Bernard Lewis Quotes

(Note: The following was written in 2003, before the full implication of US military commitment in Afghanistan and Iraq could be fully appreciated. The passage also predates US drone attacks against targets in Pakistan and Yemen - to say nothing of Israeli affairs since 2003. It is unknown if and how the author's comments would change if he were writing the same today.)The value of Israel to the United States as a strategic asset has been much disputed. There have been some in the United States who view Israel as a major strategic ally in the region and the one sure bastion against both external and regional enemies. Others have argued that Israel, far from being a strategic asset, has been a strategic liability, by embittering U.S. relations with the Arab world and causing the failure of U.S. policies in the region.But if one compares the record of American policy in the Middle East with that of other regions, one is struck not by its failure but by its success. There is, after all, no Vietnam in the Middle East, no Cuba or Nicaragua or El Salvador, not even an Angola. On the contrary, throughout the successive crises that have shaken the region, there has always been an imposing political, economic, and cultural American presence, usually in several countries - and this, until the Gulf War of 1991, without the need for any significant military intervention. And even then, their presence was needed to rescue the victims of an inter-Arab aggression, unrelated to either Israelis or Palestinians. (99)