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Strategy Expert Says Israelis No Longer Trust U.S. Guarantees

July 16, 1971
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Dr. Alvin Cottrell, research director of the Georgetown University Center for Strategic Studies, and an expert on superpower strategy in the Middle East, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency after his testimony before the House Foreign Relations Committee yesterday that “the U.S. has weakened itself to the point where it is unable to get its allies to accept its guarantees.” Cottrell contended that the U.S. looks like its power is declining and its unwillingness to commit itself makes nations like Israel feel that the U.S. will not honor its promises. He said that there used to be a time when an American guarantee was as good as cash, so to speak, as in the case of Turkey and Iran. Those countries also no longer trust American promises, he said, as evidenced by the efforts to make detentes with the Soviets. Cottrell maintained that in both a military and diplomatic sense, the Israelis do not feel sure of American guarantees.

He related their lack of confidence to their position insisting on “defensible borders” and admitted that on some things Israel would be forced to accept American promises because “she has no choice.” He added that American delays in replying to Israeli arms requests is further proof of “American unwillingness to go on the line to support Israel.” ” It is another sign of our inadequate commitment” to Israel, he said, Cottrell attributed it to a long developing trend to shy away from military involvement with other countries rather than to specific policies of any administration, “Americans are not a patient people-they have watched the problem persist for over 20 years and their will to commit themselves is waning.”

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