The Ettinger Report
THE GOLAN HEIGHTS AND THE FACTS No. 19
(While Yoram wrote this some time ago, the topic of the Golan is returning once again. See earlier posting concerning Mitchell and the Golan.)
US Security Guarantees – Insurance Policy or Delusion?
1 The late Prime Minister Golda Meir to Former Secretary of State, William Rogers: “Should Israel withdraw to the 1967 Lines – relying on your security guarantees – by the time your forces arrive, it may be too late.” (March 1970 discussions on the Rogers Plan)
Five and a half months were required for the US, in 1990/91, to deploy its forces to the Persian Gulf, in order to liberate Kuwait. By that time Kuwait was pillaged by Iraq. A switch in the vote of only three Senators would have prohibited the US deployment to the Persian Gulf.
2 “A mutual defense pact does not have the value it once commanded, and it may not be worth the political cost entailed in its negotiation...as interests change so will the force of the commitment...the protector [the US and not Israel] decides whether to act in a given case, and there must be a strategic reason as well as a moral one... “The post-Vietnam political setting puts real limits on how a president can react in a crisis... The very process of negotiating a mutual security treaty would stir up a debate in the US, more divisive than an undertaking to supply aid and military cooperation; it would cause internal disruption in Israel, underscore the patron-client relationship and exaggerate the value of assurances...” (Prof. Noah Pelcovits, International Expert on Security Guarantees, UCLA Political Science Dept., Security Guarantees in a Middle East Settlement, SAGE Publications, London, 1976, pp.25, 26, 29).
3 “It would be a grave error to assume that a Commitment, however impeccable its constitutional credentials, would carry with it any automatic assurance of fulfillment... The President may normally terminate any form of executive commitment...including a defense pact [e.g. President Carter terminating the defense pact with Taiwan]... “A treaty can never entail more than a contingent and tentative promise to use force in the future... Congress may terminate by legislation use-of-force authorization... Although executive commitments and treaties are not terminated by Congress, they may be nullified in practice by means of the power of the purse and the legislative power...” (Prof. Michla Pomerance, International Authority on Security Guarantees, Hebrew University Political Science Dep’t, American Guarantees to Israel, 1974, pp. 15-27.)
4 “Nations seeking to evade their commitments to support another state’s independence and territorial integrity have never failed to find the means of doing so.” (Prof. Alan Dowty, International Expert on Security Guarantees, Notre Dame University International Relations Dept., The Role of Great Power Guarantees in International Peace Agreements, The Leonard Davis Institute for International Relations, February 1974).
5 The initiatives to accord Israel security guarantees have usually been undertaken by a few anti-Israel legislators and administration officials (e.g. William Fullbright and George Ball). Such initiatives have not been intended to promote Israel’s security and its ties with the US. The hidden agenda was to deny Israel its national security assets, to roll it back to the 1967 Lines, to appease the Arab oil-producing countries, to undermine Israel’s standing in the eyes of the US public and Congress, to deepen Israel’s dependency upon the US, to depict Israel as a strategic liability, to make Israel more susceptible to international pressures and to erode its posture of deterrence!
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