Americas aid for Israel -A Bless or a Curse?

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by mora, May 31, 2006.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:


    Financial Aid

    The Israeli government is the largest recipient of US financial aid in the world, receiving over one-third of total US aid to foreign countries4, even though Israel’s population comprises just .001% of the world’s population and has one the world’s higher per capita incomes.

    Since 1949 the US has given Israel a total of $84,854,827,200. The interest costs born by US taxpayers on behalf of Israel are $49,937,000,000 – making the total amount of aid given to Israel since 1949 $134,791,507,200 (more than $134 billion).

    An increasing number of Israelis are pointing out that these funds are not in Israel's best interest. Moreover, for every dollar the U.S. sends in arms aid, Israel must spend two to three dollars to train people to use the weaponry, to buy parts, and in other ways make use of the aid. Even "main-stream Israeli economists are saying it is very harmful to the country's future.

    Most Israeli generals believe this aid is "little more than an American subsidy to U.S. arms manufacturers," considering that the majority of military aid to Israel is used to buy weapons from the U.S. Moreover, arms to Israel create more demand for weaponry in Arab states. Thus the Israelis announced back in 1991 that they supported the idea of a freeze in Middle East arms transfers, yet it was the United States that rejected it.

    When Israel considered acquiring Russian-made Kamov fighter helicopters and European-made Airbus transport planes for reconnaissance purposes rather than U.S.-made aircraft .The U.S. departments of State and Defense had frozen the usual procurement procedures Israel follows for military equipment which it receives under the terms of its military aid package from the United States. The Israeli air force wants to use some of the funding to acquire civilian Boeing or Gulfstream aircraft and fit them with electronic reconnaissance equipment the Americans vetoed it.

    The Aerospace Industry Association which promotes these massive arms shipment is even more influential. This association has given two times more money to campaigns than all of the pro-Israel groups combined. Its force on Capitol Hill, in terms of lobbying, surpasses that of even AIPAC. The U.S. Air Force (USAF) and the U.S. military industry have a deep interest in maintaining some aviation lines, even if only a few planes a year are produced.

    Thus, the general thrust of U.S. policy would be pretty much the same even if AIPAC didn't exist.

  2. Interesting idea which is consonant with the pervasive influence of the Military-Industrial-Political complex in the US, but from the Israeli point of view:

    A) you'd still have to pay to train your people, to use whatever kit you got, buy spares etc.
    B) Who the hell else is going to give you that much kit for free?
    C) If it wasn't for Uncle Sam, you'd be throwing rocks in the streets with the Palestinian school kids.
    D) As Japan found out, it's easy to build a robust economy when the biggest part of your country's discretionary spending is paid for by somebody else.
  3. Make them yourself ... Israel is capable of making their own warplanes, I dont know about helicopters but they most probably can. They produce their own rifles, own munitions, own air to air missiles, their own SAM's, their own UAV's, their own tanks and APC's .. etc.

    Cheaper than building them yourself true but then if you build them yourself you build up your own capability and industry, some of the money will come back to the Govt.

    Actually, shooting them with Israeli made Galil's and Tavor's, or Belgian bought rifles.

    When the Americans drop Israel, Israel will simply find someone to sell their own weapons to, most likely India and/or China. Economy will most prob be rocky for a bit.
  4. Their own warplanes? Like the Kfir ( developed from stolen blueprints of the Mirage 5, with a J79 engine) and the Lavi (F-16 clone)?

    "A bit rocky"? There's the not inconsiderable fact that ISRAELI TAXPAYERS ARE GOING TO HAVE TO START PAYING FOR IT ALL! In the figures I've managed to quickly cobble together, if there is not suddenly a huge tax increase it would appear that the Israeli budget deficit would have to more than double overnight to anywhere from 5-6% of GDP- which is not healthy by anybody's reckoning. Add to this the further decline in Israel's credit rating and the risk to business growth from a likely deterioration in the security situation when the "bad guys" realise that big brother is now out of town and you have really serious economic problems.

    As for some of the money coming back to the Govt. If the UK and US can't make develop an M-I complex that is little more than a jobs program and another means for plutocrats to feed off the taxpayer's teat, what makes the Israelis different?
  5. I dont think the Lavi was a clone as such, same role though so they would look similiar, IIRC the Lavi had canards, the F-16 doesn't. Israel bought the Mirage, France refused to honour the contract so the French and Israeli's conspired to ensure that a model was flown out of the country.

    As for the engines, I believe Sweden also produces GE engines under contract ?


    Devious Israeli's

    How the cookie crumbles, I've heard a few grumblings from Israeli's that the aid they get is as harmful as it is helpful for similiar reasons.

    M-I? Speak english lad! (and dont yell I'm not deaf thank you very much).

    I suspose I'm being a bit simplistic but if the Govt in Israel buys an IMI Tavor, from an Israeli company then some of the money spent will remain in country.
  6. M-I Complex= Military Industrial Complex

    IAI Lavi


    The Lavi shared technology with with the F16, had a P&W engine, and the project received funding from the US (as do most of their major projects, including the Merkava). Of course, this in itself has come to bite the US in the ass as the technology has now been transferred to China (albeit with additional help of the transfer of a Pakistani F-16).

    Jian J-10

    In addition:

    Why buy the engines from Sweden (where they were built by Volvo) when you can get them from the Spams for free?

    Yes, some, of the money could "come back" into the Israeli economy, but this is all about cost offsets. To be sure the export sector can be a major source of revenue, but for how much longer would Israeli products be competitive when R&D is no longer paid for, and technology shared, by the United States? In all domestic defence spending, there is a net loss to the economy, since something like a tank produces contributes nothing to the growth of the economy beyond the employment of the factors of productions involved in its manufacture and maintenance. In that sense, the defence sector is very much like paying people to dig holes. (Unless you use the toys you've bought to do out and get yourself an empire like we did.)

    I do think that it is ultimately in the United States' best national interest to cut the Israelis off because in a cost/benefit analysis they cause far more problems than they solve, but for the Israelis to try and argue that they'd be better off without the United States is laughable.
  7. Built presumably on a moon made of stilton ? Sorry, military industrial complex is one of those cliche words often mouthed by the lunatic left (Yes, I know it's attributed to Eisenhower), I bin it as soon as I hear it given how often it's thrown around.

    I'd like to see some proof if you can provide it (other than very similiar looks), it's not impossible for two different aircraft designed for similiar specifications and requirements to end up looking very similiar, design leading the form, I notice the wing design is quite different.

    P&W engine, so ? Like I said, Israel is not the only nation to use american engines in indigenious planes.

    Not what I meant, I meant to point out that Israel is not the only nation to licence build US engines.

    So Israel finds another partner, China and India spring to mind ;)

    Also as far as I can tell Israeli/US projects feed tech back into the US so from a US POV it's not a loss.

    Which is true for all nation's, Israel's situation though is fairly unique and they have a very obvious and pressing need for a strong military.

    Better off? doubt it, worse off? for a time, certainly, things change. I suspect the Israeli Govt is well aware the Americans will stop backing them, if not stab them in the back, why not? The Russians did, the British and French did, why not the Americans?

    Some digging around shows the planes are quite different despite similiar looks.

    Lavi PW1120 engine, F16XL a PW F100-PW-200, or a GE F110 129

    Lavi Dimensions

    Wingspan: 8.78 m. Length: 14.57 m. Height: 4.78 m. Wing area: 33.05 m2 excluding canards and 38.50 m2 including canards. Aspect ratio: 1.83 excluding canards and 2.10 including canards. Wheel track: 2.31 m. Wheel base: 3.86 m.


    Dimensions: wingspan 34 feet 3 inches (10 metres) , length 54 feet 2 inches (16 metres) , height 17 feet 7 inches (5.36) , wing area 633 square feet., not sure how you convert wing area's from feet to metres.

    Lavi weight
    Empty weight: 7,031 kg. Normal take-off weight: 9,991 kg. Maximum take-off weight; 19,277 kg.


    Weights: around 22,000 pounds (9,979 kg) empty, 48,000 pounds (21,772kg) maximum takeoff

    Yup, US provided 40% of sourcing and without the US supporing the project the Israeli's had to drop it, however I doubt the US did it with Israel's intentions at heart, rather to provide more work for US companies and control who Israel sells technology too. Yanks have done the same to the UK as well IIRC (TSR-2 anyone?) although as far as I know they didnt provide funding for such projects.

    Another question, how much technology from the Lavi, went back into the US industry? Given 80 US companies supplying parts and technology.
  8. I guess all those Foreign & Security policy classes I sat through in grad school do come in handy every now and then :wink: :

    Ask anyone who has even a passing familiarity with the US PPBS about it (I was taught all about it by a guy who was a Naval Officer, got his PhD with Condi Rice at Denver- Madeline Albright's father was their mentor- and then went on to spend the next 27 years working in the State Dept, the DoD, the Congressional Budget Office and the US Senate.) Alternatively why not watch "Why We Fight", by Eugene Jarecki and see what nutcases talk about it there. If that's too much for you, find any 16yr old who's doing an AS level in economics and ask them to explain the idea of Guns vs Butter to you.

