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11 April 2008

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Babak Makkinejad

Col. Lang:

Very funny.

Paul

Does anyone believe that the United States is the "leader of the free world"?

Bush has adopted far too many of Israel's tough-guy tactics: land-grabbing, torture, rendition and using F-16s to quell neighborhood disturbances. These tactics do not win hearts and minds.

Iran's ayatollas do not seem any more unbalanced than Bush's neocon coterie, including Krauthammer.

As for the desired "policy delaration": Get Bent, Krauthammer!

Dave of Maryland

It makes no difference what CK says or who he represents or what the US, or Iran, does or does not do. This is all in the past. Our job is to try to anticipate the future.

The Israelis are hell-bent on another war. They live on war. They feed on it. They are blind to everything else.

Nasrallah has taken their measure. I presume the Syrians have been paying attention. If, in the next war, surface to surface missiles crater every runway in Israel (they are big targets, there are not many of them), Israel will be defeated outright. Hassan hinted as much when he remarked that he expected the next Israeli encounter would be on Israeli, not Lebanese, soil.

Just as the Egyptians were defeated in the Six Day War when their aircraft were destroyed on the ground, Israel will be defeated when its planes are grounded, however it is done.

The question in front of us is how Israel will respond when its air force is disabled & its army stopped in its tracks. (The later Nasrallah has already done.) Israeli leaders are too bombastic for a rational response (negotiated truce of some sort), but, on the other hand, non-nuclear military escalation is unlikely.

First, because the Israelis have, in the past, freely raked Beirut with planes & artillery, to no lasting effect. Second, without an air force, even that response is impossible.

What will the apocalyptic, messianic Israeli leaders do? Nuke Damascus & risk that Hezbollah/Syria shifts its targets from unpopulated runways to highly populated cities? What if the victim of a nuclear attack shoots back? Once your capital city's been nuked (and what other nuke-worthy targets are there in Lebanon or Syria?), what else would Syria, say, have to lose? A few conventional warheads can do mean damage in a city center.

Forget CK. Forget Iran. Nuclear weapons are no longer needed to ward off US/Israeli attack. This is all a sideshow. The proliferation of cheap Chinese/Russian medium range surface to surface missiles has taken us to a whole new world.

Still time to sit down & negotiate a peace.


Andy

I watched CK on Fox tonight and he essentially gave the same arguments as the op-ed but with a couple of differences. One major difference was that he suggested Arab allies might also need American deterrence to counter a nuclear Iran. My sense based on his short spiel on Fox was that CK has essentially come to the conclusion that the current nonproliferation regime has completely failed and the only alternative available is a return to a cold-war style deterrence.

I've been looking for a link to the video or a transcript, but one doesn't seem to be available yet. When/if I find it, I'll post another comment with a link.

alnval

Col. Lang:

I too was puzzled when I read the Krauthammer article but that changed after you suggested tying it to Froomkin. Juxtaposing these two made me recognize once more what dangerous straits we’re in; a bit like being on a lee shore in a 50 knot gale and the helmsman is again denying that the ship might founder.

It also makes me consider the possibility that President Bush is psychologically unable to see himself as a lame duck president and, moreover, how personally important it is to him that his power not be ignored. This implies that there are dangerous lengths to which he might go to prove that as long as he is president (and perhaps afterwards) that his power has not diminished. In his pursuit of power he has already succeeded, far beyond anything dreamed of by Nixon, in creating a concept of president as someone who is not obliged to respect Congress, the law or the Constitution.

Psychologically, Bush behaves as if in a constant state of denial; that his reality is different from the rest of us. Aside from his own self-report that he drank too much until age forty, he almost never acknowledges error. Rarely described as a man who reasons with or persuades others, when confronted by opposing viewpoints he is reported to get angry and dismissive. He is famous for loyalty to people who agree with him and who make him feel that what he is doing is sensible; a kind of ‘Group Think’ to the nth power. He proclaims publicly that he is “the decider” but is notorious for delegating responsibility in a way that makes invisible his own role in executive decisions.

