web analytics
January 30, 2015 / 10 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Global Denuclearization And Israel’s Survival (First of Four Parts)


Beres-Louis-Rene.gif

Back on September 24, 2009, immediately following a speech by President Obama to the UN General Assembly, the Security Council unanimously approved a resolution supporting “a world without nuclear weapons.” In direct response to this resolution, Obama approvingly exclaimed: “This resolution enshrines our shared commitment to a goal of a world without nuclear weapons.”  To be sure, we may assume there was nothing here to indicate anything but a commendable personal commitment to world peace.

Nonetheless, as I indicated in an earlier column, there are substantial logical and intellectual problems with the president’s denuclearization hopes. The core error in Obama’s reasoning concerns an allegedly inherent undesirability of nuclear weapons; that is, the unexamined idea that such weapons are somehow always corrosive and harmful in and of themselves.

Contrary to this nicely intuitive but still sorely-mistaken idea, nuclear arms are not per se destabilizing or “warmongering.” They are not necessarily anti-peace. Rather, in certain identifiably volatile circumstances (and this is something that we should all have already learned from protracted Soviet-American coexistence during the Cold War), nuclear weapons can actually be indispensable to the avoidance of catastrophic war.

It is plausible, of course, that further nuclear proliferation to currently non-nuclear states would be more or less intolerable, and that any such “horizontal” spread should be prevented and contained. Yet there are also certain readily-recognizable nation-states in our decentralized or “Westphalian” world system that could not survive in our global state of nature without nuclear deterrence. Israel is the most obvious and urgent case in point.

Should Israel ever have to face its myriad enemies without nuclear deterrence – even in the absence of any specifically nuclear adversaries – the prospect of catastrophic or even existential defeat could become intolerably high. This is the case whether Israeli nuclear deterrence continues to rest on longstanding policies of “deliberate ambiguity,” or whether Jerusalem begins to move emphatically toward selected forms of “nuclear disclosure.”

If it should ever be left without nuclear weapons, Israel could not long endure. More than any other state on earth, and perhaps more than any other state in history, Israel requires nuclear weapons merely to continue its existence.

Periodically, within the United Nations, Israel’s enemies introduce resolutions calling for a Middle East “Nuclear Weapon Free Zone.”

Should Israel ever be compelled to heed such deliberately destructive and one-sided resolutions, possibly in response to assorted pressures from Washington, it is possible that nothing of any decisive military consequence would stand in the way of certain coordinated Arab and/or Iranian attacks. Ultimately, in all war, as Prussian military theorist Karl von Clausewitz noted, “mass counts.”

Without nuclear weapons, appropriately configured and purposefully recognizable, the indispensable core of Israel’s capacity to deter major enemy assaults could effectively disappear.

With his publicly proclaimed and deeply-ingrained antipathy to nuclear weapons, Obama certainly means well. Still, it is imperative that he now look beyond any too-idealized visions of an improved world order. The same imperative applies equally, of course, to all of his potential successors as president of the United States.

From the particular standpoint of Jerusalem, what is needed intra-nationally is a comprehensive and systematic re-examination of Israel’s core nuclear doctrine. When, sooner or later, Israel is forced to defend its nuclear posture from various and manifestly disingenuous calls to enter a regional nuclear weapons free-zone, the leadership in Jerusalem should already have available a thoroughly lucid and compelling explanation of its correct refusal to join.

Why should Israel remain a nuclear power? In the case of Israel, are nuclear weapons a source of peace rather than war? The following explanation represents a detailed, dialectical and comprehensive answer. Prime Minister Netanyahu should prepare to transmit this very precise answer to Obama, or to his successor, and also to any other national leaders who might still fail, wittingly or unwittingly, to recognize the unique fragility of an imperiled micro-state in the Middle East:

1. Israel needs nuclear weapons to deter large conventional attacks by enemy states. The effectiveness of such Israeli nuclear deterrence will depend, among other things, upon: (a) perceived vulnerability of Israeli nuclear forces; (b) perceived destructiveness of Israeli nuclear forces; (c) perceived willingness of Israeli leadership to follow through on nuclear threats; (d) perceived capacities of prospective attacker’s active defenses; (e) perceptions of Israeli targeting doctrine; (f) perceptions of Israel’s probable retaliatory response when there is an expectation of non-nuclear but chemical and/or biological counter-retaliations; (g) disclosure or continued nondisclosure of Israel’s nuclear arsenal; and (h) creation or non-creation of a Palestinian state.

2. Israel needs nuclear weapons to deter all levels of unconventional (chemical/biological/nuclear) attacks. The effectiveness of these forms of Israeli nuclear deterrence will also depend, on (a) to (h) above. In this regard, Israel’s nuclear weapons are needed to deter enemy escalation of conventional warfare to unconventional warfare, and of one form of unconventional warfare to another (i.e., escalation of chemical warfare to biological warfare, biological warfare to chemical warfare, or biological/chemical warfare to nuclear warfare). This means, in military parlance, a capacity for “escalation dominance.”

About the Author: Louis René Beres (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971) is professor of political science and international law at Purdue University and the author of many books and articles dealing with international relations and strategic studies.


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 “Global Denuclearization And Israel’s Survival (First of Four Parts)”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Jeremy Bird, working for Israeli campaign outfit V15, shown at Ted Talk, May 20, 2014.
V15 US Political Operative Marinated in Hate-Israel Activism
Latest Indepth Stories
Eli Weiss

Shepherding in the Shomron isn’t your usual kind of shepherding – despite his business-minded beginnings, Eli has discovered that a strong ideological impetus powers the job.

Resnick-013015-Pilot

I said to myself, “This story has got to be told. We’re losing this generation of World War II and if we don’t listen to them now, we’ve lost it.”

Eller-013015

His entire existence was about spreading simcha and glorifying G-d’s name on a daily basis.

IRAN-US-POLITICS-MILITARY

An Israeli strike could theoretically damage Iran’s nuclear program; only US can terminate program

At some point we need to stop simply defending and promoting Israel and start living in Israel

“We Jews are the only people who when we drop a book on the floor pick it up and kiss it.”

Though Zaide was the publisher of The Jewish Press, a big newspaper,I always remember him learning

Speaker Silver has been an extraordinary public servant since his election to the Assembly in 1975 and has been an exemplary leader of that body since 1994.

He spent the first leg of his daylong visit to the French capital at Hyper Cacher.

Drawing Congress into the Iran nuclear debate is the last thing the White House wants.

Great leaders like Miriam and like Sarah Schenirer possess the capacity to challenge the status quo that confronts them.

Obama’s foreign policy is viewed by both liberals and conservatives as deeply flawed

Many journalists are covertly blaming the Charlie Hebdo writers themselves through self-censorship.

Why does the Times relay different motivations and narratives for jihadists in Europe and Israel?

More Articles from Louis Rene Beres

A “Palestine” could become another Lebanon, with many different factions battling for control.

Louis Rene Beres

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

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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/louis-bene-beres/global-denuclearization-and-israels-survival-first-of-four-parts/2012/02/29/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: