The Conduct of Allies Israel and the United States are allies
Eric LaMont Gregory
In his seminal work, Gulliver's Travels, the Irish clergyman and writer Jonathan Swift employed satire and parody to challenge the conventional wisdom of his day.
Satire uses wit as a weapon to ridicule and draw attention to shortcomings with the intent of shaming society into improvement.
Parody, is an imaginative work designed to comment on one society by means of an allusive imitation of another culture.
It was a crime in Swift’s day to criticize the head of state, the Queen, or the legislature, the Houses of Parliament. And, given the subject matter of Swift’s writings; the government of Britain, petty differences between religions, and whether men are inherently corrupt, he used satire and imitation rather than to be tried for challenging the state church, sacrilege, or the state itself, treason.
The founders of the American Republic and the Framers of the Constitution of the United States knew of Swift’s work and took solace from it.
Swift’s highly imaginative writings are enduring and contain the first reference to such modern concepts as aerial bombardment, and Lilliputianism. The later has been used to describe contemporary American foreign policy, the idea being that states can be tied to the United States, not only by big cords like defense treaties, but also, as was Gulliver himself, a state can be tied to the United States by a thousand little cords such as trade agreements, technology transfers, agricultural assistance, and a host of other joint ventures.
Dealings with other big states who can mirror all the departments and sub-departments and agencies of the US Government poses little problem, but if you are a small state without the capacity to mirror all the cords, it can be highly problematic. So much so that one is tied down by the cords but because of material limitations one cannot reap the benefits of the association.
In reality, all alliances are ultimately a promise by one state to come to the aid of another state, the ally, if that state is attacked. Israel and the United States are allies.
And, this is the subject matter of the treatise by Swift, The Conduct of the Allies. “The motives that may engage a wise state in a war, I take to be one or more of these,” Swift begins, and then he proceeds to enumerate the just causes for war:
1.To check the power of an ambitious neighbor 2. To recover what has been unjustly taken 3. To revenge an injury 4. To assist an ally in a just quarrel, and 5. To defend themselves when they are invaded, pro aris et focis
The fifth just cause, pro aris et focis, is perhaps the most obvious, for that is “where no expense or endeavour can be too great, because all we have is at stake, and consequently, our utmost force is to be exerted.”
In literal terms the Latin phrase, pro aris et focis, translates ‘for our altars and our hearths’, that is, an expression of all that is venerable and most worthy of our respect. Thus, the meaning most often attached to the phrase ‘For God and Country’.
The right to defend oneself against attack is the most fundamental of all rights, and is so at every level of human association.
And yet Swift cautions states to consider other, in his view equally essential factors in making the decision to go to war in aid of an ally other than a war to repel an invasion.
Other than to repel an invasion, because in that instance the ‘dispute is determined in safety or utter destruction’.
But, as to the other four just causes of war, Swift suggests, that no state would engage beyond a certain degree; proceeding so far as to exhaust the strength of their country, and put them in a worse condition than what they would suffer had they not entered into the war.
The state ought, according to Swift, also maturely consider the condition it is in when it enters a war in aid of an ally, such factors as:
1.Are the states coffer full, and clear of debts 2. Its citizens rich by a long peace and free trade, and not over-pressed with taxes, and 3. No violent internal faction exists that is prepared to dispute entry into war
For, if the contrary of all these factors happen to be the case, a state will hardly be persuaded to disturb the world’s quiet or its own, while there is any other way of preserving its ally with honour and safety.
Since its founding in 1948, the United States has always considered Israel a staunch ally, and at the same time tried to persuade its neighbours to find a way to incorporate, for lack of a better way, the reality of Israel’s existence as an ally of the United States. A nation that will always remain strong enough to not allow the destruction of the State of Israel.
Despite this reality, time and time again those struggling nations of the Near East have sought to test the sincerity of the United States in this regard, and time and time again it has been to ruinous effect. These same states have not yet incorporated into their political arrangements the endearing qualities that propel the alliance between the United States and Israel.
The United States and Israel are allies because we believe in an arrangement of our political economies so as to guarantee the greatest liberty to the greatest number of our citizens.
We are allies because in the defense of the liberties of our citizens we arrange our affairs such that even ‘moderation in the pursuit of justice is not a virtue’.
We are allies because we are enduring examples of the political arrangement of societies where liberty will not be traded for safety; because liberty assures safety.
Perhaps, JFK said it best, “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”