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September 2, 2014 / 7 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘deterrence’

The Shakiest Nukes in the West

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

In case everyone in Northeast Asia missed it, in spite of their intelligence and early-warning networks which have assuredly been tracking it in fine detail, the Obama Defense Department announced on Monday that the U.S. has been deterring North Korea by sending B-52 bombers on practice runs in its vicinity.  The specter of nuclear deterrence was clarified by Deputy Secretary Ashton Carter:

Deputy defense secretary Ashton Carter said during a visit to South Korea on Monday that the bomber flights are part of the U.S. “extended deterrence”—the use of U.S. nuclear forces to deter North Korea, which conducted its third underground nuclear test Feb. 12.

Nukes! I say.  Nukes!  Pay attention, dudes.

As Bill Gertz demurely puts it, “It is unusual for the Pentagon to make such overt statements about the use of strategic nuclear forces in Asia Pacific.”

Deterrence. Indeed.  That’s because such overt statements are a form of strutting and posturing that makes the U.S. look foolish.  Kim Jong-Un may be a weirdo who hangs out with Dennis Rodman, but he knows we have nukes.  North Korea wants nukes because the U.S., Russia, and China have them, and, in the crudest sense, they make us powerful – if not invincible, at least hard for anyone else to deter.

Making pointed comments about “extended deterrence” comes off as a novice’s imitation of what he thinks a tough security policy sounds like.  It’s kind of informative, in fact: this is what the political left thinks is necessary for achieving deterrence.  You have to remind everyone about your nukes.

It’s not like decision-makers in North Korea, South Korea, Japan, Russia, and China have been unaware of our big exercise with the B-52 participation.  Their radars track the B-52s all over the air space off the coast of Northeast Asia.  Each of them has a foreign-forces guide that informs every soldier and airman of the nuclear role played by the B-52 in the U.S. deterrence arsenal.  They fully understand what they’re seeing when the B-52s show up.

But to publicly emphasize the U.S. nuclear deterrent in this circumstance is misdirected anyway, if the deterrence target is North Korea.  For Pyongyang, evidence of the U.S. commitment to South Korea has been shown most effectively by our conventional military cooperation, which includes thousands of troops stationed in the South.  The nuclear threat is always implicitly there, but it isn’t needed to deter Kim Jong-Un.  We can take him down without going nuclear.  The audience for nuclear deterrence is Russia and China, and the point of it has always been to deter them from trying to settle the Korean situation themselves, to the detriment of our allies and interests in the region.

Is there any sense being fostered by anyone in the Obama administration that China or Russia needs special nuclear-deterring in the current situation with North Korea?  Does anyone at all, even outside the administration, think that’s necessary?  I don’t see that theme being retailed anywhere.  It makes no sense to rattle the nuclear saber at Kim Jong-Un.  But no case has been made that it ought to be rattled at Vladimir Putin or Li Keqiang either.

Nukes aren’t something you wave around like a drunk brandishing a knife.  The current situation has that feel to it, however.

Consider another aspect the situation. The Northeast Asian nations are sophisticated enough to understand: that U.S. nuclear-armed submarines are not sitting “near South Korean waters,” as claimed in additional South Korean news reporting cited by Gertz.  Sitting near South Korean waters would be pointless.  If a U.S nuke were ever launched at North Korea from a submarine, it would be launched from out in the Pacific by a ballistic missile submarine (SSBN).  We don’t have any other submarine-launched nukes today.

The nuclear Tomahawk missile (TLAM-N), formerly launched by attack submarines, was removed from U.S. ships and submarines in 1991 and put in storage.  Obama’s 2010 Nuclear Posture Review recommended eliminating the TLAM-N from the U.S. inventory, and, as described by the Federation of American Scientists, the new 2013 version of the Navy’s baseline instruction on nuclear weapons contains no section on the TLAM-N.  This indicates that the TLAM-N is no longer in the inventory of nuclear weapons.

All tactical nuclear weapons having now been retired from the U.S. arsenal, there is no submarine-launched nuke that could be fired from a position “near South Korean waters.”  No one in Northeast Asia lacks the intelligence or resources to figure that out.  How did that impression get left with the South Korean media?

Perhaps the Obama administration imagines that it’s appropriate to pointedly warn North Korea about our nukes because Kim has a nuclear weapon himself?  The leap of logic here is fatal to stability, if that’s the thinking.  Even if Kim expended his one or handful of nuclear warheads, it is in the highest degree unlikely that we would use nukes on him, for the simple reason that it isn’t necessary.  If Kim getting one nuke causes the U.S. to begin treating North Korea like a credible nuclear power, then that one nuke has accomplished its purpose, and everyone else across the globe will want to try it.

