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25 June 2010

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J

Colonel,

Hasn't the Israeli government shown over and over again that they rely heavily on 'fear' in order to survive from being driven to the gallows by its own populace? And doesn't the Israeli government also rely heavily on the fear card in order to successfully milk their American cow in both halls of U.S. power (White House, Congress)?

Where would the Israeli government be if 'fear' all of a sudden disappeared, and people truly saw the Israeli Emperor had no clothes?

jon

What has become of the cordial back channels between Israel and Iran? These were instrumental in effecting Iran-Contra, during the Iran-Iraq war, and also in the run up to the Afghan and Iraq invasions. These contacts survived the Lebanese occupation. Any 'phobia' towards Iran has to be of more recent vintage.

I have great doubts about Iran's interest in developing, manufacturing or employing nuclear weapons. They may feel that possession of nukes will be more trouble than they are worth. However, the response of the US to Pakistan and North Korea is instructive. Iran may feel that a certain level of nuclear development or assets will serve to inoculate them from attack.

They may also be looking at countries like Brazil, Japan and Germany, which could quickly produce a nuclear weapon but have chosen not to. Additionally, Iran certainly sees nuclear prowess as a mark of prestige in its competition with the Saudis.

Israel might also pause t think of what conflicts have actually been avoided by nuclear weapons. Perhaps it kept NATO and the Warsaw Pact from facing off in Europe, or in keeping the Chinese from advancing into South Korea.

But the threat of nukes has not prevented other regional wars from happening or continuing. Nuclear weapons seem most useful in avoiding a broad war, or in shaping a conflict, but their actual use seems to be nearly impossible. As (purportedly) the possessor of dozens of nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them, they do not seem to have appreciably benefitted Israel. Therefore, their utility and actual threat is highly limited, and Iran's possession would do little to alter the landscape.

Israel held a much better diplomatic position when it had better relations with Iran. And it suffers now, having united the Islamic world against it. Rather than demonizing those who seek to protect Palestinians, Israel might better put its efforts into finding common ground with (and providing better treatment of) Palestinians, both internally and as refugees.

mac nayeri

Colonel,

I agree.....Iran is not a military threat to Israel. The irony is that in some ways, Iran wants to be Israel....a modern, religious state....

On a gut level, the war (80-88)....that is why Tehran and, most importantly, "mohammad the plumber" support the push for a nuclear capability....it has broad support, pro govt and anti govt forces alike..

Politically, the govt, I am sure, knows that the nuclear issue is perhaps their strongest card vis-a-vis arriving at some sort of modus vivendi with DC....(or as u worded it 'for the purpose of altering the balance of power..')

It is a policy fraught with risk. I can think of better ways of coming in from the cold, but Tehran clearly is invested in this issue and appears willing to accept the risks of using the nuclear issue in this way, and I note, the Turkey/Brazil development, the NPT conference, point to some tangible successes from their perspective....


Matthew

Col: Maybe the Israelis can't calm down because the "existential threat" is a necessary glue to their fractured society. If you're anti-Israel like I am, it is very amusing to watch 100,000 Haredim marching to prevent Sephardi children from sharing their schools Just what do you think will happen to this "people" when they have to share more and more classrooms or social services with Palestinians or Eithiopean Jews?

Zionism cannot survive peace.

par4

Bingo!

RAISER William

I wish these comments received a wider audience. Well said.

Trent

Agreed. What is driving the Iranophobia? Politicians using it to scare the electorate as a means to win votes? Coalition concessions to a small minority who really believe in the "existential threat"? The useful fund-raising and political support in the US?

MRW.

The Israelis should shut up.

R Whitman

If Iran does develop a nuclear weapon, will they declare it publicly or will they, like Israel, leave it in ambiguity?

This has already been debated privately at one major Washington think(stink) tank.

confusedponderer

I am currently reading 'The Samson Option' and an impression that I find increasingly persuasive, is that, considering how Israel lied and cheated towards the US when they acquired their nuclear weapons, including fooling inspectors, they are mirror imaging their conduct on the Iranians.

