web analytics
July 28, 2015 / 12 Av, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


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


Beres-Louis-Rene

Regarding the nuclear weapons needed by Israel for nuclear war fighting, Jerusalem could require an intermediate option between capitulations on the one hand, and resort to multi-megaton nuclear weapons, on the other.

Such discussion may be objectionable to all people of feeling and sensitivity. It would, after all, be far more “peaceful” to speak of nuclear arms control or sustainable nuclear deterrence or even preemption, than nuclear war fighting. Yet the Middle East remains a particularly dangerous and possibly even irrational neighborhood, and any strategic failure to confront the most terrible possibilities could correspondingly produce the most terrible harms.

For Israel, a state that yearns for peace and security more than any other in this neighborhood – a state born out of the ashes of humankind’s most terrible crime – genocide looms both as an ineradicable memory, and as a sobering expectation. Resisting the short-term temptations of “Road Maps” and “peace processes,” its leaders must always plan accordingly. But let us be clear, per earlier recommendations by Project Daniel (2003) – nuclear war fighting options should always be rejected wherever possible.

The Samson Option

Proposals for a Middle East Nuclear Weapon Free Zone notwithstanding, Israel still needs its nuclear weapons, both for the compelling reasons already discussed, and also for “last resort” purposes. Although this is likely the least important need – since, by definition, any actual resort to the Samson Option would reveal failure and collapse of all essential security functions – it is not unimportant. This is because Israeli preparations for last resort operations could play a major role in enhancing Israeli nuclear deterrence, preemption and war fighting requirements, and because such preparations would also show the world that the post-Holocaust Jewish state had kept its faith with an incontestable Jewish obligation.

Regarding any prospective contributions to Israeli nuclear deterrence, preparations for a Samson Option could help to convince would-be attackers that aggression would not prove beneficial. This is especially the case if Israeli preparation were coupled with some level of disclosure; if Israel’s pertinent Samson weapons appeared to be sufficiently invulnerable to enemy first-strikes; and if these weapons were identifiably “counter value” in mission function. By definition, the Samson Option would be executed with counter value-targeted nuclear weapons. Such last-resort operations might come into play only after all Israeli counterforce options had been exhausted.

Considering what strategists sometimes call the “rationality of pretended irrationality,” Samson could aid Israeli nuclear deterrence by demonstrating a willingness to take existential risks, but this would hold true only if last-resort options were not tied definitionally to certain destruction.

Regarding prospective contributions to preemption options, preparation for a Samson Option could convince Israel that essential defensive first strikes could be undertaken with diminished expectations of unacceptably destructive enemy retaliations. This would depend, of course, on antecedent Israeli decisions on disclosure, on Israeli perceptions of the effects of disclosure on enemy retaliatory prospects, on Israeli judgments about enemy perceptions of Samson weapons vulnerability, and on enemy awareness of Samson’s counter value force posture.

As in the case of Samson and Israeli nuclear deterrence, any last-resort preparations could assist Israeli preemption options by displaying a persuasive willingness to take certain existential risks. But Israeli planners must be mindful here of pretended irrationality as a double-edged sword. Brandished too “irrationally,” Israeli preparations for a Samson Option could actually encourage enemy preemptions.

Regarding prospective contributions to Israel’s nuclear war fighting options, preparation for a Samson Option could convince enemy states that a clear victory would be impossible to achieve. But here it would be important for Israel to communicate to potential aggressors the following understanding: Israel’s counter value-targeted Samson weapons are additional to (not at the expense of) its counterforce-targeted war fighting weapons. In the absence of such a communication, preparations for a Samson Option could effectively impair rather than reinforce Israel’s nuclear war fighting options.

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.

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 (Fourth of Four Parts)”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
President Obama overlaid against photo of Jonathan Pollard.
Jonathan Pollard To Be Freed in November
Latest Indepth Stories
Open Tent

{Originally posted to the author’s website, FirstOne Through} Some passionate and eloquent liberals have bemoaned the state of inclusiveness among Jews today. Leon Wieseltier, editor of the New Republic penned an angry piece “J Street’s Rejection Is a Scandal” about the exclusion in 2014 of J Street from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. […]

Hamas on the Temple Mount - Jul 3, 2015

Magnanimity by Moshe Dayan, allowing Muslim control of the Temple Mount, led to today’s situation.

Community-Jewels-logo

It was modeled upon a similar fund that had been set up by Sephardic Jews in Venice. But Amsterdam’s Dotar was initially more ambitious in scope.

Brudner-072415-Rav-Aharon

Rav Aharon Margalit is a bestselling author – his book, As Long As I Live, has been translated into four languages – and a standing-room only lecturer. Both religious and non-religious audiences flock to hear him. What makes him so extraordinary? Rav Margalit is a Chasidic Jew who experienced incredible challenges from a very young […]

J Street is the vanguard (Jewish face)in support of Obama’s Vienna Accords Nuclear Deal with Iran

“I hold the woman’s place over that of men in every fundamental aspect of public and private life.”

The US-UNRWA accord is another example of this White House, hostile to Israel, disregarding truth.

On the saddest day on the Jewish calendar, Tisha B’av, a reflection on the dangerous deal with Iran

The Kotel gained significance around 1550. Previously, many Jews prayed on the Temple Mount itself.

All Jews MUST stand together to oppose boycotts against Israel. So why does NIF & JCF support BDS?

This year it is hard to concentrate on anything but Iran building nuclear weapons to destroy Israel

Bibi failed the moment he transferred Israel’s Iran problem to the international arena.

I was entranced by Kaddish, a song of sorrow of the whole of Israel for the 1000s of years of exile

Like the Avos, we are invested with the mission to inspire humanity to become nobler and greater

Iran accords are worse than Munich; even Chamberlain would be shocked at what is transpiring again.

An unhappy person cannot become happy by acquiring items. Happiness has to come from somewhere else.

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-fourth-of-four-parts/2012/03/22/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: