Tuesday, May 20, 2014

US Pressures Israel Out Of $13B Contract For Missile Sales To Poland

Israel has been forced by U.S. pressure to bow out of a contract worth $13 billion to build a missile defense system for Poland.

The Poles were interested in buying David's Sling, manufactured at Israel's state-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. It is an advanced system designed to shoot down heavy rockets and cruise missiles using interceptor missiles.

Since the system uses missiles that  are produced by Raytheon, a U.S. company, the U.S. quietly exercised  an 'export veto'  to force Israel to withdraw and allow Raytheon to get the lucrative contract.

Israel apparently went along with the veto even though Rafael is capable of producing its own interceptor missiles, according to what one of my Notorious Little Birdies told me. Based what a source identified as an Israeli defense official told Reuters, Israel's Rafael will be allowed to have a lesser role in a future U.S.-led arms sale to Poland.

"The Americans will be happy, the Poles will be happy, and there'll be something left over for us," he said.

Why is this story important? I just want the usual Israel haters who whine about 'all that money the U.S. gives Israel' to see some of what that $3 billion, almost all of which is spent here in the U.S. on American weapons buys.

Nor is this the only time this has happened.

Now you know one reason why America's alliance with Israel is one of the greatest U.S. foreign policy bargains in history.


Anonymous said...

We don't have much choice right now so we have to bow to American pressure. But the day will come, sooner than most think, when we will build our own military equipment in cooperation with India & China, possibly even Russia.
We won't need American ''aid'' which comes at too high a price (especially the political price).
As they say, competition is good for business, not that I expect the Americans to agree, LOL

B.Poster said...

This appears to be an extraordinarily stupid decision on the part of the American government. When the US, Polish, and Czech governments first proposed missile defense systems for eastern Europe, these systems were wholly inadequate to deal with missile attacks from Russia and were only serving to provide Russia with a pretext for more aggressive action against these former Soviet and Eastern Bloc states. As such, the majority of the people in these countries were wisely opposed to such systems that would have zero utility against a Russian threat. Since the Islamic terrorist supporting states, North Korea, and Iran are primarily targeting America they did not want to become a target for these powers by agreeing to host such a system. As such, the people were wisely opposed to this. The US still does not have a technology today nor is it anywhere close to a technology that could hope to counter Russian missiles.

What has changed for Poland and why would an Israeli system be acceptable when a US system was not acceptable? I assert two possibilities. 1.)The Israelis have developed a missile defense system that can counter Russia. 2.)While a majority of Poles were wisely opposed the American backed system, special interests wanted this system for a variety of reasons. These same special interests in Poland and special interests in Israel now want something similar.

If 1 is the case, US officials should welcome this with open arms. It is clear to any rational observer that the terms of our involvement with NATO is badly in need of renegotiation. A missile defense shield capable of countering Russia would be a welcome development in this regard giving us and them the breathing space to redeploy our forces and to renegotiate the terms of NATO. Such a renegotiation of the NATO treaty should be a huge benefit to our relations with these nations.

If 2 is the case, then we've managed to p!ss off the Israelis and the Poles both at the same time. If America is to survive let alone thrive, we are going to need good relations with these people. Any way this is looked at, this looks like a bad decision.

There is another possibility. Since Israel is vunerable to American pressure at present, the Russians may be using this to their advantage. First America gets pressured then Israel gets pressured. It seems to work this way quite a bit. It should be clear to any rational observer that the US made one of the biggest foreign policy blunders in the history of civilization when it entered into the situation involving Russia and Ukraine. The longer the US fails to extricate itself from this the more humiliation it suffers and the greater the risk of catastrophic ruin.

Since Russian officials have stated that a new cold war is not needed, they may be prepared to offer America some face saving measures in order to allow America to extricate itself from this mess. Part of the deal may be America pressures Israel not to develop this system. In exchange Russia allows America a face saving exit from the clearly unwinnable conflict with Russia it has managed to bumble its way into. The statements by Russian officials of a withdraw of troops from Ukraine may be a part of this as well.

As I don't envision Russia allowing America to save face, I think 2 is most likely. The US government is just stupid. The sooner Israel changes the so called "special relationship" with America the better this will be for both nations.

Rob said...

Here's a mind puzzler for you , Poster:

"When the US, Polish, and Czech governments first proposed missile defense systems for eastern Europe, these systems were wholly inadequate to deal with missile attacks from Russia and were only serving to provide Russia with a pretext for more aggressive action against these former Soviet and Eastern Bloc states."

