I recently received an email message from Rep. Mike Garcia with the caption, “Israel Needs and Deserves America’s Full, Undivided Support.”
Before I go any farther, I want to compliment Garcia for the clarity of his message. However, in this column I would like to make some counterpoints to his positions.
The first paragraph of the message concludes by stating that the House of Representatives’ “first order of business was to send our foreign enemies a clear message: We stand with Israel – full stop.”
His message also deals with funding Ukraine — or to be more specific, why Ukraine should be defunded.
Ostensibly, his principal argument is that we have given Ukraine an open checkbook with no exit strategy. He blames the White House for this, even though all such funding must be approved by Congress.
I suspect Garcia fears that Ukraine may become another Iraq or Afghanistan. Yet he apparently has expressed no such fears about Israel’s war with Iranian-backed terrorists.
I believe that it is in America’s long-term best interests to fund both Ukraine and Israel.
There is an old adage that people who ignore history are bound to repeat its mistakes. History is replete with examples of regional European conflicts that became widespread wars. Dictators who seize territory are never deterred by appeasement.
Two of the worst European conflicts occurred in the first half of the 20th century. America was drawn into both wars and paid a heavy price.
If the Ukraine war spreads elsewhere in Eastern Europe, America will undoubtedly play a leading role in the defense of Eastern European NATO countries. We are bound by treaties, and our socioeconomic interests in the European continent are far too great for us to ignore such aggression.
After World War II, the United States made an enormous commitment to fund NATO, to have a large military presence in Europe and to take whatever steps were necessary to contain what Ronald Reagan would later call the “evil empire.”
We continued supporting these endeavors even though our NATO friends took advantage of us and despite having no exit strategy.
We fought a cold war of endurance because we knew, in the long run, it was cheaper than fighting a larger war on the European continent that had the potential to become a nuclear World War III.
Ukraine is now embattled in a hot war of endurance with that same evil empire. As with the Cold War, there is no formal exit strategy except to outlast the opponent. Supporting Ukraine is part of the same strategy we have employed for the past 80 years to prevent a major European war.
Russia is counting on our support to waiver.
Now let’s look at Israel. If Garcia’s stated standard of having an exit strategy is a precondition to granting U.S. military aid, how can he support such aid to Israel?
The dispute over land in Palestine dates back to the Ottoman Empire, was exacerbated by the Balfour Declaration in 1917 and has been a continual source of hostilities since the emergence of Israel in 1947.
The Israelis and Palestinians have not been able to reach an amicable solution despite numerous attempts. Israel’s incursions into Gaza have the potential to devolve into yet another conflict of endurance. So, a lack of coherent exit strategy is clearly not a differentiating factor for Garcia in deciding whether to grant military aid to a U.S. ally.
I believe the best way to view the situation is that the world is realigning globally. Europe and the United States are seen as colonial powers by much of the world, which is not particularly interested in supporting us.
Separately, powers who see the United States, and to a lesser extent Europe, as their enemy are working in concert to replace the U.S. and its allies as a globally controlling superpower.
That is why you see Russia, China and Iran cooperating with each other.
According to his message, Garcia sees Ukraine and Gaza as two separate wars.
Conversely, I believe they are either integrated or complementary actions in which our global adversaries are engaged.
Iran is effectively helping Russia by opening up a second front that requires American aid. Russia hopes that the U.S. decouples aid to Ukraine from aid to Israel and that Ukrainian aid will be diverted to Israel.
Preventing Russian and Iranian expansion is a key to both preventing another major European war and to eventually resolving Middle East tensions, including the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
Both Ukraine and Israel are fighting proxy wars waged by our enemies. Supporting both allies is the most cost-effective way of preventing larger future wars.
Jim de Bree is a Valencia resident.