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As the continuing flow of new missiles to Iran reveals, the Bush administration [Editors Note: This refers to first President Bush] remains committed to misconceived policies in the Middle East. Even if Israel were to yield West Bank and Gaza to create a new state of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, the government in Tehran would persist in its planned aggressions against the Jewish state. Altogether unconcerned with the fate of the Palestinians, this government can be satisfied only by Israel's disappearance.
After suffering anyenemy nuclear aggression, Israel wouldcertainly respond with a nuclear retaliatory strike. Although nothing is publicly known about Israel's precise targeting doctrine, such a reprisal would most likely be launched against the aggressor's capital city, and/or against similarly high-value urban targets. Understandably, there would be no assurances, in response to this sort of plainly genocidal aggression, that Israel would in any way limit itself to striking back against exclusively military targets.
In Israel, a core disagreement has emerged between Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon and former Mossad Chief Meir Dagan.
Project Daniel understood that international law has long allowed for states to initiate forceful defensive measures when there exists "imminent danger" of aggression. This rule of anticipatory self-defense was expanded and reinforced by then-President George W. Bush's issuance of The National Security Strategy of the United States of America. Released on September 20,2002, this document asserted, inter alia, that traditional concepts of deterrence would not work against an enemy "whose avowed tactics are wanton destruction and the targeting of innocents...." As Israel is substantially less defensible and more vulnerable than the United States, its particular right to resort to anticipatory self-defense under threat of readily identifiable existential harms is beyond legal question.
Both Israeli nuclear and non-nuclear preemptions of enemy unconventional aggressions could lead to nuclear exchanges. This would depend, in part, upon the effectiveness and breadth of Israeli targeting, the surviving number of enemy nuclear weapons and the willingness of enemy leaders to risk Israeli nuclear counter-retaliations. In any event, the likelihood of nuclear exchanges would obviously be greatest where potential Arab and/or Iranian aggressors were allowed to deploy ever-larger numbers of unconventional weapons without eliciting appropriate Israeli and/or American preemptions.
The more things change, the more they remain the same. As I have indicated again and again on these pages, Israel remains the openly declared national and religious object of Arab/Islamic genocide. This term is used here, again, in the literal and jurisprudential sense. It is not merely hyperbole or an exaggerated figure of speech.
Although The Group drew explicitly upon contemporary strategic thinking, we were also mindful of certain much-earlier investigations of war, power and survival. One such still-relevant investigation was identified in Sun-Tzu's classic, The Art of War.
"We are often asked," said the late Italian Jew and Holocaust survivor Primo Levi, in The Drowned and the Saved, "as if our past conferred a prophetic ability upon us, whether Auschwitz will return." However we might choose to answer such a terrible but unavoidable question, the Jewish past seems not to have conferred the most indispensable abilities to anticipate new and still-possible genocides.
Palestine, Iran And Israel’s Nuclear Strategy: Critical Notes for an Essential Strategic Policy in...
In the always complex discourse of nuclear strategy, critical thinking is a "net." Only those who cast will catch. To calculate Israel's best strategic options in the months and years ahead, the capable strategist must continue to ask and answer difficult questions persistently, patiently, and above all, systematically. Only by drawing together, seamlessly, this interrelated body of queries and replies, can the serious military analyst ever hope for a coherent and comprehensive body of military and diplomatic theory - a strategic master plan from which particular policies and decisions can be suitably extracted. The only alternative is the usual patchwork quilt of journalistic or reportorial "explanation," an arbitrary mélange of more or less disjointed information and factoids lacking even the rudiments of predictive thought.
Only a selective end to its nuclear ambiguity would allow Israel to exploit the potentially considerable benefits of a Samson Option. Should Israel choose to keep its Bomb in the "basement," therefore, it could not make any use of the Samson Option.
The Israeli policy of an undeclared nuclear capacity will not work indefinitely. Left unrevised, this policy will fail. The most obvious locus of failure would be Iran.
We must immediately recognize, and reveal widely, that there is no "cycle of violence" in the Middle East, only intermittent Arab/Islamic terror followed by indispensable Israeli counter-terror. If the Palestinian terrorists were to simply and unconditionally stop their murderous attacks on unprotected civilians, Israelis would never lift another hand against them. It's that simple.
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 aggression, that Israel would limit itself to striking back against exclusively military targets.
Some truths are counter-intuitive. At first, it would seem plain that a world without nuclear weapons must be preferable to one with such weapons. Upon reflection, however, it becomes evident that there are some countries for whom nuclear arms are indispensable to their physical survival. For these imperiled nations, surrendering nuclear status could effectively be an invitation to genocide. The most obvious case in point is Israel.
After Palestine, conditions in the Middle East would be markedly less favorable to both Israel and the United States. The only credible way for Israel to deter large-scale conventional attacks following Palestinian statehood would be by maintaining visible and increasingly large-scale conventional capabilities. Naturally, enemy states contemplating first-strike attacks upon Israel using chemical and/or biological weapons would be apt to take more seriously Israel's nuclear deterrent. Whether or not this nuclear deterrent had remained undisclosed (the so-called "bomb in the basement") could also affect Israel's deterrent credibility and, thereby, U.S. security.
However unwittingly, President Obama is now setting the stage for Israel's dismemberment. Almost certainly, his fixed and unwavering commitment to a Palestinian state stems from the purest and most sensible of motives. Surely this principled commitment is drawn from some deeply personal and historic sense of justice and fairness, and not from any sort of insidious anti-Israel bias. The problem, however, is that this seemingly well-intentioned presidential interest in fair play is starkly at odds with an asymmetrically brutal geopolitical reality in the Middle East.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Credo quia absurdum. "I believe because it is absurd." How, then, shall we Jews survive in such a distorted and meshugana world, both as individuals, and as the always-fragile Jewish State? In our collective form, shall we truly "Seek peace, and pursue it," when our enemies' brand of "sanity" lies relentlessly in genocide and war? Or should we just reluctantly resign ourselves to ceaseless conflict as the unavoidable expression of sanity in an undeniably insane world?
Credo quia absurdum. "I believe because it is absurd." Here is a brief story to suitably "set our stage." During World War I, a Jew loses his way along the Austro-Hungarian frontier. Wandering through the woods late at night, he is abruptly stopped in his tracks by the screaming challenge of a nervous border-guard: "Halt, or I'll shoot." The Jew blinks uncomfortably into the beam of the searchlight and retorts with obvious annoyance: "What's the matter with you? Are you meshuga? Can't you see that this is a flesh-and-blood human being?"