Where do the interests of the U.S. and Israel converge?
Dr. Dov S. Zakheim is a vice president of Booz Allen Hamilton where he is a leader in the firm’s global defense business, working with U.S. Combatant Commanders and allied and coalition ministries of defense worldwide.
Former United States government official Dov Zakheim was the Undersecretary of Defense and Comptroller from 2001-2004 in the George W. Bush administration, and was a foreign policy advisor to that administration during the 2000 election campaign. From 1985-1987, during the Regan administration, Zakheim was Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Planning and Resources. An Orthodox Jew, he helped to end the IAI Lavi Israeli fighter program. Previous to his work with the Bush administration, from 1987-2001, Zakheim served as a consultant to the Office of the Secretary of Defense and sat on a number of Defense Department panels, including the Task Force on Defense Reform, in 1997, and the Board of Visitors of Overseas Regional Centers, from 1998-2001. During those years he was also CEO of SPC International, a subsidiary of System Planning Corporation. Zakheim is on the editorial board of The National Interest Journal and has published a multitude of articles and monographs on defense issues. Zakheim earned his BA in government from Columbia University in 1970 and his PhD in economics and politics from St. Antony's College, Oxford University. He was an Adjunct Scholar at the Heritage Foundation, and an adjunct professor at the National War College, Yeshiva University, Columbia University and Trinity College, where he was also Presidential Scholar. He has been a Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and is currently a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and the United States Naval Institute. Zakheim has received many awards for government and community service, including the Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Medal, its highest civilian award.
Dov Zakheim: Well I think that there are common values. I think there’s a sense of liberty. There’s a sense of democracy. Israel has become much more of a free enterprise country now. So there’s a commonality there. There’s a sense of shared western history and values, so there’s that. Do they come apart? Of course they do. They have to. And the reason they have to is very simple. We’re a global power. We have global interests. Our context is the world. Israel’s context is the Middle East. They’re a regional power. So it’s very, very different. Our existence isn’t threatened. They believe their existence is threatened. They’re gonna do things in the short run that we may not agree with. In fact, it’s likely we won’t always agree with them. I think in the long run, there’s enough commonality with them, and frankly with our European allies and places like Canada and Australia that keeps us in the same camp. But in the short run look how we disagree with the French. And no one would say that our values are really all that different. In Israel and here, you have freedom of speech. You have freedom of religion. Again, as somebody who came from families that were persecuted, freedom of religion is important. In fact, in the Middle East I would argue far more than democracy, freedom of religion is probably the most important thing, whether you’re a Sunni, a Shia, a Christian, a Jew, whatever. You have that in Israel. You have economic opportunity, although I think for Israeli Arabs and somewhat for Palestinians it’s not good enough. But at least they’re committed to the principle of that. You have freedom of assembly, and obviously freedom of speech. Well those are not . . . those are not axiomatic. There are lots of places in the world where those freedoms don’t exist.
Recorded on: 7/2/07
Though the two nations have similar values, Zakheim says they exist in very different geopolitical contexts.
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