It’s probably for reasons like these that SecDef Gates, usually described as a reasonable man, is reported to keep a “countdown” clock that gets to zero on January 20, 2009. Let’s all hope that things don’t get out of hand before then.

rachamim ben ami

"The Ayatollahs are not rational actors.": Riiight, as if a regime that publicly states that the cartoon "Tom and Jerry" is a Jewish ploy at world domination is extremely rational.

As for "Israeli officials admitting recently that they have nukes," guess again, it has never happened. If they DO have them, and the number is said to be well over 400 including 3 capable submarines, America would not need to be involved, right?

America has its own interests and the only interest it has in Israel or its welfare is a tactical interest.

As soon as Israel uses up its welcome mat (and the clock is ticking now that Bush is on his last legs), you will see much different and calmer rhetoric out of DC and its pundits.

TomB

Seems to me the consequence of Krauthammer's suggestion is not really about cementing Israel's survival but its overwhelming regional superiority.

After all if you are *really* only interested in securing Israel from a nuclear attack you'd first (and maybe second and third and forever) embrace a regional agreement for a totally nuke-free Middle East. I.e., Israel giving up its nukes in exchange for such a verifiable pledge from others. And I believe many if not most of the others in the region have even said they would agree to same, and certainly the world's opinion and pressure on everyone over there would be wildly in favor of this. But as I think Israel has definitively spurned each and every mention of same (and at any rate is certainly not pushing it), the conclusion seems almost mathematical: After no doubt careful consideration Israel is less concerned about a real nuke threat than it is in maintaining its overwhelming "existential" regional superiority.

This isn't trying to be offensive to Israel because it is indeed what some of its theorists say it needs because otherwise, surrounded by hostiles, even conventionally if it were ever anything less than hugely superior it would be in mortal peril. And the best if not only way to maintain that huge superiority is for them to have nukes themselves and the others to have none.

The benefit of a U.S. shield for Israel and the problem it poses for the U.S. is identical: Such a shield would afford Israel the right to act in any way it wants in the future.

Think about it. If the U.S. actually *gave* that guarantee it would also no doubt be so scared of actually having to live up to it that it would no doubt be more inclined to take damn near any other lesser action to avoid it, such as, say, conventional bombing of other countries' nuke programs. (A consequence which might not exactly be overlooked by Mr. Krauthammer and friends.)

So what does Israel do? It doesn't talk about a nuke-free agreement. It talks about more nukes. (Even though, given its small size, just one would in essence constitute almost a totally mortal threat. But it you've made a judgment about that and think that you are not really at risk from same you then think about what else you want, such as ... a more permanent superior position.)

Kind of like ... Austro-Hungary having Germany's near unconditional backing before WWI. AH felt it could do anything vis a vis Serbia, so it did. Except Serbia had a big brother too and....

Boy those extended consequences.


arbogast

I think that "something is going on" in the Bush Administration.

March 28: "I would say this is a defining moment in the history of a free Iraq," Bush said.
"This is a test and a moment for the Iraqi government which strongly has supported Prime Minister Maliki's actions," Bush said.
"It is an interesting moment for the people of Iraq because in order for this democracy to survive they must have confidence in their government's ability to protect them and to be even-handed."

Bush is always the last to know, so it is not surprising that he should define a completely bungled military operation as a "defining moment". But it seems to me that the timing was just a little bit too clever. The "defining moment" was supposed to occur right before Petraeus' testimony. I sincerely believe that Cheney put together the "defining moment" when he visited the ME as a way to permit Petraeus to stride into the Committee Room like a Roman Emperor filled with victory.

Didn't happen.

You absolutely have to believe that Bush and Cheney are completely insane with fury that Iran has once again completely humiliated them. Recall that the peace between Maliki's thugs and Sadr's thugs was worked out in Iran.

There will be an attack on Iran between now and the election. Count on it. There will have to be a casus belli.

Keep your eyes on the Green Zone.

This is all so sickening.

