Western Policy & Israel
To the Editor:
I have read with great interest the excellent analysis of the Middle East situation in your lead article of the August issue (“Can the Middle East Be Held?” by G. F. Hudson). If I were a Zionist or an Israeli citizen, I would pray God to save me from my friends; for in his zeal to argue Israel’s case, the author concludes that the U.S. should use Israel as a toehold in Asia or as a sort of shield against the onrushing Arab flood. Isn’t this precisely the policy which the Arabs accuse us of following? Moreover, it is the kind of policy which is most likely to alienate from us any country which we propose to use in this manner.
The Arabs no longer are willing to serve as tools of Western policies; Israel may not like to be our battering ram either. Already Mr. Ben Gurion has tendered an olive branch to Nasser; speaking in the Knesset he hinted that Israel might not continue her Western affiliation, provided Nasser were ready to do business with Israel. In fact, the Arab resentment against Israel as a cultural intruder may subside now that the Arab countries are modernizing themselves; but simultaneously their hatred of Israel as an American satellite increases—and this is a condition which an intelligent Foreign Secretary in Jerusalem can remedy more easily; by just veering around and becoming a Middle Eastern country, Israel could sooner or later hope to increase her chances of survival in an Arab sea, at least much better than as an American frontier outpost, as Mr. Hudson amiably suggests.
The same reasoning, of course, holds for Turkey and other states which Mr. Hudson’s policy (and I am afraid it is Mr. Dulles’s too) would convert into exposed bastions. No nation likes to be in that position, and as a consequence of this disastrous policy our allies are looking over their shoulders for some way out. In foreign policy the bonds of a common philosophy usually are weaker than the strings of interest, and a Foreign Secretary of Israel or Turkey, faced with the alternative of unlimited hostility and danger as a consequence of our policy of “writing off the Arabs,” would be foolish not to take out some re-insurance with the Russians and the Arabs. At the moment, to be sure, Israel has no choice but to seek support from the West; but this is not unalterably and not necessarily so. In the long run she could follow her own interests and maybe her resentments, too, in turning as anti-Western as any Arab today, and some State Department advisers would hasten that day, by rubbing it in that Israel is not to be protected but is supposed to protect us.
In summary, let me repeat the simple truism, that even the biggest powers cannot afford to treat their small neighbors as mere instruments of power. We must develop a policy which minimizes the risk for our allies, or we shall have none.
Henry M. Pachter
New York City