web analytics
October 25, 2014 / 1 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Facing A ‘New Middle East’: Core Recommendation For Israel’s Strategic Future (Conclusion)


Beres-Louis-Rene

            IDF planners working on an improved strategic paradigm will need to understand the following: Removing the bomb from Israel’s “basement” could enhance Israel’s nuclear deterrent to the extent that it would enlarge enemy perceptions of secure and capable Israeli nuclear forces. Such a calculated end to deliberate ambiguity could also underscore Israel’s willingness to use these nuclear forces in reprisal for certain enemy first-strike and retaliatory attacks. From the standpoint of successful Israeli nuclear deterrence, IDF planners must proceed on the assumption that perceived willingness is always just as important as perceived capability. This, again, may bring to mind the counter intuitively presumed advantages for Israel of sometimes appearing less than fully rational.   
            There are certain circumstances in which a correlation of forces paradigm will necessarily lead IDF planners to consider certain preemption options. This is because there will surely be circumstances in which the existential risks to Israel of continuing to rely upon some combination of nuclear deterrence and active defenses (that is, primarily the “Arrow” system of ballistic missile defense) will simply be too great. In these circumstances, Israeli decision-makers will need to determine whether such essential defensive strikes, known jurisprudentially as expressions of “anticipatory self-defense, would be cost-effective.  Here, their judgments would depend upon a number of very critical factors, including:  (a) expected probability of enemy first-strikes; (b) expected cost (disutility) of enemy first-strikes; (c) expected schedule of enemy unconventional weapons deployments; (d) expected efficiency of enemy active defenses over time; (e) expected efficiency of Israeli active defenses over time; (f) expected efficiency of Israeli hard-target counterforce operations over time; (g) expected reactions of unaffected regional enemies; and (h) expected United States and world community reactions to Israeli preemptions.
            IDF planners will no doubt note that Israel’s rational inclinations to strike preemptively in certain circumstances will be affected by the particular steps taken by prospective target states (e.g., Iran) to guard against any Israeli preemption. Should Israel refrain too long (for any reason) from striking first defensively, certain enemy states could begin to implement protective measures that would pose substantial additional obstacles and hazards for Israel. These measures could include the attachment of certain automated launch mechanisms to certain nuclear weapons, and/or the adoption of “launch-on-warning” policies.
            IDF planners must presume that such policies might call for the retaliatory launch of bombers and/or missiles upon receipt of warning that an Israeli attack is underway. By requiring launch before the attacking Israeli warheads actually reached their intended targets, any enemy reliance of launch-on-warning could carry very grave risks of error.
            The single most important factor in IDF correlation of forces planning judgments on the preemption option will be the expected rationality of certain enemy decision-makers. If, after all, these leaders could be expected to strike at Israel with unconventional forces irrespective of anticipated Israeli counterstrikes, deterrence would cease to work. This means that certain enemy strikes could be expected even if enemy leaders fully understood that Israel had “successfully” deployed its own nuclear weapons in completely survivable modes; that Israel’s nuclear weapons were believed to be entirely capable of penetrating the enemy’s active defenses; and that Israel’s leaders were altogether willing to retaliate.
              Now, facing new forms of regional chaotic disintegration, it is time for Israel to go beyond its already-expanded paradigm of numerical military assessments to certain additional and “softer” considerations. Within this wider and more self-consciously qualitative strategic paradigm, IDF planners should focus, among other areas, upon the cumulative and interpenetrating importance of unconventional weapons and low-intensity warfare in the region.
             In certain circumstances, critical strategies and tactics will be both indispensable and infeasible. For the Jewish state, this will have the apparent makings of an unbearable and irremediable dilemma. Yet, truth can sometimes emerge through paradox, and a suitably improved “correlation of forces” focus could soon uncover unforeseen, but fully purposeful, strategic options.
            In the end, Israel, as the Jewish state, must always bear in mind the overriding difference between collective life and collective death, between the “blessing and the curse.” Here, IDF strategists and planners can learn both from Cicero and Machiavelli. “For what can be done against force, without force,” inquired Cicero, the ancient Roman thinker and statesman. In the best of all possible worlds, perhaps, such a rhetorical question would not need even to be raised. But, recalling Voltaire, this is not yet “the best of all possible worlds.”
            Cicero understood. Failure to use force against a murderous evil imprints an indelible stain upon all that is good. Machiavelli, too, offers a meaningful lesson for present-day Israel. Writing during the early sixteenth century in The Discourses, less well-known, of course, than The Prince, the industrious Florentine statesman and scholar examined how the Romans had proceeded, doctrinally, in the waging of war. In the first place, he observed significantly, the Romans were absolutely determined “to make war short and crushing.”
            Making war “short and crushing,” long an integral part of successful Roman strategy, has been an IDF imperative also. Indeed, from the very first days of Jewish statehood, in May 1948, IDF doctrine has correctly made the avoidance of any protracted warfare explicit and urgent. Today, particularly when the demographic components of the Middle East region’s correlation of forces still weigh heavily and immutably on the side of its enemies, an asymmetry actually far more unfavorable than what had faced ancient Roman armies, Israel must aim conspicuously at using its military might solely for deterrence and dissuasion whenever possible, and then only for prompt victory and cessation of hostilities whenever war is simply unavoidable.
            The more things change, the more they remain the same.” The “New” Middle East is characterized by very specific and consequential changes in power and threat-dynamics, but the underlying forces of anarchy and chaos still retain a discernible and instructive form. It follows that Israel’s strategic thinkers and planners should now stay focused on identifying critical recurrent core patterns within this ascertainable “geometry.” Then, they will be able to deduce appropriately precise and promising policy recommendations from this geometry’s always-unchanging axioms and postulates.