    You doubt me? the link to the Asia times I guess wasn't good enough for you. How does the USAF Airpower Journal suit you?

    That'll do to make my initial point- I'm sure you can read the rest for yourself.

    But my point is that they were the only ones who got them for free.

    There's nowhere near an equal contribution and you know it. It's worse than saying that the UK and US are equal partners in the JSF project.

    I actually agree with you on this one, which is exactly why Israel is not better off without the US, IMO. There's no way on Earth they could provide for their own security without the massive influx of US taxpayer dollars and technical assistance.
    Maybe so, but they wouldn't have the time, money or space to make such a transition. Whether they like it or not, they are dependent upon the largesse of the United States. The only thing that is keeping them afloat is a rather bizarre coalition in the US of the Jewish lobby, neo-conservatives, the evangelical right and defense sector lobby.

    I agree that a large part of the US decision to pressure the Israeli govt to pull the plug on the Lavi was due to the competition it posed to US products like the F-16, F/A-18 and F-20, but you have to concede that there were other big-picture issues, such as the transfer of US technologies to third parties and that due to cost over-runs, by GAO estimates the program would have swallowed up 50% of US aid to Israel.
  9. PPBS? Again .. english ;P I'm beginning to suspect you're a colonial you know ;)

    So you agree that the Lavi and F-16XL are different planes and that the Lavi is more than merely a copy of US plane that never made it out of development?

    But my point is that they were the only ones who got them for free.

    Cant be worth much then :> (sorry cheap shot and pathetic answer I know ;) Israel has also recieved numerous M16's free .. you think I'd get one for free if I ever get to the US?

    Did the UK pay for the PWR design? What were UK costs for Polaris and Trident? May not have been free but I wouldn't be surprised if we got them at near cost.

    BTW What did we pay for the US nuclear weapon designs?

    Indeed, US companies get to sell their services and try out their technology for the Israeli's and then feed back into projects for the American military, or licence build the end product for the US.

    They'll find means, or go under. One thing I doubt (and you've not claimed this) is that the US dropping it's support will not help the peace process one iota, it won't change Hamas and other Arab factions demands on Israel, if anything it will simply make the Israeli's more desperate, and thus more likely to find extreme solutions acceptable (eg, they could just take a page out of Iraq, Sudan or Iran's books).

    If you're argument is that if the US drops it support Israel goes under you may want to consider that if Israel feels they're about to be destroyed, they will take as much of the middle east as they can with them.

    Is that in the interests of the US?
  10. If I have to explain to you what the PPBS is then you're not really qualified to make the statement that the Military-Industrial Complex doesn't exist. but, I'll enlighten you- PPBS is the DoD Planning, Programming & Budgeting System.

    It sounds like it's all very organised, but it is in actual fact the biggest fuster-cluck in Washington. It's sort of the Pentagon's bastard child of the 5 Year Plan and it's used to decide what gets funded, when it gets funded and how much of will be funded within a certain time frame. This is the trough that Lockheed Martin, GD, Northrop Grumman, BAe Systems, United Technologies etc. feed at. Delve into its depths and you'll hear all kinds of wonderful phrases an euphemisms such as the the "The Revolving Door" and "Washington Monument Drills" (the list is endless as far as I can tell). Even Kelsey Grammar has made films about their shennanigans (See The Pentagon Wars)- and none of this includes what happens when the budget request reaches Congress.

    Re: Anglo-American nuclear cooperation. Yes there are some issues, especially legal ones (such as violations of the principles of the NPT as well as the MTCR)* However, the Manhattan Project as it became really got moving at Manchester University and moved to the US, specifically the University of Chicago and the New Mexico desert when it was decided that maybe Salford wasn't the best place to trial the dropping of a bucket of sunshine (more's the pity really).

    When I wrote "go under" I meant in an economic sense, rather than their obliteration as a state. Their economy will be in absolute rag orderif they have to start paying the costs of their own defence entirely by themselves (they have around 10% unemployment now and for decades have been constantly struggling to keep government spending under control) . I agree with you entirely that the withdrawal of US support won't help the peace process. I was merely commenting that, especially with the end of the Cold War, the United States' unquestioning and uncritical support of Israel and its government policies does them more harm than good. Yes, American defence contractors do very nicely out of the arrangement, but US credibility and influence is limited in key parts of the world as a result.

    *Non-Proliferation Treaty and Missile Technology Control Regime (Just in case.)
  11. So mora, what's your thesis?

