Without getting lost in the immensely dense intricacies of quantum theory and the theories of relativity, we already know that modern physics has witnessed revolutionary breakthroughs in the rational understanding of space and time. Normally, however, these imaginative breakthroughs - which have produced entirely new "paradigms" or scientific models of the physical universe, still remain distant from analytic considerations of international relations and international law.
In some important respects, Iran is only a microcosm. Whatever happens next within that particularly troubled and troubling country, many of the deepest underlying problems and divisions will remain genuinely global.This is because revolution, despotism, war and terrorism are always generic issues in world politics. In the end - that is, civilizationally - they will need to be understood and confronted on a broadly international level.
The following article was originally published in The Jewish Press in February 2000. It is being reprinted here now because over the past ten years, nothing has been learned about the central impediment to real peace in the Middle East. The core problem was, and still is, the far-reaching Islamic hatred of Jews. Doctrinally, Israel will never be accepted in the Islamic Middle East because it is a Jewish state. As with the Oslo process discussed in this 2000 article, no "Road Map" or other currently favored form of twisted cartography can hold any plausible promise for Israel. Today, as in the case of Oslo, the Road Map simply requires Israel to exchange land for nothing. President Barack Obama, please take note.
In Judaism, there can be no justification for deliberate self-endangerment, and in classic Greek tragedy, there can be no deus ex machina. In tragedy, the human spirit remains noble in the face of inescapable death, but if there should remain anything genuinely tragic in Israel's incremental capitulations to "Palestine," it lies only in the original Greek meaning of the term - "goat song" - from the dithyrambs sung by goatskin-clad worshippers of Dionysus. In every other sense, Prime Minister Netanyahu's plan exhibits behavior that would, however unwittingly, desecrate Israel's Jewish heritage and its survival obligations.
Credo quia absurdum. "I believe because it is absurd." Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is now officially on record in favor of creating a Palestinian state (a position that he had long opposed), but only if the new Arab state is "demilitarized." Naturally, any such notion of demilitarization will be anathema to the Palestinians and their supporters, and has - in fact - already been rejected by all of them.
To be sure, it's a theme that I have already pursued in this column on several occasions, but nonetheless one that still seems to warrant further emphasis and elucidation. We all seem to know what Jihadistterrorists are after, yet our pertinent U.S. foreign policies remain founded upon altogether contrary assumptions. The most obvious example of such confusion, perhaps, is this country's continuing support of Palestinian statehood, an outcome that would, prima facie, undermine America's war on terror.
Back in October 2006, then-US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had urged Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to free imprisoned terrorist Marwan Barghouti. Her obviously naïve argument was that the Tanzim leader remained very popular among Palestinians, and that he was likely the only Fatah representative who could successfully advance the U.S.-led "Middle East Peace Process." Today, not without irony, similar arguments are being raised in Israel itself, even in the Knesset. Following the election of Barghouti to Fatah's powerful Central Committee on August 11, Minority Affairs Minister Avishay Braverman (Labor) said: "In light of the election results, we must consider releasing him in order to create a moderate and strong political leadership among the Palestinians."
Deceptions Of A “Nuclear Weapons-Free World”: Why President Obama’s Good Intentions Could Bring Genocidal...
We have seen that Israel could conceivably need nuclear weapons, among several other essential purposes, for nuclear war fighting. Should nuclear deterrence options and/or preemption options fail altogether, Israel's "hard target" capabilities could be critical to national survival. These capabilities could depend, in part, upon nuclear weapons.
Preemption Options We have seen that, among other purposes, Israel needs nuclear weapons to undertake and/or to support various forms of conventional preemption. In making its preemption decisions, Israel must determine whether such essential defensive strikes, known jurisprudentially as expressions of anticipatory self-defense, would be cost-effective. This would depend upon a number of critical variables, including: (a) expected probability of enemy first-strikes; (b) expected cost of enemy first-strikes; (c) expected schedule of enemy unconventional weapons deployment; (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 U.S. and world community reactions to Israeli preemptions.
As we asked last week, why then must Israel remain a nuclear power? We continue with the detailed and complete answer that Prime Minister Netanyahu should prepare to transmit to President Obama.
In his clearly expressed preference for a world without nuclear weapons, U.S. President Obama means well. Viscerally, at least, his idealized vision of a non-nuclear world certainly seems desirable. But the deeper intellectual and policy issue is not just the enduring and possibly irremediable security problem of strategic uncertainty and verification (why, for example, would any existing nuclear power disarm without being sure of reciprocal nuclear disarmament by all the other nuclear states?), but also that nuclear weapons are not inherently evil or even per se destabilizing. In many critical circumstances, as we should already have learned from basic Soviet-American peace dynamics during the Cold War, nuclear weapons can even be indispensable to the avoidance of catastrophic war.