The comments on this blog are flat-out superior with the possible exception of my own. Keep up the good work gentlemen.

David Habakkuk

Andy,

It is deeply unclear that cold war style 'deterrence' was stable.

Some interesting recent remarks by Sir Rodric Braithwaite, who was British ambassador in Moscow in 1988-92, on the background to Gorbachev's 'new thinking':

'Eighteen months before Gorbachev became General Secretary, a foolishly ill-judged NATO exercise (''Able Archer'') simulated a nuclear strike so convincingly that the Soviets began to gear themselves up for retaliation. Appalled at the prospect of nuclear war by accident, Gorbachev took his courage in both hands, and sought a negotiation with Ronald Reagan, the archpriest of anti-Communism. Luckily for him, Reagan turned out to share his intense dislike of the nuclear weapon -- to the dismay of both men’s professional advisers.'

(See http://www.rodricbraithwaite.co.uk/da/59937.)

The whole implicit assumption behind NATO strategies of 'deterrence' was that one could take for granted that the very evident 'capabilities' threat posed by Soviet forces to Western Europe must imply an 'intentions' threat.

As you are probably aware, George Kennan -- generally seen as the architect of 'containment' -- spent much of his career after losing influence denying that this was true and disclaiming any responsibility for the assumption.

He spelled out some of the implications of his views for notions of stable 'deterrence' in a memorandum sent to Dean Acheson in September 1952, when he was ambassador in Moscow. As he summarises the memorandum in the second volume of his memoirs:

'the Russians, many disagreeable and disturbing aspects of their behaviour notwithstanding, had had no intention of attacking Western Europe in those postwar years, and thought we must have known it. For this reason, the manner in which NATO was formed and presented to the Western public, i.e. as a response to the ''Soviet threat'' and as a ''deterrent'' to Soviet aggression, mystified them and caused them to search for some hidden motive in our policy.'

And this, he goes on to suggest, was 'to bring to a head a military conflict with the Soviet Union as soon as the requisite strength had been created on the Western side.'

What terrified Kennan was precisely the possibility that what he termed a 'cosmic misunderstanding' between the Cold War antagonists on the significance of each other's military preparations could lead to the kind of process of events running out of control that had happened in 1914 -- which was what came uncomfortably close to happening thirty years after he wrote.

The full memorandum is available on the net at http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB14/doc1.htm.

What is fascinating about the memorandum is that one sees Kennan wrestling with the fundamental problem of the relationship of capabilities and intentions. In relation to judgements about the appropriate military posture, the intentions of a potential adversary are only one relevant feature among many. In relation to foreign-policy making, however, they are crucial: not least because, as Kennan was pointing out to Acheson, the intentions of an adversary are likely to shape their perceptions of yours. One of the problems with which Kennan was wrestling was that of created by the 'feedback' effects whereby the need to secure public support for perfectly sensible measures of military preparedness actually leads to alarmist assessments of an adversary's intentions, which those who produce them come to believe. In the end, the implications of this came so to terrify him that he rewrote history, confusing the strategy he had advocated with the strategy he might have advocated had been aware of the feedback effects in advance.

He also incidentally airbrushed out of the record the programme of 'political warfare' he had championed, which had been designed to push the Soviet system into imploding. There is an interesting treatment of this in Roy Godson's book Dirty Tricks or Trump Cards, but I do not think he really gets to grips with the question of what Kennan was actually trying to achieve.

The important however is the notion that the collapse of the existing non-proliferation regime is likely to lead to world of stable 'deterrence' is implausible.

You are probably aware that in January last year George Schulz, William Perry, Henry Kissinger and Sam Nunn published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal calling for the United States to take the lead in the abolition of nuclear weapons -- a call they restated last January. Certainly the project seems to me utopian. But it might be less so if people looked realistically at the extremely unpleasantness of the likely alternative -- and were not, as these eminent writers still appear to be, prisoners of the dubious assumption that nukes stabilized the strategic relationship between the Cold War superpowers.

