I think what has been most telling in the Wikileaks release has less what has been released—which has been nothing substantively new, and in a moment when there is simple a torrent of information available, simply overwhelming to people not short of information but of people to act on it—but instead what the sifting through of the information reveals about those who comment about it. The lunatics assume that Julian Assange is a CIA-plant, a Zionist operative, a stooge, a villain, a triple-agent, or whatever else their minds come up with. Busy looking for subterranean conspiracies, they refuse to see the conspiracy right out in the open: class war, neo-colonialism, occupation, domination.

What has been second-most telling is the texture of interactions between Israeli officials and their American counterparts, which we do not get to see very frequently, because the documents ordinarily would remain under seal for 25 years. What emerges is a negotiating process, neither dog nor tail dominating, but two allies discussing how to dominate the Middle East to what they understand as their respective advantage, an advantage that usually overlaps and sometimes does not (Of course, the U.S. conception of its “advantage” and interests is informed by the allies of Israel whispering advice in its ears. What is missed is that the Israeli conception of its own advantages and interest is in turn informed by the imperial alliance. Absent that aid, political and materiel, it would be forced to conceive of its interests differently).

The relationship is institutionally embedded and not the simplistic puppet-puppeteer or puppeteer-puppet model that people wish to work with. Furthermore, geo-political interests are understood with reference to the profit drive. The Pentagon’s interests are not determined by the profit drive. The issue is how the profit drive remains the gravitational assumption that informs policy-planning. Or, as Jason Vest has pointed out with respect to JINSA, “Almost every retired officer who sits on JINSA’s board of advisers or has participated in its Israel trips or signed a JINSA letter works or has worked with military contractors who do business with the Pentagon and Israel.” The image of that revolving door is burned into the back of the minds of American and Israeli generals alike as they negotiate over “security” needs in the Middle East.

Still, it is usually the Pentagon that is first up at bat. The US government first conceives of its own interests, vis-à-vis arms sales to Arab states. It then tests those arms sales against Israeli concerns. For example, in a 2009 meeting, Israeli officials

Said that Israel understands U.S. policy intentions to arm moderate Arab states in the region to counter the Iranian threat, and prefers such sales originate from the United States instead of other countries like Russia or China.  However, Israel continues to stress the importance of identifying potential risks that may become future threats or adversaries, and for this reason maintains several objections as indicated in the official GOI response to the QME non-paper on potential U.S. arms sales to the region.

The governing assumptions are both dominance and the need for American military exports.

However, there is also something else that oddly goes unremarked-upon here, which is the Israeli preference for such sales to originate in the United States. This serves two purposes. The first is that when Israel also gets its arms from the United States, it can be sure that it will remain in possession of more advanced weapons from the same production lines. However, there’s something else, too. Israeli defense officials are tightly tied in with the Israeli defense industry. They know not only that the US is likely to “outsource” some of the weapons production to Israel, but that “Israeli” capital will benefit from arms construction in the United States. Why? Because Israeli capital and American capital are quite hard to distinguish at this point in the game.

Their military-industrial complexes are basically intertwined, with one very important caveat: the main production lines, for example for fighter jets, are kept within America, not Israel, so that America can try to maintain the domestic military industrial complex with which it attempts to dominate the world through force. Israeli officials, aware of these concerns and these facts, still try to get access to the documents on the qualitative military edge before it goes off to Congress, so they can review them against their own concerns:

GOI officials also expressed continued interest in reviewing the QME report prior to its submission to Congress.  A/S [Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Andrew] Shapiro reiterated that the report was based on an assessment from the intelligence community, and therefore not releasable to the GOI…GOI interlocutors attempted to make the argument that moderate Arab countries could in the future become adversaries — and that this should be taken into account in the QME process.

Shapiro went on to say in another cable that the more important thing was not clearing all decisions with Israel [obviously] but “transparency – while there may be differences between Israel and the United States in terms of a regional assessment, the key is to ensure that there are no surprises.” Tell your ally what you are doing. Don’t ask your ally permission to do what you want to do.

Technorati Tags: armacoreIsraellobbymilitary industrial complexPalestineweapons exportsWikileaksZionism

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