web analytics
April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



An Apocalyptic Future? Israel And Middle East Nuclear War (Second Of Two Parts)


Beres-Louis-Rene

Share Button

A Lecture Delivered To The Dawn R. Schuman Institute Evanston, Illinois – September 9, 2004

Since the presentation of our original Project Daniel document to Prime Minister Sharon on January 16, 2003 (it remained secret until this past May), there have been a few relatively minor “victories” in the effort to control WMD proliferation among Israel’s enemies. The most obvious case in point – in addition to Iraq – is Libya. At the same time, the circumstances in North Korea (which has ties to some of Israel’s Arab/Islamic enemies), Iran and Pakistan remain very dangerous.

There is also evidence of expanding WMD ambitions in Egypt (so much for formal peace treaties), and Syria has been smuggling components for WMD weapons to Sudan – in an attempt to keep them hidden from outside inspection.

At the level of terrorist groups, which are sustained by several Arab/Islamic states, new alignments are now being fashioned between various Palestinian Organizations and al-Qaeda. Regarding Iranian nuclearization, there is always a danger that these atomic weapons might be shared with Hezbullah militias in south Lebanon.

Current threats of war, terrorism and genocide to Israel derive from a very clear “clash of civilizations.” These threats are far more than the result of narrow geo-strategic differences. They stem from religion and culture. Both Israel and the United States are in the cross-hairs of a worldwide Arab/Islamic “Jihad” that is fundamentally theological/cultural in nature. This orientation to Jihad will not concede an inch to rational persuasion, to conventional legal norms of “coexistence” or “peaceful settlement.” This situation of existential danger to “unbelievers” is hardly a pleasing one for Jerusalem or Washington, but it is one that must immediately be acknowledged and understood.

In the best of all possible worlds, none of these dreadful scenarios would be plausible, and the tiny State of Israel could rely upon Reason and Justice to forge its secure future. But we all know that this is hardly the best of all possible worlds. and that Israeli self-reliance is altogether indispensable. In this connection, it is certainly important that Israel not ever allow itself to be lured into some plan for a regional “nuclear weapon free zone” – an actual proposal these days advanced by certain prominent Israeli academics.

Shimon Peres, as Prime Minister, once stated publicly that Israel would be “delighted to give up the atom” if only the entire region would embrace a comprehensive security plan. It should be perfectly obvious, however, to anyone who thinks clearly, that in a scheme for regional nuclear renunciation, only Israel would be disarmed. It is also important, for Israel’s survival, that the country prepare to end its policy of nuclear ambiguity on short notice.

If there should ever be any evidence that enemy nuclearization (state and/or non-state) had taken place, Israel must immediately bring its bomb out of the “basement.” This is because the credibility of Israel’s nuclear deterrent in such circumstances would require a clear message that it has both the capacity and the intention to retaliate. Before an enemy of Israel might be deterred from launching nuclear first- strikes at Israel, it may not be enough that it “knows” merely that Israel HAS the bomb. It may also need to recognize that these Israeli nuclear weapons are sufficiently invulnerable to such attacks, and that they are aimed at very high-value targets.

In the Project Daniel Report, we recommend that “…a recognizable retaliatory force should be fashioned with the capacity to destroy some 15 high-value targets scattered widely over pertinent enemy states in the Middle East.” This strategy means that Israel’s second-strike response to enemy aggressions involving biological and/or nuclear weapons would be directed at enemy populations, not at enemy weapons. At the same time, the overriding priority of Israel’s nuclear deterrent force must always be that it preserves the country’s security without ever having to be fired.

Some of you will be disturbed by such “cold” reasoning – thinking, perhaps, that it has a hint of “Dr. Strangelove.” Yet, the countervalue targeting strategy recommended by Project Daniel represents Israel’s best hope for AVOIDING a nuclear or biological war. It is, therefore, actually the most humane strategy available. “The very best weapons,” the classical military theorist Clausewitz once wrote, “are those that achieve their objectives without actually being fired. This is especially the case with nuclear weapons. Israel’s nuclear weapons can succeed only through non-use.” Recognizing this, Project Daniel makes very clear that nuclear warfighting must always be avoided.