Their pieces can be accessed at http://www.2020visioncampaign.org/pages/113/Kissinger_Shultz_Perry__Nunn_call_for_A_World_Free_of_Nuclear_Weapons.

Color-coded Wonder

Dear Col. Lang:

I wonder if you could comment on this article by Mr. Pat Buchanan, the well-known conservative commentator:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/uc/20080411/cm_uc_crpbux/op_335802

The only thing missing from Mr. Buchanan's analysis are the recent Israeli maneuvers.

I realize that this interpretation flies in the face of your suggestion that Dr Krauthammer is 'well-connected' and therefore in a position to know that the 'military option' is 'off the table' vis a vis Iran.

Thanks very much.

Color-coded Wonder

Walter Lang

All

I am intrigued by the suggestion that Israel has a second strike capability in its three submarines armed with something like SLAM-ER with nuclear warheads.

Discussion? pl

Laney

Dual loyalty? More like loyalty to Israel, period.

Duncan Kinder
When one considers just how much U.S. taxpayer money is already given to Israel (upwards of $10,000M each year), I supposed it may be fair to say that Israel is already the 51st state.

This is not "U.S. taxpayer money." These funds have been borrowed from the Chinese.

JustPlainDave

I believe the current hull count stands at 3, with 2 more awaiting delivery around 2010. This page from NTI summarizes a good deal of what is thought to be "known" open source about the issue: http://www.nti.org/db/submarines/israel/index.html

Given regional proliferation during the 90's, development of a second strike deterrent sure would seem to be a logical move for the IDF. Given the importance they've attached to strategic warfare in the post-Desert Storm environment, and how totally the notion of deterrence seems to dominate their strategic/operational culture [at least, judging from what filters out in the english language press/academic literature] I could see them investing pretty significant resources in something like this. Big question in my mind is how good a system they could have developed and what its range and accuracy might be.

Serving Patriot

COL,

I too am puzzled by how convinced many seem that Israel has a survivable nuclear second strike capability in the form of submarines.

My quick look at Google Earth says that Tehran lies easily 1,500 km from either the Eastern Mediterranean or Gulf of Oman. There are VERY FEW cruise missile systems that could make that flight (mainly US Tomahawk, Russian KH55, Chinese DH-10); there is no concrete evidence that Israel has deployed such a system, much less developed or tested one. Long-range nuclear armed submarine launched cruise missiles is no mean feat; I find it hard to believe that Israel (as capable as they are) could deploy such a system (and covertly at that). If they do, it would constitute a very serious “strategic surprise”!!

Another point about submarine launched cruise missiles I find troubling is the assumption that such an attack would come from the Indian Ocean/Gulf of Oman. How could that happen? Well, Israel would have to deploy one of their diesel-powered, limited-range coastal submarines on a 3,000 NM trip. The trip would also feature a very overt transit of the Suez Canal (the IDF(N) does transit the canal on occasion, but I've never heard of a submarine transit). So, the only covert transit possibility is a 12,000+ NM trip around the African continent. Again, exceedingly hard to believe such a trip could be made without escaping the attention of intelligence analysts or even casual maritime observers (that sub has to refuel somewhere!).

So, it seems to me that any SERIOUS submarine based deterrent is not within Israel's current capability set. So why the fantastic assuptions? If I recall correctly, the first inkling of an Israeli submarine based nuclear-armed cruise missile threat came out via the Jerusalem Post a couple years back (about the time of the first round of Iran nuclear sanctions). The whisper was picked up by the Murdoch news network and spread around. And suddenly, everyone believes it to be true. Why?

Of course, it is entirely possible that Israel does have nuclear-armed, shorter-range cruise missile based on Harpoon technology they already possess. One commenter made an intriguing point that such a seaborne deterrent would hold only nearby (Mediterranean) capitals at-risk. Nevertheless, such a capability is worthless against the distant Iranian enemy. Israel is better off making sure their Jericho II MRBMs (last tested in January 2008) are survivable.