There might be a neighborhood in which having a crude warhead or two makes one a member of an elite nuclear-armed “club” – but it isn’t Northeast Asia.  North Korea has not achieved the ultimate goal of the nuclear-armed dictator: invulnerability to deterrence.  Kim is still badly over matched in every way by Russia, China, and the U.S. – and, in fact, is over matched conventionally by South Korea and Japan as well, if it came to that.  It is unseemly and off-kilter for the U.S. to get into a nuclear showdown with North Korea.

There might or might not be utility in giving a bit of “informational” emphasis to our exercise series with South Korea right now, with the North being so obstreperous.  But there is no need to issue reminders of our nuclear capabilities.  Doing so, in fact, comes off as uncalibrated and a bit hysterical.

Originally published at the Optimistic Conservative.

Bizzaro Chanukah: Heavily Armed Jews Defeated by a Few Rock Slinging Goyim (Video)

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

Who is subjecting our men and women in uniform to this kind of humiliation?

Under the triumvirate of Prime Minister Netanyahu, Defense Minister Barak, and Foreign Minister Liberman, the IDF has lost all semblance of deterrence. It has evaporated in Gaza, where on Friday the leader of the terrorist state of Hamas, Khalid Mashaal, was able to stand in broad daylight and proclaim his right to Jerusalem, Haifa and Jaffa, and no rocket came down on him from the sky. And it is gone in Judea and Samaria, where the local youth gangs have lost all fear of the IDF.

Just watch the two videos below. You’ll see, from two different angles, how an IDF squad, armed to the teeth and carrying riot gear, chases after Arab hooligans in the village of Yamun, west of Jenin. At some point, the crowd turns around and starts pelting the soldiers with rocks.

And the soldiers ran.

Because if our soldiers dared defend themselves, in front of the cameras, they would be court martialed that same afternoon and be imprisoned, demoted, dishonorably discharged, you name it.

This is why they’re running.

What’s the point of sending them out there in the first place?

Watch the videos. They tell a tale of loss. The strongest army in the Middle East has been defeated by its commanders and the politicians who appoint their commanders.

Watch, and be certain – the weaker Israel appears to the Arabs, the greater the chances that the third Intifada is already brewing, already around the corner. God forbid, we’re entering a very dark winter in which our enemies have become stronger and we have discovered a myriad innovative ways of sabotaging our own military.

Watch the video and start preparing for bad news.



 

For Israel, What Next In The Matter Of Iran? (2 of 3)

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Steadily, Israel is strengthening its plans for ballistic missile defense, most visibly on the Arrow system and also on Iron Dome, a lower-altitude interceptor that is designed to guard against shorter-range rocket attacks from Lebanon and Gaza.

Unavoidably, these defensive systems, including certain others, which are still in the development phase, would have leakage. Because system penetration by even a single enemy missile carrying a nuclear warhead could, by definition, be intolerable, their principal benefit would not lie in supplying added physical protection for Israeli populations. Instead, this still-considerable benefit would have to lie elsewhere – that is, in critical enhancements of Israeli nuclear deterrence.

If still rational, a newly nuclear Iran would require incrementally increasing numbers of offensive missiles. This would be needed to achieve or to maintain a sufficiently destructive first-strike capability against Israel. There could come a time, however, when Iran would become able to deploy substantially more than a small number of nuclear-tipped missiles. Should that happen, all of Israel’s active defenses, already inadequate as ultimate guarantors of physical protection, could cease functioning as critically supportive adjuncts to Israeli nuclear deterrence.

In the case of anticipated Iranian decisional “madness,” a still timely preemption against Iran, even if at very great cost and risk to Israel, could prove indispensable. Yet, at least in itself, this plainly destabilizing scenario is insufficiently plausible to warrant defensive first strikes. Israel would be better served by a bifurcated or two-pronged plan for successful deterrence. Here, one “prong” would be designed for an expectedly rational Iranian adversary, the other for a presumptively irrational one.

In broadest policy contours, we already know what Israel would need to do in order to maintain a stable deterrence posture vis-à-vis a newly nuclear Iran. But what if the leaders of such an adversary did not meet the characteristic expectations of rational behavior in world politics? In short, what if this leadership, from the very start or perhaps more slowly over time, chose not to consistently value Iran’s national survival as a state more highly than any other preference, or combination of preferences?

