Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Nuclear Iran and a Nuclear Israel

The policy of MAD has served the super powers effectively for fifty years. During the Cold War each side knew if either started a nuclear exchange the other side would respond with an immediate deadly nuclear annihilation. This super threat approach has kept the “peace” for decades. Israel like Pakistan and India has an arsenal of nuclear weapons, Iran does not. Iran has cooperated with IAEA inspections in part, Israel has completely rejected the same inspections of its holdings and technology. Israel bombed both Iraq’s Osirak nuclear facilities in Baghdad and Syria’s Al Kibar reactor at Deir Al-Zor (check GOOGLE for more info). No neighbor has bombed Israeli nuclear sites to date. The policy of the Israeli leadership is obvious, they want to remain as the sole nuclear power among their surrounding Arab neighbors.
To speculate on plans to make we must wrestle with some key questions. Can a nuclear Iran be rational? Some would immediately shout NO. Though obviously there are individuals that long for martyrdom, does anyone really believe that the leadership of Iran longs for a national suicide the presumed outcome of any nuclear adventurism at the hands of the Israeli nuclear arsenal?

Does Israeli leadership again assume like with their prior facility bombings that preemptive military action is preferred to following the MAD approach where both sides face the threat of annihilation? Based on current belligerent rhetoric we could answer YES. If Israel attempts to destroy the nuclear operations of Iran, they must admit that this is a calculated risk----there is no guarantee for success. Following such a bombing can anyone really think that there will be no retaliation? Would Israel simply label any response as “terrorism” ignoring its own provocation? Given the ambiguous moral standing of Israel, would its leaders dare to launch a nuclear strike against a nonnuclear nation? I seriously hope not. The nuclear threat itself is the key to deterring a major strike by Israel’s neighbors and maintaining this balance.

How would such events impact us? At what point does the USA get dragged into such a situation kicking and screaming with the loss of substantial life and treasure? I have not heard anyone in our government listing specifics about this scenario.

Given the actual history of the 20th century can the US perceive itself to function as a legitimate moral umpire having leveled two cites in Japan with atomic bombs? “Do as I say, not as I do” surely does not evoke a mood of trust.

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