Concern over keeping Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge has led to proposal giving Israel veto power over US arms sales.
By Grant Smith | Antiwar.com | Nov 10, 2020
Today, as the US offers additional advanced weapons to regimes successfully coerced to establish ties with Israel, someday those countries could stop obeying US marching orders and respond to popular demands for change, like Egypt during the Arab Spring. That is a problem, according to pro-Israel thinkers.
The United Arab Emirates bid to purchase F-35 multirole stealth aircraft caused a firestorm among Israel lobby operatives, pundits, and congressional fellow travelers. They say the US has an obligation to maintain Israel’s “Qualitative Military Edge” (QME) if not Israel’s “Qualitative AND Quantitative Military Edge.” QME is a doctrine that US war planners originally conceived to assess and counter the Warsaw Pact’s numerical troop advantage over US and allied forces stationed in Europe. The US was thought to need a qualitative advantage in military systems in order to counter the imbalance.
Israel began insisting on QME for itself during the tumultuous debate surrounding the Reagan administration’s sale of advance airborne radar systems (AWACs) to Saudi Arabia. Israel argued to protect its QME any such sale required additional and more advanced arms for Israel.