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President Obama, imprisoned by clichés, still seeks to follow the so-called "Road Map" to Middle East peace. At the core of this fictionalized cartography is a deceptively pleasing image of two states, one Arab, the other Jewish, living gently side-by-side. In reality, the birth of "Palestine" would signal the unambiguous beginning of a "One State Solution."
After absorbing any enemy nuclear aggression, Israel would certainly respond with a nuclear retaliatory strike. Although nothing is publicly known about Israel's precise targeting doctrine, such a reprisal would likely be launched against the aggressor's capital city and/or against similarly high-value urban targets. There would be absolutely no assurances, in response to this sort of genocidal aggression, that Israel would limit itself to striking back against exclusively military targets. This point should not be lost on the principal decision makers in Tehran.
There is a little recognized but noteworthy irony in the still-ongoing (when and how will it end?) matter of Iranian nuclearization.From the standpoint of President Ahmadinejad in Tehran, any prospect of hastening the Shiite apocalypse may naturally be welcomed. In the United States and Israel, on the other hand, any conscious encouragement of a Final Battle is strenuously rejected. Whatever Scriptural expectations of End Times may be found embedded in Judaism and Christianity and however seriously they may be accepted among particular American and Israeli populations, these expressly apocalyptic visions have always beenrejected as plausible policy options.
Like the general who hones his military strategy by fighting the last war, America's politicians and some of its counterterrorism experts are engaged in thwarting future terrorist threats by diligently preparing for the past. Muslim-Arab terrorists hijack planes (this actually dates back to the 1960s, not 2001), and all passengers and luggage must be carefully searched.
With his December 1, 2009 speech at West Point, U.S. President Barack Obama repeated his lofty goal of "a world free of nuclear weapons." Although such an eloquent plea will surely resonate intuitively with all who would seek peace, it is, in fact, not only unattainable (something altogether obvious), but also undesirable. In the case of U.S. ally Israel, for example, worldwide denuclearization could open the doors to another Jewish genocide.
In the 2006 war against Hezbollah in Lebanon, Israel’s military strategy and tactics displayed some notable strengths, but also some considerable weaknesses. Of course, in the years ahead, Israel is apt to find itself confronted with a far greater threat of belligerency. This is the unrelieved prospect of a nuclear Iran – a possibly irremediable enemy state, and one with well-established ties both to Hezbollah and to an already nuclear North Korea. It follows, at every level of possible threat confrontation, that Israel’s military doctrine will now need to be informed by an improved and appropriately expanded body of pertinent understanding. This, in turn, will require a more refined and updated intellectual orientation to national strategic studies.
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.
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.
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.
Regarding the Oslo accords and Israel's vulnerability to war, Israeli security has become increasingly dependent upon nuclear weapons and strategy.
The Project Daniel Group strongly endorsed the prime minister's acceptance of a broad concept of defensive first strikes, but just as strongly advised against using his undisclosed nuclear arsenal for anything but essential deterrence.
In our age of Total War, Israel must always remain fully aware of those harms that would threaten its very continuance as a state.
Project Daniel examined some of the precise ways in which a nuclear war might actually begin between Israel and its enemies.
Israel remains the openly declared national and religious object of Arab/Islamic genocide.
The views expressed in these six columns are those of Professor Louis René Beres, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any other members of Project Daniel, or of any government.
We have seen that, among other purposes, Israel needs nuclear weapons to undertake and/or to support various forms of preemption.
We have seen (in last week's list of reasons, numbers 1 and 2) that Israel needs nuclear weapons, among other purposes, to deter large conventional attacks and all levels of unconventional attack by enemy states.
According to a May 1, 2008 article by Aaron Klein in WorldNetDaily, Joseph Cirincione, director of nuclear policy at the Center for American Progress, and an adviser on nuclear issues to Senator Barack Obama, has essentially urged Israel to give up its nuclear weapons.
ITEM: The Jerusalem Post (March 10) vividly recounted the heroism of Capt. David Shapira, a former student at Mercaz HaRav, who, hearing gunfire at the yeshiva during the recent terrorist atrocity, grabbed his weapon, left his nearby home, and ran to the rescue of Jewish children:
From the beginning, Israel's policy on its nuclear weapons and doctrine has been to keep the bomb quietly in the "basement." To be sure, this deliberate policy of nuclear ambiguity has done very little to deter "ordinary" conventional enemy aggressions or acts of terror. But it does seem to have been entirely adequate in keeping Israel's foes from mounting existential attacks.