US National Security Crisis: Depleted Defense and Withheld Israel Arms

The Biden administration's pause on offensive arms shipments to Israel sparks a national security crisis and House Republican backlash. The move has also exposed growing tensions within the Democratic party over US-Israel relations and national security priorities.

Nitish Verma
New Update
US National Security Crisis: Depleted Defense and Withheld Israel Arms

US National Security Crisis: Depleted Defense and Withheld Israel Arms

The Biden administration's recent decision to pause offensive arms shipments to Israel has sparked a national security crisis, highlighting the United States' failure to prioritize and budget for its defense capabilities. House Republicans are gearing up for a fight over the administration's move, which they argue harms Israel's deterrence and could potentially spark an all-out war in the Middle East.

Why this matters: The US's inability to prioritize and budget for its defense capabilities has far-reaching implications for global security and stability. A weakened US defense system can embolden adversaries and create power vacuums that can be exploited by hostile nations or terrorist organizations.

The House is expected to vote on the Israel Security Assistance Support Act, which would prevent the administration from withholding military aid to Israel and require the prompt delivery of aid. The act would restrict funds for the Pentagon, State Department, National Security Council, and Homeland Security Council until the federal agencies comply. The White House has condemned the proposed legislation, with Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stating, "We strongly, strongly oppose attempts to constrain the president's ability to deliver aid."

House Republicans have launched an investigation into the paused arms shipments and sent a letter to national security adviser Jake Sullivan expressing alarm over the administration's willingness to play political games with US taxpayer-funded assistance. The pause in arms shipments comes amid concerns that Israel would use them in a long-threatened assault on Rafah, a city in southern Gaza.

The Biden administration's handling of the situation has highlighted growing tensions within the Democratic party. Progressive members of The Squad, including Rep. Ilhan Omar, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Rep. Cori Bush, Rep. Summer Lee, and Rep. Jamaal Bowman, have been vocal in their opposition to the administration's decision. Over 80 Democratic lawmakers signed a letter to Biden in May, stating that there is sufficient evidence that Israel is violating a federal law. More than 50 House Democrats also urged Biden to preemptively pause any military aid that could be used in the Rafah operation.

Other Democrats, such as Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, have condemned the administration's decision while also criticizing party members who refuse to condemn Hamas. A senior House Democrat commented on the situation, saying, "I assume they are trying to divide us. I also expect that some Democrats will vote with them."

The death toll in Gaza has topped 35,000, according to Gaza's health ministry, and protesters continue to call for a ceasefire on American campuses. The Biden administration's failure to prioritize and budget for national security has resulted in depleted defense capabilities, posing a significant threat to the country's safety. The chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan marked a decline in Biden's approval ratings, which have remained below 50% since then, with only 42% currently approving of his handling of foreign policy.

Key Takeaways

  • Biden administration pauses offensive arms shipments to Israel, sparking national security crisis.
  • House Republicans introduce Israel Security Assistance Support Act to prevent aid withholding.
  • White House opposes the act, citing presidential authority to deliver aid.
  • Democratic party divided on issue, with some members opposing aid due to human rights concerns.
  • Biden's handling of situation highlights US defense capabilities weaknesses and declining approval ratings.