The link below reports that a former Israeli Defense Minister, Moshe Arens, has suggested that the Israelis consider teaming with an international partner other than the USA to develop a new top-of-the-line fighter aircraft. Ever since Barack Obama became the US President, the once-warm relations between the USA and the Israelis have turned distinctly chilly. Obama has seemed openly anti-Israeli and pro-Palestinian on many issues. The number one policy goal of the Israelis is their national survival. Their relationship with the USA is secondary to that goal. Indeed, everything else is secondary to that goal. Looking at things from the Israeli point of view, Obama’s chilliness toward the Israelis means that Obama may not honor weapons agreements with the Israelis in the future, and the Israelis need to prepare for that possibility.
Mr. Arens is not likely to have floated this “trial balloon” publicly without approval from the Israeli government. He suggested France, Russia or India as possible weapons partners. Let’s consider these three options. Russia is the leader of the prophesied anti-western Gog-Magog alliance and it has a history of strong anti-Semitism (remember the pogroms?), so it is not likely to be a reliable partner to the Israelis. France was strongly pro-Israeli when the Jewish state was founded in 1948, but became anti-Israeli afterwards and stopped selling weapons to the Israelis. The French are also known for sudden shifts in governments and policies. The Israelis need a stable partner in major weapons programs and since France has proven to be an unreliable weapons provider in the past, France is not a likely partner either in my view. India makes sense to me as a strategic partner to the Israelis. Both are existentially threatened by radical Islamic nations (the Israelis by Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas) and India is threatened by Pakistan (and Pakistan’s traditional ally, China). This fact should make India and the Israelis reliable and highly-motivated partners for many years to come. The link also cites Sweden as a possible partner for an Israeli warplane project due to its past interest in being such a partner. Sweden has a strong aeronautical weapons tradition of its own. If Sweden, India and the Israelis join forces on a warplane project, I’ll bet they will come up with a very cutting-edge warplane.
Obama’s anti-Israeli policy could have nasty domestic political considerations too. If the Israelis take their aeronautical business elsewhere due to an inability to trust the USA as long as Obama is president, that will jeopardize jobs at US military/defense plants. The workers at those plants are most likely to all be union members who vote heavily Democrat in elections. If they lose their jobs due to Obama’s anti-Israeli policies, those unionists who lose their jobs will likely never vote Democrat again. If Obama drives the Israelis into a weapons alliance with India, an Israeli-Indian produced warplane would likely be sold at a much cheaper price on the world market than a US-made warplane because an Israeli-Indian warplane would not be made with high-cost union labor. That would cost the US a lot of jobs at US defense plants. Maybe Moshe Arens had these thoughts at the back of his mind when he lofted his “trial balloon.” I wonder if anyone in the White House has the insight to see this very bad possible consequence to Obama’s anti-Israeli policies.