Walrus

My very limited understanding is that the Israeli ultra orthodox religious fundamentalists still cling to the idea of a "Greater Israel" that incorporates all of the West bank, Jerusalem and perhaps Gaza. This necessarily involves the expulsion of all Palestinian inhabitants.

The only way that this vision could perhaps be achieved without turning Israel into a pariah state is through some version of a "just war" in which once again plucky little Israel once again overcomes the evil Arab hordes, rooting out the Palestinian Fifth column root stem and branch in the process.

I am quite sure that a script exists for this fantasy, what is missing is the support actors to play the evil Arab hordes.

Time is running out for Israel to sell this script. At some point the developing economies of Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Iran and even Iraq are going to present business investment opportunities that American corporations cannot afford to pass up.

At that point the special relationship between Israel and the U.S. will suddenly be seen for the liability it really is.

Look at Cuba, European businesses started building relationships and staking out their investment targets there at least Ten years ago against the day when American sanctions cease. According to one VP of a major European oil company, Castro was apparently a very cordial host.

All that Syria, Iran, and Lebanon have to do to frustrate Israeli dreams is to keep peacefully existing and developing their economies.

And yes, I know trade was advanced as an argument why WWI and WWII were unthinkable. References to Israeli Lebensraum are unnecessary. Iran will also find out, if it hasn't already, that a young technocratic middle class will demand more political power.

Castellio

Walrus, do you think Israel is unaware of "All that Syria, Iran, and Lebanon have to do to frustrate Israeli dreams is to keep peacefully existing and developing their economies"?

Many from Lebanon will tell you that is why they are periodically invaded, to upset exactly that. And the Israeli led US sanctions against both Syria and Iran... same thing.

The policies, including armed violence and ever fiercer trade sanctions, are aimed specifically to upset what you recognize: peace helps the other side.

Bought and Sold

I have never heard anything about mistreatment of the 25,000 Jews living in Iran.They even have a rep(non-voting) in the government.Not many small groups in most countries have even that.I've read that the Jews in Iran now are ones who didn't and now don't want to move to Israel. I guess that like many others, they are not "Real Jews"

N M Salamon

Castellio:

Unfortunately for Israel China has surpassed the USA as manufacturing center if the military inudstrial complexes of both countries are taken out of the equation, China needs new markets, as the USA is in terminal decline, and Persian Gulf area is vety attractive barter point - manufactured goods vs energy! It is notable that Russia is also stepping into the mix.

I would strongly suggest that the USA sanctions are hurting USA industry [giving market share to others] at least as much as export restrictions on numerous goods to non-NATO markets.

It is also notable that Israel is loosing markets, for numerous states' citizenry are actually starting a boycott [and to hell with a** kissing political/elite groups] which would be extremely disadventageous in the mid term to Israel - to wit IDF is too expensive as % of GDP, especially if GDP is falling due to export boycots [-4.5% yoy].

If the various states start major layoffs [re balanced budget constitutional requisite] and if the Congress does not extend employment benefits, next month there will be 1 million unfunded non-workers, to grow at approx 500000 each month -- then Uncle Sam is in deep DODOLAND - no foreign aid, no wars, just trying to save [impossible] the wreckage caused by Wall street til 2008.