    1. AIPAC is an irrelevance and millions of $$$ are being wasted on funding it?
    2. AIPAC is an irrelevance as Israeli defence spending is determined by "The Aerospace Industry Association"?
    3. AIPAC is an irrelevance as Israeli defence spending is determined by "The U.S. departments of State and Defense"?
    4. The IDF Generals are an irrelevance as Israeli defence spending is determined by "The Aerospace Industry Association" and/or "The U.S. departments of State and Defense"?
    5. The Israeli Govt is an irrelevance as Israeli defence spending is determined by "The Aerospace Industry Association" and/or "The U.S. departments of State and Defense"?

    And to answer your question, if the Israeli Govt thinks America's aid is a curse, it could always say 'no thank you' the next time Uncle Sam arrives with a bag full of $$$.
  12. You misunderstand, people go on about the M&I so often that it's a bit of a watch word ... someone knocking on your door and mentioning "jesus christ" is another. At no point have I claimed to be qualified in the area of procurement for a military.

    It's just I've heard to many hopping-up-and-down-foaming-at-mouth lefties rant on about it to give it any credence.

    I suspect Americans do project management better than the British do, but I wouldn't be surprised to hear if their procurement methods were less than sterling.

    I thought the NPT only barred tech and knowledge transfer to nations that did not already have the ability to design, build and test nuclear weapons, the UK had proven that it had that technology and ability prior to us buying in American expertise and thus transfers were not in breach of the NPT?

    Not sure about UK efforts in delivery systems.

    Unfortuantly if they go into economic collapse then political turmoil will take place, could lead to another war (either hard liners in Israel, or Arab oppurtunists).

    Nice bind British diplomacy and the UN has (once again) got us into.

    I would question "unquestioning and uncritical", perhaps under Clinton's administration Govt criticism of Israel seemed mute but the Republicans have been a bit more open about certain areas that have displeased them (Bush criticised Israel within months of getting into office, plus pressure over the Phalcon to China deal, peace process, comments made by Israeli Govt, etc). Certainly the US is in a position to put more pressure on Israel, but to what point? The Palestinians need to sign on and agree, and need to carry through their obligations.

    TBH though both sides have been stupid petty little bastards, at times ... eg most times.

    Which can't be helped, a nation's foreign policy isn't about winning a popularity contest after all. Israel's foundation may have been a mistake (certainly in the siting of, Australia would have been far more beneficial, or better still a US state) but not one that can be erased. It's here, it has a right to exist, until the palestinians come to terms with that they're going to be the ones that keep paying the price.

    Cheeky ;P
  13. How would you know? You've admitted that you're no expert on the subject. I didn't think so either when I started looking at it- how wrong I was. Do a little digging around into the development of the Bradley, B-1B, B-2, F-22, NLOS Cannon/Crusader, BMD etc. For example, take a look at this GAO report (the Spam version of the Audit Commission):

    Oh, that's true- the language is very carefully drafted, but it does smack of a double-standard, doesn't it?
  14. I love the word "suspect", it's nice vague and ambigious, unlike "I know" ... it's a general comment based on observations made within the company I work for (US based).

    Your argument would be valid had I made it as a statement of fact.

    How is it double standards? The UK had proven that it had independantly acquired the ability to design build and deploy nuclear devices (and all prior to the NPT coming into effect anyway). It's my understanding that the NPT is partly aimed at preventing countries with the expertise passing that expertise and knowledge onto countries that don't.

    The parts that are hypocritical is that the NPT seeks to prevent nations that do not yet have nuclear weapons to acquire nuclear weapons (and seemingly ineffective in at least one case), but nations don't have to sign, Israel being an obvious example.

    Are there provisions preventing a nation that has signed the NPT from giving expertise to a nation that hasnt?
  15. OK, we're going off thread here. Article I states:

    Each nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to transfer to any recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly; and not in any way to assist, encourage, or induce any non-nuclear weapon State to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, or control over such weapons or explosive devices.

    Note that it doesn't specify that the Non-NWS has to be party to the treaty, the onus is on the NWS not to act.

    Note that the British developed their own nuclear weapons (with US assistance) before the NPT was signed in 1968, but one should also note that the NPT also has a provision whereby the Nuclear Weapons States must make good faith efforts to work towards nuclear disarmament. Article VI states:

    Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a Treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.

    The transfer of Trident & Polaris, as well as techinical information relating to the development and design of warheads I think violates, at the very least, the spirit of the NPT as this policy directly leads to the horizontal proliferation of nuclear weapons. Could the UK presently afford to develop and maintain its own nuclear deterrent without extensive US support?