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The Bibi Two-Step

The Israeli prime minister has become quite adept at dancing away from political trouble over the settlements and Iran.

by
Moshe Dann

Bio

June 28, 2009 - 12:14 am
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This situation severely limits Israel’s options, primarily its reliance on anti-missile defense. Chances are good that an incoming missile will be intercepted, which would then entitle a response with full force.

Ironically, once it achieves nuclear capability, Iran is more identifiably dangerous, and therefore more limited. The more threatening Iran becomes, the higher the stakes, the more intense a confrontation and the likelihood of a serious response. This offers the only real chance to prevent Iran from attacking.

The United States, Britain and France (at least) must warn Iran that launching a missile — any missile (since it can be assumed to be a WMD) –- would result in the total annihilation of Iran by a combined international force. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s refusal to make this clear weakens any opposition and offers no incentives for Iran to change course.

The warning to Iran must be clear, unequivocal, and substantive, obligating the “great powers,” including NATO, to become part of a control mechanism, and one that will act decisively. There can be no question about the ramifications of a first-strike launch using WMD.

The advantage of such a system is that it virtually locks in all participants and everyone knows the rules. Iran’s success up to now has been due to the lack of rules, clear red lines, and meaningful consequences. The responsibility for prudence and self-preservation as well as the system itself, therefore, is incumbent on every player. And once armed, there is no withdrawal.

Without doubt, Iran, like Pakistan and North Korea, will try to distribute and build facilities for WMD, and they may be initially successful, as occurred recently when a nuclear facility was being built in Syria. It would appear, however, that these initiatives could be readily eliminated.

Countries which have WMD and threaten others should be ostracized. This could easily become part of the UN Charter and other international bodies. In this way, Iran acquiring nuclear weapons could be a blessing in disguise, if it prompts a new way of thinking about the problem and how to contain it. As more nations acquire nuclear weapons they can learn that it’s also a responsibility.

This, however, has nothing to do with Jews, settlements, elephants, or camels.

And if you think Obama knows the dance floor, Bibi can show him a trick or two.

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The author, a former assistant professor of history, is a writer and journalist living in Jerusalem.
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