SP

TomB

Col. Lang wrote:

"I am intrigued by the suggestion that Israel has a second strike capability in its three submarines armed with something like SLAM-ER with nuclear warheads."

Well, first of all, given Israel's extreme vulnerability to essentially total destruction at the hands of nukes due to their size (what they themselves have called an "existential" threat), you wouldn't exactly think that they would shy from being first-strikers, would you? And their history sure don't show that they shy away from striking first. In fact I think that with the sole exception of the '73 Yom Kippur War they *always* struck first.

So why would they shrink from doing so again if the stakes were "existential"?

As to why they'd still want second strike capabilities, I think they call that "the Samson option," don't they? I.e., if you're going down well, you might as well bring the whole bloody temple down with you.

Sidney O. Smith III

When analyzing CK’s screed, Sherman Kent’s idea of “taking off from the wish” appears apropos and determinative. Also, it seems worthwhile to assume that neoconservatives hide their intent behind symbols, in this case “The Holocaust Declaration”.

Regardless, in my view, CK’s latest screed fails to rebut the presumption that the GOI and the Cheney wing of the USG intend to exercise the “Wurmser option” or a variation thereof. And the primary variation is a US led attack against “special groups” or sites in Iran.

Since the US has always included Israel as part of nuclear umbrella, then the aim of this screed was not to announce such intentions for the first time. Plus, Israel has a second strike capability via those subs (purchased from Germany?). So he’s lying. He simply wants to strengthen the ties in the American public before a military action is undertaken.

One objective is clear: the screed is intended to undermine, before the American people, the credibility of the 07 NIE. He states such in an early paragraph.

Then, in the next paragraph, we see the sentence: the “”president is out of options”. Out of options? Interesting choice of words. What about the Wursmer option? What about a US attack against those special groups in Iran?

CK’s decision to plant in the readers’ mind the analogy of the Iranian crisis to the Cuban Missile Crisis seems relevant, particularly when you realize that lately the USG has released photo’s showing long range missile sites in Iran, just as the USG did in ‘63 to make the case.

Arguably, the Cuban Missile Crisis was quasi “pre-emptive” in that it was undertaken to prevent the permanent installment of nuclear missiles in Cuba.

So, CK is laying the groundwork for affirmative steps to be taken by the USG, based upon the same rationale as the Cuban Missile Crisis And it is interesting that CK make a reference to Russia both in the Iranian situation and the Cuba missile crisis, so he linked the two together. And of course he invoked Camelot -- will we ever overcome the Kennedy fixation? Good grief…

When analyzing CK’s screeds, I always assume that he is projecting his “intent” (or the intent of those for whom he writes) onto the enemy of the day. In other words, whenever he discusses the enemy, he is revealing himself. If this holds true, then CK is indicating extremely aggressive action by the GOI-Dick Cheney wing. So the words in the screed ostensibly applied to the enemy such as, “apocalyptic”, “messianic”, “hegemon”, “going nuclear” appear highly probative because he is articulating the praxeology that drives the actions of those he represents and therefore defines the wish.

jamzo

krauthammer words are a distraction

he is part of a larger initiative

congress had it's day with the general and the ambassador and not the israeli's and the bushies are beating the drums again

there are two major inter-governmental conflicts in the middle east

1. the ever-so-long-standing israeli-palestinian problem

2. the "the shia are coming, the shia are coming" hysteria that muddles the situation in iraq, lebanon, and i suspect one of more of the arab emirates

the bushies are running from another self-inflicted failure

regional elections are on the horizon - their most-hated iraqi, sadr, appears to be in a powerful position to gain institutional political power to match his real political power

as is their practive they beat the "iran is a looming danger to US" drums to frame the situation and distract attention from their moves

the election is in november

we will get a new president and new principals and hopefully more competent foreign policy

israel has been beating the "holocaust, holocaust, iran has nukes" drum at any opportunity

Ken Roberts

"Ambiguity is the soul of deterrence" - well put! As chimneyswift, your insight (which may seem obvious to you) deserves our honour.