In such acutely threatening circumstances, Israel’s leaders would need to look closely at two eccentric and more-or-less untried nuclear deterrence strategies, possibly even in tandem with one another. First, these leaders would have to understand that even an irrational Iranian leadership could display distinct preferences, and associated hierarchies or rank-orderings of preferences. Their task, then, would be to determine precisely what these particular preferences might be (most likely, they would have to do with certain presumed religious goals), and, also, how these preferences are apt to be ranked in Tehran.

Second, Israel’s leaders would have to determine, among other things, the likely deterrence benefits of pretended irrationality. An irrational Iranian enemy, if it felt Israel’s decision-makers were irrational themselves, could be determinedly less likely to strike first. Years ago, General Moshe Dayan, then Israel’s minister of defense, declared: “Israel must be seen as a mad dog; too dangerous to bother.” With this warning, Dayan revealed an intuitive awareness of the possible long-term benefits, to Israel, of feigned irrationality.

Of course, pretending irrationality could also be a double-edged sword, frightening the Iranian side to a point where it might actually feel more compelled to strike first itself. This risk of unwittingly encouraging enemy aggression could apply as well to an Iranian adversary that had been deemed rational. In this connection, it is worth noting, Israel could apply the tactic of pretended irrationality to a presumptively rational Iranian leadership, as well as to an expectedly irrational one.

On analytic balance, it may even be more purposeful for Israel to use this tactic in those cases where Iran had first been judged to be rational.

The dialectics of such multi-factorial calculations are enormously complex, and also potentially bewildering. Still, they must be studied and worked through meticulously, and by all seriously concerned strategists and decision-makers. For Israel, there is no rational alternative.

There is, however, a relevant prior point. Before Israel’s leaders could proceed gainfully with any plans for deterring an irrational Iranian nuclear adversary, they would first need to be convinced that this adversary was, in fact, genuinely irrational, and not simply pretending irrationality.

The importance of an early sequencing for this vital judgment cannot be overstated. Because all specific Israeli deterrence policies must be founded upon the presumed rationality or irrationality of prospective nuclear enemies, accurately determining precise enemy preferences and preference-orderings will have to become the very first core phase of strategic planning in Tel Aviv.

For Israel, What Next In The Matter Of Iran? (First of Three Parts)

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

Israel’s final decision concerning what to do about a nuclear Iran will depend on answers to certain core psychological questions. Is the Iranian adversary rational, valuing national survival more highly than any other preference, or combination of preferences? Or, on even a single occasion, is this enemy more apt to prove itself irrational, thereby choosing to value certain preferences more highly than the country’s indispensable physical security?

It is also possible that authoritative Iranian decision-makers could be neither rational or irrational but mad. In such unlikely, but especially daunting, circumstances, deterrence would no longer serve any conceivable Israeli strategic purpose. At that point, Jerusalem’s only effectively remaining policy choice would be: (1) to hope for regime change in Tehran, but otherwise passively await Israel’s destruction, or (2) to strike first itself, preemptively, whatever the global outcry, and irrespective of the shattering military consequences.

These are not frivolous or contrived descriptions of presumed Iranian leadership orientations. To be sure, the resultant wisdom of any considered Israeli preemption will ultimately depend on choosing correctly, and on reliably anticipating Iranian judgments over an extended period of time. For genuine safety, Israel must prepare to make decisions that are subtle, nuanced, and of protracted utility.

This is not the time to confuse conventional meanings with strategic precision. Even an irrational Iranian leadership could maintain a distinct and determinable hierarchy of preferences. Unlike trying to influence a “mad” leadership, therefore, it could still be purposeful for Israel to attempt deterrence of such a “merely” irrational adversary.

More than likely, Iran is not a mad or crazy state. Though it is true, at least doctrinally, that Iran’s political and clerical leaders could sometime decide to welcome the Shiite apocalypse, and even its associated destructions, these enemy decision-makers might still remain subject to certain different sorts of deterrent threats.

Faced with such extraordinary circumstances, conditions under which an already nuclear Iran could not be effectively prevented from striking first by threatening the usual harms of retaliatory destruction, Israel would need to identify, in advance, less orthodox but still promising, forms of reprisal.

Such eccentric kinds of reprisal would inevitably center upon those preeminent religious preferences and institutions that remain most indisputably sacred to Shiite Iran.

For Israel, facing a rational adversary would undoubtedly be best. A presumably rational leadership in Tehran would make it significantly easier for Jerusalem to reasonably forego the preemption option. In these more predictable circumstances, Iran could still be reliably deterred by some or all of the standard military threats available to states, credible warnings that are conspicuously linked to “assured destruction.”

But it is not for Israel to choose the preferred degree of enemy rationality.

