robert Gates…

    Now that we know about Stuxnet, the NSA’s hacking, and so on, what do you bet that the electronics on the planes (and other weapons) the U.S. sells to Saudi Arabia include backdoors that allow the CIA and the Israelis to crash or divert them?

  6. DICKERSON3870
    January 10, 2014, 1:42 pm

    RE: A series of meetings with Gates, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu resulted in a working group to ensure that the Saudi sale didn’t erode Israel’s “qualitative military edge” against its Arab neighbors. Maintaining that edge is a long-standing U.S. foreign policy objective. ~ Bloomberg

    MY COMMENT: And, that is why we need to stop selling arms to any of the Arab countries in the Middle East. Because, every time we sell arms to an Arab nation, Israel demands that we sell (or more likely, give) them far more advanced weapons to guarantee their “qualitative military edge” (which is a “long-standing U.S. foreign policy objective” of perhaps 45 years). It is a losing proposition for virtually everyone except the military-industrial complex (defense contractors like Lockheed, Raytheon, etc.).

  7. Whizdom
    January 10, 2014, 2:40 pm

    kabuki. Saudi and Israel have common interests in isolating Iran. natural allies. They cooperate, more than they compete.
    Israel supports Saudi interests, and Saudi keeps AQ and militant Sunni extremists out of Gaza WB, Sinai, Jordan, and Southern Lebanon.

  8. MHughes976
    January 10, 2014, 5:54 pm

    On this showing Bush must have resisted some very strong pressure.

    • James Canning
      January 10, 2014, 7:47 pm

      CIA helped a great deal, to block the warmongers.

      • MHughes976
        January 11, 2014, 12:44 pm

        That is interesting. I’ve been trying – idly -to think of what bond linked the 30 or 40 Conservative MPs who stopped our participation in the Syrian War and been wondering whether it was closeness to the intelligence services, which had produced a conspicuously lukewarm statement in support of Cameron.

  9. piotr
    January 10, 2014, 6:23 pm

    Netanyahu, Prime Minister of our most precious frenemy. And the frenemy of my frenemy is …. ??? [piotr’s head exploded so he did not finish the sentence]

  10. James Canning
    January 10, 2014, 7:46 pm

    Dick Cheney was in fact keen for yet another illegal US war in the Middle East, in form of insane attack on Iran.

Leave a Reply