"Poetry especially, but also much prose, depends essentially on the richness of its ambiguity. Thus if a poet can contrive a line that says forty things, and each of these forty things suits his poetic purpose in some way, then he has accomplished at one stroke what a more hum-drum writer might take yards to say. And then not say it." (James Cooke Brown, "Loglan 1: A Logical Language", 3rd edn, 1975, pg 10)

Best wishes,

Serving Patriot

@Duncan,

"This is not "U.S. taxpayer money." These funds have been borrowed from the Chinese."

Right you are! In fact, somewhere around 1,500,000,000,000 reasons why you're right!

I guess its always good to be in to the banker for a billion (or trillion) than a few hundred millions. Go ask Bear Stearns!

SP

Curious

Israel submarine nuke capability:

It seems they have the technology, but never been tested.

http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/israel/popeye-t.htm

Israel has reportedly developed an air-launched cruise missile that could be operational by 2002, called the Popeye Turbo. The Popeye Turbo, with a range that is variously reported at between 200 km and 350 km, would appear to represent a turbo-jet powered cruise missile that may incorporate avionics and other components developed for the Popeye family of missiles. The AGM-142 HAVE NAP is a variant of the Israeli Air Force "Popeye" missile, which uses a solid propellant rocket motor. The Popeye II, also known as the Have Lite, is a smaller missile with more advanced technology. Designed for deployment on fighter aircraft, Popeye II has a range of 150 kilometers.

The Popeye Turbo missile is probably similar to if not identical with the Israeli submarine-launced cruise missile carried on the Dolphin-class submarines. The baseline Popeye missile with a range of 45 miles has a diameter of 21 inches, and is nearly 16 feet long. For comparison, the American MK-48 heavy torpedo is 21 inches in diameter, and 19 feet long, while the BGM-109 Tomahawk SLCM is 20.4 inches in diameter and 20.5 feet long [including the booster motor], and the Russian SS-N-21 SLCM is similar in configuration and dimensions to the American Tomahawk.

-----

The submarines itself is German diesel-electric Dolphin-class. They have 3 according to various reports.

http://www.fas.org/news/israel/e20000619israelmakes.htm
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/oct/12/israel1
http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/israel/sub.htm

Three 1,925 ton Type 800 Dolphin class submarines have been built in German shipyards for the Israel Navy. Modern submarines with the most advanced sailing and combat systems in the world, they combine extensive sophistication with very easy operation. The purpose of these submarines is to enable the Israel Navy to meet all the tasks faced in the Mediterranean Sea in the 21st century. The submarines cost $320 million each, and are twice as big as the aging Gal-class submarines that the Israeli navy has relied on to date.

The submarine has the capacity to carry anti-ship missiles, mines, decoys and STN Atlas wire-guided DM2A3 torpedoes. The surface-to-surface missiles may include the submarine-launched Harpoon which delivers a 227 kilogram warhead to a range of 130 kilometres at high subsonic speed. It is generally agreed that these submarines are outfitted with six 533-millimeter torpedo tubes suitable for the 21-inch torpedoes that are normally used on most submarines, including those of the United States.

Some reports suggest that the submarines have a total of ten torpedo tubes -- six 533-millimeter and four 650-millimeter. Uniquely, the Soviet navy deployed the Type 65 heavy-weight torpedo using a 650-millimeter tube. The four larger 25.5 inch diameter torpedo tubes could be used to launch a long-range nuclear-capable submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM). According to some reports the submarines may be capable of carrying nuclear-armed Popeye Turbo cruise missiles, with a goal of deterring an enemy from trying to take out its nuclear weapons with a surprise attack.

Curious

forgot to add,

probable Israel nuclear deterent via submarine:

Using ports in india. That will extent their submarine operational capability quite large. (1500km)

Israel probably can nuke coastal facilities. But deep inside Iran territory? They have yet to test the accuracy and launch capability near Iranian water territory. I doubt Israel nuke can destroy major facilities deep inland, nevermind underground.

