(October 18, 2020 / JNS) While U.S. voters and media are preoccupied with domestic concerns, at stake are critical issues that will determine the state of an increasingly volcanic world, with implications for U.S. national security. These issues highlight a dramatic gap between the worldviews and policies of President Trump and Vice President Biden.
• Will the U.S. posture of deterrence be bolstered by sustaining the recent increase in its defense budget, in the face of the proliferation of rogues regimes, Islamic terrorism and conventional and non-conventional military capabilities? Or will the U.S. reduce its defense budget, thus diminishing its posture of deterrence?
• Will the United States sustain the military and financial pressure on Iran’s ayatollahs, the primary enemy of the United States and its Arab allies, with a substantial terrorist and drug-trafficking network in South and Central America? Or will the United States join the 2015 Iran nuclear accord, which provided a $150 billion tailwind to the ayatollahs’ conventional and non-conventional attempts to topple all pro-U.S. Arab regimes and expand into Central Asia, the Middle East, the Mediterranean basin, Africa, Latin America and the rest of the globe?
• Will the United States uphold its support of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait in their battle against transnational Muslim Brotherhood terrorism? Or will the United States re-embrace the organization, as it did during its 2009-2013 courting of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood?
• Will the White House remain inaccessible to Muslim Brotherhood-controlled organization in the United States (e.g., CAIR, ISNA, MSA)? Or will the United States renew the diplomatic and political outreach to this largest Islamic terror organization, which has political branches and affiliates in some 70 countries, including the United States?
• Will the United States sustain its war on Islamic terrorism? Or will Washington revert to underestimating the global threat of Islamic terrorism, and prohibit any reference to it by government organizations while referring to it as “workplace violence” (the term attributed to the 2009 murder of 13 American soldiers in Fort Hood, Texas, by a Muslim terrorist)?
• Will the United States persist in approaching Palestinian hate education and terrorism as ideology-driven phenomena that have haunted Arabs (since the 1950s), as well as Israel, aligning the Palestinians with enemies and adversaries of the United States? Or will the United States resurrect the concept that Palestinian terrorism is, supposedly, despair-driven, worthy of U.S. gestures?
• Will the United States continue to recognize the “Arab Tsunami” as a clear and present threat to the United States and its Arab allies? Or will Washington recycle the fallacy that the wave of terrorism and civil wars in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen and Bahrain that erupted in 2010 is an “Arab Spring,” “march of democracy” and “Facebook and youth revolution”?
• Will the United States maintain the independence of its unilateral national security action, in defiance of the United Nations and Europe? Or will it renew the universal approach (e.g., the 2015 Iran nuclear accord), which constrains its strategic maneuverability and subordinates its interests to multilateral concerns?
• Will the United States persist in expanding the Israel-Arab peace process, by recognizing the limited and negative role accorded to the Palestinian issue by the Arabs? Or will it ignore Middle East reality in general, and the peace accords between Israel and Egypt, Jordan, the UAE and Bahrain in particular, misperceiving the Palestinian issue as the root cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the crown jewel of Arab policy-makers, providing the Palestinians with veto power over the Israel-Arab peace process?
• Will the United States stick to the current policy, which does not consider Israeli withdrawals as a prerequisite to peace? Or will Washington once again assume that Israeli concessions are a precondition to peaceful coexistence?
• Will the United States persist in recognizing that Israel’s control of the Golan Heights, and the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria, deters and constrains radical elements (Iran, Syria and Hezbollah), which threaten Israel, Jordan and other pro-U.S. Arab regimes? Or will it resume the policy which assumes that Israel’s control of these dominant areas is the trigger of the Arab-Israeli conflict?
• Will the United States continue to realize that “foreign aid” is a misnomer for an annual U.S. investment in Israel—a unique force multiplier—which yields an annual rate of return of a few hundred percent via unique intelligence, upgrades of U.S. defense industries, enhancement of battle tactics and advanced commercial and defense technologies, as well as sparing the United States the need to deploy additional troops to the region? Or will it ignore Israel’s unique contributions to its economy and national security and consider “foreign aid” leverage to squeeze concessions out of the Jewish state?
• Will the outcome of the November election trigger a sigh of relief in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates? Or will it trigger celebrations in Teheran and Muslim Brotherhood headquarters?
The outcome of the November 2020 election will be determined by major domestic issues, such as health, the economy, law and order, and the appointment of Supreme Court justices. However, as critical as these issues are, and while only a small minority of U.S. voters are preoccupied with national security and foreign issues, they should realize that the next president of the United States will determine the state of a tectonic globe, and, in turn, U.S. national and homeland security.
Yoram Ettinger is a former ambassador and head of Second Thought: A U.S.-Israel Initiative.
This article was first published by The Ettinger Report.
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