US and Israel should redefine their relationship

The United States needs to cut the umbilical cord already — we’re raising an overfed, undisciplined and entitled brat child (that kind that nobody wants to be around).

The Israeli government must be able to make its own decisions without looking over its shoulder for our approval at every major juncture.

There has historically been a palpable tension in the Middle East between Israel and virtually all of its Arab and Persian neighbors to the point that threats of all out war sound more like “crying wolf” to us today.

Four thousand years into the conflict and nothing has been — or likely ever will be — resolved. The situation is hairy, and our money is not going to end these millennia-old debates for Holy Lands and sovereignty.

What our $3 billion a year will do is enrage countries like Iran, Syria and Palestine even more. It will continue to create a co-dependent and anemic little brother of a country that is increasingly incapable of either true self-defense or politically realistic decision making.

Moreover, it will add to the jeopardizing money woes that are ever looming over the heads of American taxpayers.

So where’s the upside?

For Israel it must seem like a great deal. Who turns down free money?

But I argue that — just like the pampered teenage girl with a sparkly new Range Rover and a trust fund — Israel’s hopes of learning a genuine sense of responsibility are counterintuitively thwarted by our unyielding beneficence.

A smothering bandage can cause a wound to fester and become infected.

Perhaps our leaders feel like they’re “doing the right thing” by supporting Israel, but this is — at best — naive and short-sighted, and at worst destroying any hopes of stability in the Arab-Israel conflict. Imagine fighting with your sibling for a family heirloom that you both think is rightfully yours.

Would you want an utterly unqualified and imposing stranger, who happens to side with your sibling, to step in and force you to give up the relic? Palestinian frustrations continue to mount due to our constant interference.

While the intent of aid is noble (or something), it completely fails on all fronts to advance Israel’s cause in a healthy or lasting way and is a great financial tumor on our already cancer-ridden economy.

But let’s play out the two likely scenarios for the sake of debate.

Suppose that the United States continues to give borrowed money to Israel to the tune of a few billion dollars a year. Will the hostility of surrounding countries disappear? Doubtful. Will it increase? Very likely.

Will there come an end to the deep-rooted territorial claims? Certainly not. Will America be unnecessarily burdened and risk further fiscal or military crises? I believe so.

This trend of money giving has been a staple of American foreign policy since the Truman administration.

Yet Prime Minister Netanyahu seems to imply, by his frightened begging, that Israel stands in greater peril today than at any point since its independence in 1948.

Can we consider this charitable babying a justifiable position today? What is the best trajectory we could hope to achieve by a continuation of such a feckless and ineffective aid policy?

Now consider the end of Israeli monetary support. Would Israel crumble and be invaded? I think this is a possible outcome in either scenario and cannot be used to argue for or against the current tactic — the likelihood of an attack on Israel could plausibly be increased by either approach.

Would other countries take Israel more seriously? Probably. Might Israel finally handle their problems on their own? One would hope. Would the United States be better off? Definitely.

Ultimately, I see a very shallow, murky puddle of distorted conclusions for the Israeli aid hypothesis to float in — but a deep and shimmering sea of realities upon which the vessel of non-interventionism is hoisting its sails.

Would you set off on the maiden voyage of the USS Everybody Wins or play with sticks in the mud of impractical, old-guard tradition?

Jason Kincaid is a junior philosophy major. His column appears Wednesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.