Israel has less then 5 years to settle for peace, thereafter economic reality will cause self immolation of the Zionist Dream [Do recall that the US Armed forces estimate is great shortage of oil ---- 10-15% dif between supply and demand--- by 2015 - I think they are optimistic]

Patrick Lang

B&S

I remember that the Mossad used to call Iranian Jews on the phone. How cruel and stupid was that? pl

eugnid

For the Israelis the issue is not Iran but Israel itself. Right now Israel is looking desperately to be feared by its neighbors. But it is trying to do it in some way that doesn't cause itself casualties because of the very low threshold in losses that would cause a political explosion. So it wants the US to act tough so it can act as if it has the only dog whistle that turns US on and off. Bottom line, Israel can't be the Master Race anymore in Mideast after Lebanon 2006. And it can't negotiate peace while crushing Palestinians and taking their land. In sum, even the Haredi are asking: If we're God's chosen people how come we can't go up while we're going down? How come we can't tell all those nutty Baptists what to think anymore? Could it be because Carter denounced them as non-observant so that they think Israelis can't be God's chosen people? Will that all result in a cut off of our American lifeline? With questions like these plaguing their minds I can appreciate their obsessive reference to the Holocaust, after which many asked the very same questions. With deep self-doubt from questions like that paroxysmal running in their minds nothing the US would do could give them back their old self-confidence.

MRW.

B&S,

According to Roger Cohen, some Jewish graves in cemeteries in Iran are 3,000 years old. The Jews in Iran are not the Diaspora, they are the original ones.

William R. Cumming

My belief is that Iran uses Israel as open and avowed enemy primarily to decieve US that is the objective of their nuclear policy. Israel is no longer a defensible entity once the Arabs or Persians are fully nuclear armed. But more important is that the "Great Satan" can be manipulated once these entities have nukes. It is all nicely explained in the book "Fire In The East" by Professor Paul Bracken of Yale University in his 1999 book. Almost no one in US higher political or military levels has a comprehensive understanding of nuclear strategy and politics anymore. After all most of the writing dealt with a much more limited number of nuclear capable nations several decades ago. Now my belief is that at least a dozen nations are nuclear capable [some without delivery systems] and more on the way. Yes the cold war looks like a simpler time for strategy and politics. Since open discussion of nuclear strategy is a no-no in Israel it would be interesting to see what their internal strategizing consists of in reality. Or lack of reality.

Hey the Iranians can be patient. Can the Israelis be patient? Doubtful. Their real strategic problem as a nation-state is line-drawing so that "never again" happens. Jewish leadership for many reasons were in denial about the intent of the NAZI regimes real intentions. That mistake will not be repeated in a world where in minutes enemies can accomplish what took months and years. The fight or flight syndrome differs for each human being but trying to focus the strategy for a large group of people that they will by into is difficult. Note how in the US so little is written about how the US would actually employ its nuclear arsenal and this is still left to a dwindling nuclear priesthood. There are many many policy reasons IMO why the US should renounce first use of nukes but that rejection is unlikely to ever occur in Israeli policy or strategy. And yes is Iran or any other entity an existentialist threat to Israel? A very very tough question leading to very very tough choices for the polity of Israel.

N M Salamon

he insanity of the Israeli Government is well illustrated by:

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/report-israel-seizes-oxygen-machines-donated-to-pa-1.298385

They are cutting their own throat re international support.

Sidney O. Smith III

Well, well, well…

The progressive left is starting to acknowledge the existence of those like Rabbi Teitelbaum and his American brethren. Phil Weiss proves it. History gonna’ remember Mr. Weiss.

http://tinyurl.com/2fnj3nn

Key quote from the NYT article:

“My sense is that they believe that events are proving they were right all along,” Jonathan D. Sarna, a historian at Brandeis University and author of the seminal book “American Judaism,” said [of the anti-Zionists] in a telephone interview. “Everything they prophesied — dual loyalty, nationalism being evil — has come to pass.”

---------

Yet no one in the USG dares admit that the analytical assumptions that arise out of the Teitelbaum worldview warrant close consideration. No one is willing to test those assumptions for accuracy in strategic intel analysis. Of course not.

If someone in Congress really cared about Jewish-Gentile relations in the US, eg the Touro Covenant, then he or she would introduce a resolution honoring Rabbi J. Teitelbaum and acknowledge Satmar's tremendous contributions to the USA.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joel_Teitelbaum

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