Paul A. Ibbetson
America and Israel: you got a friend in me?
By Paul A. Ibbetson
January 30, 2010

What is the meaning of friendship? What makes the bonds that we call a true friendship mean something? We have all heard of the fair-weather friend and most likely we have all had one or two of them. The fair-weather friend stays by your side as long as all the conditions of life are optimum. Unfortunately, we often need our friends most when times are bad, and that is when the fair-weather friend often disappears, and in some cases, sides with the forces we are struggling against. "Thanks a lot!" Those may very well be the parting words that pass our lips when we come to the painful realization that not all that play "buddy-buddy" are actually in our corner.

Conversely, a true friend is a powerful force in that it allows for the extension of values and beliefs into places that one might not be able to tread alone. America has had a long history of creating lasting friendships with countries, and those bonds have created economic prosperity and security in many places. For the most part, this country has shown the proper discernment in selecting who will be our business associates in the global economy and who will be allies when the world gets tumultuous. Despite those who like to denigrate this great country, one of America's strongest selling points is that within the global community, this country has been known to come through with what it says it is going to do. With that said, we would be wise to remember that while American exceptionalism exists, it does so in conjunction with our ability to make and maintain true friends across the planet.

America's true friends (versus casual business associates) and many of our enemies with which we have politically correct states of "ceasefire" are not hard to identify. True friends share our values and beliefs. Unfortunately, and in conflict with Barack Obama's "olive branch" tactics in many parts of the world, we will never qualify under our belief system as true friends with some on this planet. In fact, because of our beliefs and values, which include our Christian faith, democracy, a belief in freedom and equality, and many others, some will always want to destroy us. Coming back full circle, that is why it is good to have friends.

At the most practical level of thinking, the defense of our true friends is nothing short of a defense of ourselves. Beyond allowing us the ability to create coalitions to protect American interests when the need arises, protecting our friends preserves a common set of beliefs. What would be the ramifications to this country and the beliefs we hold dear if Great Britain or Australia, to name just two, were to be suddenly torn asunder? I would submit that the loss of mutually embraced values and beliefs would be as impacting as the military firepower they offer. In reality, beliefs and defense are tied together for as the direction of the heart goes, so will the militaries go that are wielded by those hearts. In short, "We need friends like friends need us."

Despite the necessity for friends, America is only worthy of having friends to which we are true. This brings us to the matter of Israel. The tiny State of Israel has flourished despite having enemies that surround its borders. It has defended itself time and time again, often with tepid support from America and other "free" countries of the world. America has on many occasions joined other countries in placing the global stopwatch on Israel when driving its enemies from its borders, and in encouraging its leaders to make deals that are not in its best interest. Often the strongest support America gives Israel, our friend, is neutral statements of the desire for peace and negotiation. Remember the fair-weather friend? If we are to be honest we must say that for Israel, the weather is seldom fair.

2010 will be a year in which America's friendship to Israel will be tested to its limits. The growing threat to Israel from Iran, if not the entire world, will most certainly come to a head. In America's action or inaction, we will show the world what kind of country we are, and what value can be placed on being a true friend of this country. In return, we will reap what we sow, and America would be wise to remember that defending our true friends in the world is a defense of ourselves and our mutual beliefs.

© Paul A. Ibbetson


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Paul A. Ibbetson

Dr. Paul A. Ibbetson is a former Chief of Police of Cherryvale, Kansas, and member of the Montgomery County Drug Task Force. Paul received his Bachelor's and Master's degree in Criminal Justice at Wichita State University, and his PhD. in sociology at Kansas State University. Paul is the author of several books and is also the radio host of the Kansas Broadcasting Association's 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 award winning, Conscience of Kansas airing across the state. Visit his website at For interviews or questions, please contact


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