Unless there is an eleventh-hour defensive first strike by Israel – a now improbable attack that would most likely follow an authoritative determination of actual or prospective Iranian “madness” – a new nuclear adversary in the region will make its appearance. For Israel, this portentous development would then mandate a prudent and well thought out plan for coexistence. Then, in other words, Israel would have to learn to “live with” a nuclear Iran.

There would be no reasonable alternative.

And it would be a complex and problematic education. Forging such a requisite policy of nuclear deterrence would require, among other things, (1) reduced ambiguity about particular elements of Israel’s strategic forces; (2) enhanced and partially disclosed nuclear targeting options; (3) substantial and partially revealed programs for improved active defenses; (4) certain recognizable steps to ensure the perceived survivability of its nuclear retaliatory forces, including more or less explicit references to Israeli sea-basing of such forces; (5) further expansion of preparations for both cyber-defense and cyber-war; and, in order to bring together all of these complex and intersecting enhancements in a coherent mission plan, and (6) a comprehensive strategic doctrine.

Additionally, because of the residual but serious prospect of Iranian irrationality – not madness – Israel’s military planners will have to identify suitable ways of ensuring that even a nuclear “suicide state” could be deterred. Such a uniquely perilous threat could actually be very small, but, if considered together with Iran’s Shiite eschatology, it might still not be negligible.

Further, while the expected probability of having to face such an irrational enemy state could be very low, the expected disutility or anticipated harm of any single deterrence failure could be flat out unacceptable.

(Continued Next Week)

Mofaz on his Facebook Page: Ceasefire A Mistake

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Opposition leader and Kadima chairman MK Shaul Mofaz expressed opposition to the ceasefire on his Facebook page.

Mofaz wrote that “the ceasefire is a mistake and the next round with Hamas is waiting around the corner.” Mofaz also wrote that “in practice the military’s operational achievements did not translate into political success. You don’t settle with terrorism. There decision. And, unfortunately, a decisive victory has not been achieved and we did not recharge our deterrence. As the Chief of Staff during the Defensive Shield operation I stopped the suicide bombers. I know it’s possible. It’s possible to defeat terrorism.”

It should be noted that Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz was in charge of removing the IDF from the Gaza Strip, along with some 10 thousand Jewish residents. That move has probably contributed more than anything else Israel has done since the Oslo Accord of 1992 to deteriorate the state of her security.

Former Chief Scientist of Education Ministry: Cut off Gaza’s Power, Kill the Hamas Leadership

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

Rocket Scientist Dr. Gabi Avital, formerly the chief scientist of the Education Ministry, Doctor of Aeronautical Engineering, who is running for a spot on the Likud list for the Knesset, spoke on Saturday night to a local Israeli radio station regarding the new barrage of rockets shot into Israel from Gaza, with four IDF soldiers hit while riding a jeep along the border. The interviewer, Shaul Cohen, asked if, with an angry public a million Israelis spending the night in bomb shelter, is the Netanyahu government isn’t performing now even worse than the Ehud Olmenrt government had done, facing a heating confrontation in Gaza.

Avital did not take the bait, saying earlier incidents, in Olmert’s day, were far more severe. Nevertheless, he stressed that it made no sense for a civilian population to remain under fire as hostages, in the name of the hope for some future negotiations for a compromise.

“The State of Israel must decide – no more terror. It’s true that this is an on-going war, but if a million people are held hostage, and the other side is allowed to shoot whenever they wish, with only minor retaliation, not the kind that would bring a resolution, this deems an examination.”

Dr. Avital said the Likud government, with, hopefully a different defense minister (the current minister, Ehud Barak, is loathed by the vast majority of Likud rank and file), must make good on commitments which were made in the past.”

Asked how he would deal with rocket barrages from the State of Gaza, Avital said, “We first must make the disengagement final. So far the disengagement has been one-sided. Israel continues to supply Gaza with energy: electricity, gasoline and consumer goods are still being trucked over. We must block all that permanently. If we are disengaged, then let’s be disengaged in both directions. And then we have to pick whatever targets must be exploded and destroyed in order that the citizens of Israel can live in security.”

The next phase in Dr. Avital’s plan is to “take out the heads of Hamas. Either kill them or take out Gaza as a whole, something totally dramatic.”

Asked to be specific, Avital said, “[We must tell them], if you keep the peace, you’ll get peace. Otherwise, your blood is on your own head, you, Hamas.”

But what should Israel do right now, after four IDF soldiers have been hit?