I am not sure what Iranian sub tracking capabilities are. But they certainly should be able to track anything in India or Sri Lanka.


---------
http://www.naval-technology.com/projects/dolphin/

PROPULSION

The submarine is powered by three 16V 396 SE 84 diesel engines developing 3.12MW sustained power and supplied by MTU (Motoren und Turbinen Union) Munchen GmbH, based in Munich. The submarine is equipped with three 750kW alternators, and a 2.85MW sustained power motor supplied by Siemens. The machinery drives a single shaft.

The propulsion system provides a speed of 20kt dived and a snorting speed of 11kt. The range of the submarine is 8,000 miles at a surface speed of 8kt and over 400 miles at an economical speed of 8kt dived. The hull is rated for a diving depth of 350m. The endurance of the submarine is 30 days.

http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/israel/missile/popeye-t.htm

Mad Dogs

Israel doesn't need submarines for a 2nd strike.

I'd bet a dollar to a donut that they've long ago concluded that hardened land-based ICBM or even BCM nuclear tipped missiles are sufficient for the foreseeable future.

This is probably based on an analysis of their oppenents' potential for accuracy in delivering WDM (not just nuclear either!) strikes against Israel.

Yes, Israel is a small country, but "small" is relative.

No opponents' weapons system is likely to be able to destroy the entire 8,019 square miles that constitute Israel proper, and certainly not a set of "hardened" underground nuclear-tipped missile sites.

No one has ever confused the Israelis with be dumb, so one should not do so now.

In addition, one also could and should make the case that the Israelis would be expected to have hardened, underground aircraft shelters. Aircraft delivery of a 2nd strike is not something that the Israelis would leave out of the mix.

Whether the Israelis have a submarine-based nuclear delivery option can be debated.

What should be obvious to all however is that such a 2nd strike platform is low man on the Israeli totem pole compared to other more capable delivery systems.

If I were an Israeli with the charter to consider nuclear arming a submarine, I would first consider it as 1st strike platform than just simply a 2nd strike platform.

TomB

You know one thing that ought not be missed is how Krauthammer's proposal would as a practical matter utterly foreclose the U.S.'s option to ever really withdraw from the ME.

As if we're not enmeshed enough, at least now we could still theoretically just bug out, say "what a shame you have all these conficts, good luck to all of you, and by the way we have some money to trade for oil if anyone's interested." And that may indeed now be the choice of the American people. (If not should have been their choice and indeed demand long ago.)

But if this seems to be the way the American people are increasingly thinking it's also probably the nightmare of the Israelis. Gee, there go the Americans, digusted and leaving off the roofs of the ME like they left the roofs of Saigon and SE Asia.

So how to guarantee it won't happen? Get this Krauthammer guarantee which we could never really rescind at the risk of looking like we're inviting an attack on Israel. And then ... just to avoid the possibility we'd ever have to honor it, we'd *have* to *permanently* be hyper-involved over there.

I.e., as close as humanely possible a guarantee against the U.S. ever exercising the Ron Paul/General Odom option. And get it now before more and more people cotton to that option.

A smart proposal from the Israeli perspective, if not dangerous in terms of triggering a U.S. backlash against both it and them.


Mark Pyruz

I find it interesting that Iran's defense is striving for the same element of self-sufficiency that Israel sought in earlier days. Thus you see Iranian efforts at building the Boragh IFV, Zulfigar MBT, Saegheh 80 fighter plane and Shahab strategic MRBM. In addition, small arms, ATGMs and MANPADS are indigenously produced in Iran.

But these weapons are not what certain Israelis fear most. What really frightens them is when Dr. Ahmadinejad suggests a democratic solution for Palestine, that a referendum be held in the territory, involving Jews, Muslims, Christians and Druze, to determine the region's politics in a freely elected environment. The extent to which they fear this democratic solution can be seen in how Dr. Ahmadinejad's comments are routinely mistranslated in the Western press, twisting them into an advocacy of war where they in fact suggest a peaceful, fair and democratic solution for the region.

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