Medieval maps often portrayed Jerusalem at the center of the world. From the standpoint of nuclear strategy and world peace, such a portrayal is very valid today. Confronted with relentlessly genocidal state and non-state enemies, some of which energetically seek weapons of mass destruction, Israel must now fashion a sound strategic doctrine. This is why the Project Daniel Group first undertook to prepare its unprecedented Final Report to the Prime Minister.

What can you do – you, the concerned Jews of this great Dawn Schuman community? For one, you can remain aware that the State of Israel is always the individual Jew in macrocosm, and that the fate of this Jewish state is therefore still precarious. For another, you can recall that impending Israeli territorial surrenders must be evaluated along yet another dimension – the dimension of Israel’s strategic vulnerability – and that there is therefore yet another compelling reason to oppose these surrenders.

In many critical respects, Israel IS strong and powerful… and there are many reasons to believe that Israel will certainly prevail. But it is our individual and collective responsibility not to take this strength and power for granted. Rather, by facing Israel’s existential difficulties squarely, we will better ensure Israel’s enduring survival.

Apocalypse was pretty much a Jewish invention, but there is now every reason to believe that we can still avoid an apocalyptic future for Israel. Saul Bellow’s character, Ravelstein, reminds us Jews that we always exist on a knife’s edge, but there are also grounds for an informed reassurance that faith, intellect and courage will always bring us redemption.

Louis Rene Beres (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971) is Strategic and Military Affairs Columnist for The Jewish Press.

Share Button

About the Author: Louis René Beres, strategic and military affairs columnist for The Jewish Press, is professor of Political Science at Purdue University. Educated at Princeton (Ph.D., 1971), he lectures and publishes widely on international relations and international law and is the author of ten major books in the field. In Israel, Professor Beres was chair of Project Daniel.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “An Apocalyptic Future? Israel And Middle East Nuclear War (Second Of Two Parts)”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Arab rioters hurl objects at Israeli security personnel who use pepper spray to quell the violence emanating from the Al Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount.
Arab Violence Closes Temple Mount to Visitors Again
Latest Indepth Stories
Haredim riot after draft-dodger is arrested.

The reporter simply reports the news, but it is greater to be inspired to better the situation.

Bitton-041814

The Big Bang theory marked the scientific community’s first sense of the universe having a beginning.

MK Moshe-Feiglin

Freeing convicted murderers returns the status of Jewish existence to something less than sanctified.

Dov Shurin

“The bigger they are the harder they fall” describes what God had in mind for Olmert.

We, soldiers of the IDF, who stand guard over the people and the land, fulfill the hopes of the millions of Jewish people across the generations who sought freedom.

How much is the human mind able to grasp of the Divine?

Jews have brought the baggage of the galut (exile) mentality to the modern state of Israel.

The Haggadah is an instruction manual on how to survive as strangers in strange lands.

It’s finally happened. New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan reported on her blog that “many readers…wrote to object to an [April 2] article…on the breakdown in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians,” claiming “[they] found the headline misleading and the article itself lacking in context.” Ms. Sullivan provided one such letter, quoted the […]

Nor did it seem relevant that according to widely circulated media reports, Rev. Sharpton was caught on an FBI surveillance video discussing possible drug sales with an FBI agent.

Jewish soldiers in the Polish forces often encountered anti-Semitic prejudice.

When the state was established, gedolim went to Ben-Gurion and asked him not to draft women and, later, yeshiva bachrim.

Perhaps worse than all the above is the acute lack of unity among Jews

At our seder we emulate the way it was celebrated in Temple times, as if the Temple still stood.

More Articles from Louis Rene Beres
Louis Rene Beres

President Obama’s core argument on a Middle East peace process is still founded on incorrect assumptions.

Louis Rene Beres

Once upon a time in America, every adult could recite at least some Spenglerian theory of decline.

President Obama’s core argument is still founded on incorrect assumptions.

Specific strategic lessons from the Bar Kokhba rebellion.

Still facing an effectively unhindered nuclear threat from Iran, Israel will soon need to choose between two strategic options.

For states, as for individuals, fear and reality go together naturally.

So much of the struggle between Israel and the Arabs continues to concern space.

An undifferentiated or across-the-board commitment to nuclear ambiguity could prove harmful to Israel’s's overall security.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/louis-bene-beres/an-apocalyptic-future-israel-and-middle-east-nuclear-war-second-of-two-parts/2004/11/10/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: