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Pre-emption Cannot Predict the Future

Reader comment on item: Israeli Jets vs. Iranian Nukes

Submitted by M. Tovey (United States), Jun 12, 2007 at 23:58

Will Israel attack the Iranian nuclear facilities in some form of pre-emptive engagement? As potentially plausible as that may seem, there are other factors not readily discernable that would seem for the moment to preclude such an act, unless a major provocation occurs. Interestingly, from this reader's perspective, the Rome via Jerusalem scenario presented elsewhere here does contain an element of just the provocation necessary to blow this whole thing wide open. (Adding to the interest is the reference to the Iranians as Persians, which does have applicability from a historical view).

First, one must step back and realize that this is not just about Iran having nuclear capabilities and expressing their desire to use them. It is also not just about trying to mollify the Iranians into giving up their self-perceived right to nuclear arms for defense. (To understand one aspect of this is to realize that nuclear capabilities are not about defense, but about deterrence). A pre-emptive strike is an offensive action to prevent a similar or more catastrophic attack on the pre-emptor. It forces rational people to the safer rationale found at treaty tables. The caveat is that rational people need to be in control and not make irrational statements like expressing the desire to ‘wipe a country off the map.'

In the counter perspective, there is the global determination to form a "Palestinian' homeland for a ‘Palestinian' nation on the site of the current nation, Israel. To many people's way of thinking, this requires that Israel, one of the world's smallest nations, to make room with at least a significant portion of that country's land, if not all of it. Some are of the mindset that all is required, that it is ‘Palestinian' land. The problem with that is, before Israel re-established itself on land that can be historically demonstrated as Jewish, it was part of Trans-Jordan, and previously part of the Turkish Ottoman Empire. Palestine was merely a place name coined by the Romans, and perpetuated by others, up to the British mandate on land that was Israel's in ancient times.

But to press the "Palestinian' issue, to move forward on the stated desire of the ayatollahs and their followers to regain Jerusalem for their religion, they are willing to flaunt a nuclear directive. What should be the response? Is a pre-emptive action necessary? Or what of a warning, that any provocation could lead a nation to desperate measures may result in a nuclear holocaust, in effect converting the current global wartime standing into a nuclear World War Three.

Before someone jumps to some dialog that says that cannot possibly happen, look around and see that the very provocations necessary are already here, now. The pressure of solving the ‘Palestinian' issue is a powder keg ready to blow. All Israel has to do is intervene just once too often in a ‘Palestinian' matter, or the cause for the Golan Heights is pressed by Syria, or a re-igniting of the Lebanese border war, or Gaza just plain explodes, that will provoke cries for retaliation and action, which in turn causes the U.N. and key members of the world community to move in on Israel. What in the world does anybody think will be Israel's response to that? Anybody? Does Dr. Strangelove come to mind for any of us?

While this reader goes not believe that sparking a short round of nukes is going to decimate the world's entire population, there will be enough to go around for anybody with any remaining sense to sue for peace.

So the pre-emptive strike scenario, or the retaliatory one is at stake. The only question remaining is not if, but when.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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