“I repeat, the reaction must be the annihilation of the heads of Hamas. Not the pawns, but [prime minister Ismail] Haniyeh and his people – the king and queen must go. This is why I insist that we must have a complete disengagement. The way we tried in the past to take out Arafat.”

Avital reminded the listeners of the last minute decision not to kill the late PLO chairman Yassir Arafat during the first Lebanon war, when he was already in the IDF’s crosshairs. “If we had killed him things would have looked much different,” Avital argued. “We would have prevented many deaths among Jews and Arabs alike.”

The interviewer asked if the killing of four Arabs, with 30 injured, last night was a sufficient response.

“I fail to understand the term ‘enough,’” Avital responded. “In my opinion it is forbidden to permit even one Israeli soldier or civilian to fall – and likewise on the other side. But right now we are not employing sufficient deterrence. What’s the meaning of ‘deterrence?’ the kind that would cause the other side to think a thousand times before they dare shoot. Right now they’re not thinking a thousand times – they just shoot. So they lost four men. What kind of game is this?”

How many Hamas heads must be killed tonight in retaliation for the shooting at out jeep? the interviewer wanted to know.

“Before we do that, we must complete the disengagement. First of all, we disconnect their electricity. No more electricity from Israel. No more Israeli goods. And we must pursue a similar attack to the one we launched against the Hizbollah in 2006, which was so harsh, they’re still keeping their heads down in fear. That would mean real deterrence. Today we don’t have real deterrence.”

Dr. Avital surmised that in the current government, Prime Minister Netanyahu has been unable to direct his Defense Minister Barak and the Chief of Staff Benny Ganz to launch a sufficiently massive attack on Gaza, suggesting the next government, with a different defense leadership, would do a better job.

Dr. Avital was fired from his post as Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Education following several statements that were met with severe criticism in the media. He objected to teaching the theory of Evolution without presenting students with the body of study objecting to the theory. He also objected to the notion that global warming was man made, and he also objected to recycling plastic bottles.

Dr. Avital is chairman of the organization of Professors for a Strong Israel.

Knesset Speaker Rivlin: Must Attack Iran, Can’t Keep Bluffing

Friday, August 24th, 2012

Knesset Speaker Reuven “Ruvi” Rivlin openly supported an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

In an interview with Makor Rishon this week Rivlin said, “If we don’t attack [Iran], we will lose our deterrence with our enemies. If Israel keeps threatening and threatening, but in the end doesn’t act, it will place us in a bad strategic position.”

Rivlin continued, “Israel’s deterrence capabilities are a strategic asset that has no equivalent.”

Rivlin then went on to attack specific individuals, such as Kadima head Shaul Mofaz, and the various former intelligence chiefs, condemnibg what he believes is their need to comment in real-time on the Iran situation, because otherwise they won’t be considered “in.”

A life-long conservative and member of the Likud party, Rivlin ran for president in 2007 as the Likud candidate. He withdrew after the first round of voting when it became clear that Shimon Peres had sufficiently broad support to win in a run-off.

This week, Rivlin, who may still has his on eye on the presidency, attacked President Shimon Peres as well, saying, “It bothers me less what the president said this week, than what his friends say, that the president is planning to return to politics. I recommend he just stick to playing with the polls.”

“I suggest to each one of our politicians and leaders to do some soul-searching,” the Speaker said. “Even if it was necessary to saturate the world with these critical issues, even if they used it the right way, it seems to me that too much politics is mixed in, which is not good. Even if you don’t mean it, you have to understand that sometimes when politics is mixed you can go into a tailspin.”

“Today in our politics we don’t know what it is right and what is left,” Rivlin said. “We don’t know who is an ideologue and who is willing to buy an ideological line if it serves them publicly. I mean, are we leading the public or are we being led by the public. Do we hear first what the public wants and then construct our position, or vice versa.”

“In the end,” Rivlin warned, the situation has deteriorated to the point where we flounder over serious, existential questions affecting the State of Israel.”

During his earlier term as speaker, Rivlin drew criticism for breaking the tradition of political neutrality of his post—he was one of Ariel Sharon’s harshest critics over the expulsion of Jews from Gush Katif, and had a public confrontation with Aharon Barak, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, concerning the court’s authority to declare legislation illegal. He has been re-elected to the post of speaker in 2006 and 2009.

In June of 2010, Rivlin ignored the advice of a committee that recommended the removal of Arab party Balad MK Haneen Zoabi for her participation in the Gaza flotilla earlier that year. He was criticized by many MKs—on the Right this time—while the Left praised Rivlin for his defense of Israel’s democracy.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/ruby-rivlin-goes-on-the-offensive/2012/08/24/

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