In August 1979, a Republican candidate for president named Ronald Reagan published an op-ed in the Washington Post titled “Recognizing the Israeli Asset.” The piece examined the Middle East from Reagan’s fundamental perspective on American foreign policy as a “We win, they lose” fight against totalitarian Communism; as Reagan wrote, “the paramount American interest in the Middle East is to prevent the region from falling under the domination of the Soviet Union.”
While most eyes were turned to Europe and our NATO allies, Reagan recognized the seriousness of the Soviet threat to key energy resources in the Middle East, and that both America and our European and Asian allies could be jeopardized by Soviet control over these economic lifelines. Rather than despairing, however, Reagan looked for opportunities, and pointed out that Israel provided a vital bulwark against Soviet expansionism in the Middle East that could protect American security interests. He rightly concluded that Israel could be a vital American strategic ally — and, better yet, it was a like-minded democracy.
Reagan’s analysis proved prescient. Throughout his presidency, Israel repeatedly contained the advances of Soviet-backed states, playing a vital role in President Reagan’s ultimate victory over the USSR.
Today, however, the United States faces a new existential threat that is every bit as serious as Communism: radical Islamic terrorism. And the Middle East has become ground zero in our generation’s challenge.
Israel has been on the front lines of this fight for decades. On the one hand we have the Islamic Republic of Iran and its network of Shiite militias threatening stability throughout the region and beyond. Iran has exerted control and influence over four Arab capitals. These are no longer proxy interventions; they are direct threats to these nations’ sovereignty made even more serious by Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.
On the other hand, radical Sunni terrorist organizations including (but certainly not limited to) ISIS and al-Qaeda are waging violent jihad against America and our allies at every opportunity — and as the recent attacks on Paris and San Bernardino demonstrate, this is not an isolated regional threat but rather one that aims to strike at the heart of Western democracies.
Given these threats to our vital national interests, Israel stands out even more clearly than in Reagan’s time as a critical ally on the first line of Western defense in the face of expansionist ambitions of Iran and Islamic supremacist networks.
The fundamentally misguided Obama-Clinton foreign policy has, however, lurched in the opposite direction. The shocking revelation on Tuesday by the Wall Street Journal of the unprecedented surveillance campaign this administration launched — not on the supreme leader of Iran to prevent him from getting a nuclear weapon, but on the prime minister of Israel to prevent him from stopping the president’s disastrous nuclear deal with Tehran —is only the most recent example of the Obama administration’s outrageous behavior toward Israel that has only served to embolden Israel’s enemies — who are our enemies, too.
If elected president, on my first day in office the world will know that the American-Israeli alliance is back. For starters, my administration will immediately recognize Jerusalem as the eternal, undivided capital of Israel and so the proper location of the U.S. embassy.
Moving forward, we must continue to support Israel’s regional qualitative military edge, and I will make sure that, especially in light of the worsening security climate caused by Iran and ISIS, Israel has everything it needs to defend itself as we complete the negotiations on the 2017 Memorandum of Understanding between our two countries. The new MoU will be an important opportunity to refine our security partnership on a range of subjects. But it will also be an even more important opportunity to make clear to the world that this alliance is once again a strategic bedrock for the United States.
In addition, I will immediately reassess U.S. policy towards the Palestinian Authority. No American tax dollars should go to an organization that incites hatred against Israel and seeks to partner with terrorist groups. I will move to defund the United Nations if it continues its anti-Israel bias, and withdraw federal funding from any American university that boycotts Israel.
In the face of dangerous and expanding radical Islamist threats, the next president must, like President Reagan, look for opportunities. The emergence of a flourishing, pro-American democracy in Israel has been one of the great strategic gifts to the United States over the last 70 years. A strong Israel, robustly supported by America, is indispensable to Middle East security. And America’s security is significantly enhanced by a strong Israel. Israel has been, is, and always will be the Middle East bulwark in defense of the West. We should celebrate our alliance, not squander it.
Ted Cruz is a senator from Texas and Republican presidential candidate. Contact: www.tedcruz.org
From: Des Moines Register