Defense cooperation between the United States and Israel is a two-way street, with both contributing to the security of the other, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said in an interview published on Wednesday.
His comments to the Atlantic were in praise of Israel’s technological advances in warfare, specifically in cyberspace and in countering improvised weapons technologies from non-state actors.
“It’s a two-way relationship,” Carter said. “There’s no question that it’s not symmetric, but it is two-way— we really do get things from the Israelis in technology.”
“I hesitate to make invidious comparisons, but if you’re making comparisons to, say, the European legacy arms [industry], the guys who have made the tanks and planes and ships in Europe, they’ve been very slow to come out of the industrial age,” he continued. “The Israelis you will find to be more clever and more innovative.”
Carter had just met with his Israeli counterpart, Moshe Ya’alon, in preparation for a highly-anticipated meeting between US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu scheduled for next week. The two are expected to discuss the new security environment of the Middle East after the Iran nuclear deal was reached in July.
Carter said that the US, without question, “can or will maintain” Israel’s qualitative military edge over its its regional neighbors– “the sum of all Sunnis,” according to the secretary. He said that Israel worries about potentialities such as a collapse of the Saudi monarchy, among other dire security scenarios.
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