Finally, Vice President Biden has acknowledged what has been argued in this column and elsewhere for several years. Speaking for the president, to be sure, Biden asserted that Israel, as a "sovereign nation," has every right to protect itself against a nuclearizing Iran. Understood in terms of international law, the precise preemptive action that Mr. Biden has in mind is called "anticipatory self-defense." Today, however, the real problem is less a matter of law than of operational cost and complexity. Although the vice president is correct about Israel's legal right to stay alive, it is already very late in the game to make preemption work.
At a moment when Israel is under new jurisprudential assaults from those world leaders who would pay no attention to pertinent international law (most conspicuously, President Obama's commitment to a still one-sided "Road Map"), it may be a good time to recall previous episodes of more-or-less similar disregard.
In 1882, Leo Pinsker, a Jewish physician of Odessa, horrified by the pogroms of 1881, concluded (quite reasonably, to be sure) that anti-Semitism is an incurable psychosis. The remedy, he then adduced, must be for all Jews to accept the imperatives of self-help and self-liberation. Later, Theodore Herzl, having witnessed the spectacle of Alfred Dreyfus in France, wrote The Jewish State.
Everyone who reads The Jewish Press fully understands that Judea and Samaria are the very heartland of the Jewish People. We also know that no Israeli government has the right to surrender this sacred land to any other sovereign body, least of all to an Arab/Islamic authority that openly seeks Israel's total destruction. Significantly, as I have indicated many times in previous columns in The Jewish Press, Israel's biblical claims to Judea/Samaria are fully and unambiguously supported by pertinent international law.
Some things never change. Even (or especially) more-or-less apocalyptic threats recur. "It is in the thick of a calamity," says Albert Camus in The Plague, "that one gets hardened to the truth, in other words, to silence." As my faithful readers here in The Jewish Press already know, "silence" is what we shall soon become hardened to in Iran.
Faced with staggering and largely unprecedented geopolitical threats, President Obama already understands the limits of military action against terrorism. At the same time, it is unlikely that he also fully appreciates the stark and absolutely determinative role of religion and ritual in shaping America's principal terrorist adversaries. It is imperative, therefore, that the president begin to understand that all Arab/Islamic terrorism, including Palestinian terrorism, is authentically driven by deeply theological notions of sacrifice.
How desperately I would like to be more "positive" in these columns. Like my ever-faithful readers here at The Jewish Press, I would dearly welcome an opportunity - any opportunity - to discover some real evidence of genuine progress toward peace in the Middle East. But, as always, we Jews are especially obligated to look squarely at things the way they are. Recalling our history as a people, we simply should not expect that our most optimistic inclinations will somehow be wished into truth.
Not surprisingly, with regard to Israel, The New York Times continues to publish essentially only the Arab side of the story. In this connection, an especially egregious April 4 article by Professor George Bisharat ("Israel On Trial") was decidedly more of a visceral attack upon Israel's recent Gaza operation than it was a sober jurisprudential assessment.
When I first wrote in The Jewish Press about the problems of Palestinian demilitarization in February 1998, Benjamin Netanyahu was Israel's prime minister. Today, he has again assumed the same position, and is still on record against full statehood for "Palestine." He continues to speak more or less obliquely of Palestinian "self-rule," "autonomy," or "attributes of restricted sovereignty."
On its face, it would surely be foolish to blame Daimler-Chrysler's extraordinary woes on the very dark history of Daimler-Benz. On its face, the combined company's deep decline is manifestly a function of bad economic judgments. After all, from the very start, the 1998 decision by Germany's Daimler-Benz to merge with Chrysler simply made no financial sense.
Human interdependence and generalized compassion, integral to a universalized Judaism, are indispensable to species survival. In this respect, President Barack Obama seemingly understands something very Jewish: The state of our now-tormented American union is intimately intertwined with the state of our whole world.
From an existential standpoint, Israel must quickly change its strategic and diplomatic course, or prepare to disappear in increments. More specifically, with a new prime minister in place, Israel will soon need to reassess its presumed faith in the so-called Road Map to Peace in the Middle East.
Over these many years, as my faithful readers will recall, I have occasionally referenced the idea and concept of time in my Jewish Press columns. For the most part, these column references to chronology have pertained very precisely to very particular Israeli issues. This week, however, expanding my ambit of concern, I would like to center an entire argument concerning Israel's survival on time.
Until now, the strategic issue of Israel's nuclear ambiguity - the so-called "bomb in the basement" - has been kept squarely on the back burner. Today, however, time is quickly running out for the Jewish State, and Israel's new/old prime minister absolutely must reconsider this burning issue. From the standpoint of urgency, of course, the immediate problem is Iran.