America's three permanent strategic interests in the Middle East are as follows:
1 - Ensuring the smooth flow of affordable petroleum products from the region to global consumers through the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Aden and the Suez Canal.
2 - Preventing the most radical regimes, sub-state and non-state actors from acquiring the means to cause catastrophic harm.
3 - Maintaining the US's capacity to project its power to the region.
A strong Israel is the best guarantor of all of these interests. Indeed, the stronger Israel is, the more secure these vital American interests are. Three permanent and unique aspects to Israel's regional position dictate this state of affairs.
1 - As the first target of the most radical regimes and radical sub-state actors in the region, Israel has a permanent, existential interest in preventing these regimes and sub-state actors from acquiring the means to cause catastrophic harm.
Israel's 1981 airstrike that destroyed Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor prevented Iraq from acquiring nuclear weapons. Despite US condemnation at the time, the US later acknowledged that the strike was a necessary precondition to the success of Operation Desert Storm ten years later. Richard Cheney - who served as secretary of defense during Operation Desert Storm - has stated that if Iraq had been a nuclear power in 1991, the US would have been hard pressed to eject Saddam Hussein's Iraqi army from Kuwait and so block his regime from asserting control over oil supplies in the Persian Gulf.
2 - Israel is a non-expansionist state and its neighbors know it. In its 62 year history, Israel has only controlled territory vital for its national security and territory that was legally allotted to it in the 1922 League of Nations Mandate which has never been abrogated or superseded.
Israel's strength, which it has used only in self-defense, is inherently non-threatening. Far from destabilizing the region, a strong Israel stabilizes the Middle East by deterring the most radical actors from attacking.
In 1970, Israel blocked Syria's bid to use the PLO to overthrow the Hashemite regime in Jordan. Israel's threat to attack Syria not only saved the Hashemites then, it has deterred Syria from attempting to overthrow the Jordanian regime ever since.
Similarly, Israel's neighbors understand that its purported nuclear arsenal is a weapon of national survival and hence they view it as non-threatening. This is the reason Israel's alleged nuclear arsenal has never spurred a regional nuclear arms race.
In stark contrast, if Iran acquires nuclear weapons, a regional nuclear arms race will ensue immediately.
Although they will never admit it, Israel's non-radical neighbors feel more secure when Israel is strong. On the other hand, the region's most radical regimes and non-state actors will always seek to emasculate Israel.
3-- Since as the Jewish state Israel is the regional bogeyman, no Arab state will agree to form a permanent alliance with it. Hence, Israel will never be in a position to join forces with another nation against a third nation.
In contrast, the Egyptian-Syrian United Arab Republic of the 1960s was formed to attack Israel. Today, the Syrian-Iranian alliance is an inherently aggressive alliance against Israel and the non-radical Arab states in the region. Recognizing the stabilizing force of a strong Israel, the moderate states of the region prefer for Israel to remain strong.
From the US's perspective, far from impairing its alliance-making capabilities in the region, by providing military assistance to Israel, America isn't just strengthening the most stabilizing force in the region. It is showing all states and non-state actors in the greater Middle East it is trustworthy.
On the other hand, every time the US seeks to attenuate its ties with Israel, it is viewed as an untrustworthy ally by the nations of the Middle East. US hostility towards Israel causes Israel's neighbors to hedge their bets by distancing themselves from the US lest America abandon them to their neighboring adversaries.
A strong Israel empowers the relatively moderate actors in the region to stand up to the radical actors in the region because they trust Israel to keep the radicals in check. Today's regional balance of power in which the moderates have the upper hand over the radicals is predicated on a strong Israel.On the other hand, when Israel is weakened the radical forces are emboldened to threaten the status quo. Regional stability is thrown asunder. Wars become more likely. Attacks on oil resources increase. The most radical sub-state actors and regimes are emboldened.
To the extent that the two-state solution assumes that Israel must contract itself to within the indefensible 1949 ceasefire lines, and allow a hostile Palestinian state allied with terrorist organizations to take power in the areas it vacates, the two-state solution is predicated on making Israel weak and empowering radicals. In light of this, the two-state solution as presently constituted is antithetical to America's most vital strategic interests in the Middle East.
When we bear in mind the foundations for the US's alliance with Israel, it is obvious that US support for Israel over the years has been the most cost-effective national security investment in post-World War II US history.