So if the systems were 'wholly inadequate' to counteract a Russian missile attack, pray tell me...why were the Russians so heated about not wanting the anti-missile sites installed? What did they have to lose from such 'inadequate' defenses?

And while you're pondering that one, here's another:

"As such, the majority of the people in these countries were wisely opposed to such systems that would have zero utility against a Russian threat."

First, do you have any facts showing that the majority of Poles and Czechs were opposed? They weren't.

And if that's true, why after Obama reneged on his commitment did the press and politicians in the Czech Republic and Poland
scream bloody murder about how they were 'betrayed' and sold out?

Oh, and as for that 'inadequate system you keep talking about? The one the Poles were looking at buying, David's Sling uses the same radar system the proposed U.S. missile defense system did..the Green Pine radar, an Israeli product...with a few upgrades to bring it up to date.

As for why the Poles decided to upgrade, there's no conspiracy involved. They're looking at how Putin's operating in Ukraine, know how feckless and unreliable Obama is and want their own system for protection. And they're buying American because (a) they're hoping to buy more U.S. arms in the future and (b)with the Israelis out of the picture, the only other alternative is a French system that really isn't quite as good and depends on French parts, something the Poles are wary of since France has started selling arms and other goods to Russia in exchange for gas and oil.

BTW, the Poles sent combat troops to both Iraq and Afghanistan.They were loyal and dependable allies until Obama came on the scene.

B.Poster said...

As for the mind puzzler, I think I answered it in the reply itself. The missile defense served as a "pretext." Another way to state this might be to say it provided an "excuse" for Russia to mobilize and threaten its neighbors. The Russians seem to be very image conscious. This is part of basic war fighting strategy. They became "heated" because they needed to appear as though they were threatened to justify their actions. Without the systems this goes along way toward removing the excuse.

The State Department and other parts of the US government never understood this. This is partly why when discussing this they had that deer in the headlights look throughout. Unfortunately the Russians can now rightly claim they made us back down which only adds fuel to their fire so to speak. A better approach would have been not to introduce an inadequate system to that situation.

The Poles and the Czechs rightly understood this even if their leaders did not. Polling on this was reported back at the time in such diverse places as Fox News, USA and counterpunch.org. Additionally USA Today did some reporting on this, as I recall. There was also a report done on this in my local newspaper. I think you could do a google search on this. I'm sure some of the sources are still archived.

I think they screamed bloody murder as you put it because a cash cow dried up. They hoped to use us to get something. All nations I believe do this to an extent. I think I've written on this situation before.

As for the radar system and other aspects, the Israelis may have taken an American system and upgraded it to one that would be adequate to defend against a Russian missile attack. As I understand it, they are quite good at this sort of thing. If they have done this, we should be embracing this wholeheartedly. It enables us to have a more robust capability when dealing with Russia and it would be extremely helpful in allowing us breathing space to focus military resources in areas that make much more sense for us.

More likely though I think this appears to be a group of contractors attempting to make some money at the expense of the citizens of these nations. I'm thinking something along the lines of the US F-35. Besides as I understand it the US is not supplying a missile defense system to Poland. Besides if buying from France was a bad idea buying from the US would be an even worse idea right now. The US is about to need do some serious contrition to try and get out of its Ukraine fiasco. Essentially we've managed to p!ss off two allied countries over this. Should have just stayed out of it!!

If the Israelis really have figured out a way to counter Russian missile technology, then we've just blew perhaps the best opportunity to advance our national security interests to come along in perhaps the last 50 years or more. No matter how this is viewed, it is appears to be an extremely stupid decision. I think we would probably agree with that.

If the Israelis truly have such a system, I'd expect them and the Poles to be fed up with American stupidity and move on without us on this. If they haven't then both sides may just go along with this for now.

As for sending troops to Iraq and Afghanistan, it is now clear that we should not have sent ours there either. Even under the best of circumstances with flawless execution, the goals our leadership set for these missions were going to be a long shot at best. Given the horrible execution, this made achievement of these goals impossible. At this point, it became unrealistic for the Poles to expect much. Bottom line they and used bad judgment in these areas. We should be trying to determine where we go from here. For that matter, I certainly don't expect Poles to fight shoulder to shoulder with us should we be invaded.