Iran and the Threat of Not Having Future Wars

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ABC’s national anchor: Diane Sawyer.  If she doesn’t look like a working journalist, it’s because she isn’t.  Creatures like Sawyer epitomize the fluffery that permeates the big media’s upper reaches.

02/03/2012 by Peter Hart

The conventional understanding you get from the media is that Israel is worried that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose a serious threat to the country’s existence.

Is that really what’s happening, though? Another interpretation is that Iran might want nuclear weapons not to launch any such an attack but to prevent an attack on its country–nuclear deterrence, in other words. (Of course, it’s important to note that there is currently no evidence that Iran is pursuing a weapons program.)

I was struck when I heard Israeli journalist Ronen Bergman bring up some of these ideas on NPR‘s Talk of the Nation on January 30. Bergman is no outsider critic of Israeli policy; when he appeared recently on the NewsHour (1/12/12) and was asked about the assassination of Iranian scientists, his answer was: “I don’t know. And even if I knew, I would tell you that I don’t know.”

Here’s what he said on NPR, appearing to talk about his New York Times magazine piece on Israel and Iran:

NEAL CONAN: Chris, thanks very much for the call. Israel itself possesses, what, 300 nuclear weapons we believe, maybe more? Why does not deterrence work? Israel, of course, would retaliate if Iran were to use a nuclear weapon.

BERGMAN: I would assume that–oh, I know that most of Israel’s leaders do not believe that Iran is going to use nuclear weapons against Israel. The problem is not the nuclear threat. The Iranians are not stupid. They want to live…. And I think that most leaders, and me personally as well, see that there are only a few people who believe that Iran would be hesitant enough to–sorry, brutal enough and stupid enough to use nuclear weapon against Israel.

The problem is that once Iran acquires this ability, it would change the balance of power in the Middle East. And a country that possesses nuclear weapon is a different country when it comes to support proxy jihadist movement. And these Israeli leaders afraid would significantly narrow down the variety of options from the point of view of Israel, just to quote one example coming from Minister of Defense Barak, when he said, just imagine–he told me in a meeting we had on the 13th of January in his house–said, just imagine, Ronen, that tomorrow we go into another war with Hezbollah in Lebanon like we did in 2006, and this time we are determined to take them out. But Iran comes forward and say, to attack Hezbollah is like attacking Iran, and we threaten you with nuclear weaponry.

Now, Minister of Defense Barak says it’s not necessarily that we would be threatened not to attack, and we would decide to cancel the war, but it would certainly make us think twice.

In other words, Israel’s position might be that an nuclear-armed Iran could make it harder to have future wars. That’s a very different discussion from the one we’re having now.

Tags: , Talk of the NatioN

This entry was posted on Friday, February 3rd, 2012 at 11:50 am and is filed under Iran, Israel/Palestine, NPR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

6 [select ORIGINAL ]  Responses to “Iran and the Threat of Not Having Future Wars”

  1. Doug Latimer Says:
    February 3rd, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    So for the Israelis, this isn’t about an “existential threat” from Iran, but about the threat of attack impeding their ability to attack other countries.

    Damn …

    That *is* real “Axis of Evil” ™ stuff.

  2. jerry s Says:
    February 3rd, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    How far will the fundamental religious right go to create Armageddon, as predicted within their beliefs? We must deny any army’s toward their desires. It would be tragic to give any credence to Iran-Israel conflict!
    Congress must immediately remove any support of a conflict by denying arms shipment into the region and declaring United States armed intervention illegal.

  3. Tom Hendricks Says:
    February 3rd, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    Why is the US at perpetual war? When the war against communism ended there seemed to be a rush to find someone else – war against drugs, war against terrorism, war against the middle east, war against China or N. Korea. Why do we have to be at perpetual war? Shouldn’t the most powerful nation be strong enough to END perpetual war, not continue it endlessly? Today the media is talking about cyber war. Add that to the list of perpetual wars that can never be resolved. This leads more and more to the ideas from George Orwell’s 1984 Ministry of Peace that is always at war, and ministry of Truth that always tells lies. Frighteningly relevant and Orwellian.

  4. Elaine Says:
    February 3rd, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    What Bergman is saying, I believe, is that Israel does not want any other Middle East country to have military parity with Israel. As he says, “The problem is that once Iran acquires this ability, it would change the balance of power in the Middle East.”

  5. Jeff Thompson Says:
    February 3rd, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    Israel and the U.S. are like peas in a pod.

  6. Big Em Says:
    February 3rd, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    Yes, TH, I strongly agree with you regarding the relevancy of Orwell’s “1984” to the US regime over the past 3 decades, and especially over the past 10 yrs. When I first read “1984” back in the 1990s, it first struck me as over-the-top, and a bit too propagandistic, a little too over-written… But then during the W administration after 9/11, it seemed like the book could’ve have been a docudrama, it was almost prescient (especially the discussion of how they were allies with ‘Eastasia’ now when only a few years before they had been dreaded enemies, or vice-versa). It verges on spooky.

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