 

             LOUIS RENÉ BERES was educated at Princeton  (Ph.D., 1971), and has lectured and published widely on Israeli security issues for forty years. Born in Zürich, Switzerland on August 31, 1945, he is the author of ten books and several hundred journal articles and monographs in the field. Dr. Beres is Strategic and Military Affairs columnist for The Jewish Press.

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.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Facing A ‘New Middle East’: Core Recommendation For Israel’s Strategic Future (Conclusion)”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Do you know where your vegetables grow?
Not So Kosher Shemittah L’Mehadrin
Latest Indepth Stories
Eller-102414-Cart

I had to hire a babysitter so that I could go shopping or have someone come with me to push Caroline in her wheelchair.

Bills to restore the balance of power in Israel will be fought by the not-so-judicial left.

Widespread agreement in Israel opposing Palestinian diplomatic warfare, commonly called “lawfare.”

Chaye Zisel Braun

Arab terrorism against Jews and the State of Israel is not something we should be “calm” about.

Peace Now Chairman Yariv Oppenheimer

The Israeli left, led by tenured academics, endorses pretty much anything harmful to its own country

We were devastated: The exploitation of our father’s murder as a vehicle for political commentary.

Judea and Samaria (Yesha) have been governed by the IDF and not officially under Israeli sovereignty

While not all criticism of Israel stemmed from anti-Semitism, Podhoretz contends the level of animosity towards Israel rises exponentially the farther left one moved along the spectrum.

n past decades, Oman has struck a diplomatic balance between Saudi Arabia, the West, and Iran.

The Torah scroll which my family donated will ride aboard the USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier

The Jewish Press endorses the reelection of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. His record as governor these past four years offers eloquent testimony to the experience and vision he has to lead the Empire State for the next four years.

I think Seth Lipsky is amazing, but it just drives home the point that newspapers have a lot of moving parts.

Myth #1: It is easy to be a B’nai Noach. It is extraordinarily hard to be a B’nai Noach.

The question of anti-Semitism in Europe today is truly tied to the issue of immigration.

Polls indicate that the Palestinians are much more against a two state solution than the Israelis.

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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/louis-bene-beres/facing-a-new-middle-east-core-recommendation-for-israels-strategic-future-conclusion/2011/05/11/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: