Tuesday, February 21, 2012 at 11:28 AM

Despite drumbeat, Israel will never attack Iran

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

No doubt the rhetoric now being hurled between the United States/Israel and Iran smacks of an unnerving echo of that which was hurled between the United States/Britain and Iraq before the ill-fated invasion of that country in 2003 – complete with UN nuclear inspectors (then and now) on a wild-goose chase to find weapons of mass destruction.

The key difference, however, is that the indispensable party to this war dance with Iran is the pragmatic and prudent President Barack Obama; whereas, in the case of Iraq, it was the dogmatic and cocksure President George W. Bush. More to the point, unlike Bush, whose logic was to bomb first and seek peace later, Obama seems determined to seek peace first and bomb later … if necessary.

In the meantime, we are being treated to the spectacle of Obama, on the one hand, opining that – though rightly concerned not just about Iran’s nuclear program but about its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, repeatedly vowing to wipe it off the map – Israel has not decided to attack; and his secretary of defense, Leon Panetta, on the other hand, opining that Israel has already decided to attack in April, May, or June.

Then of course there’s the drumbeat now being sounded by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel, where he is emulating, in dogmatic and cocksure fashion, the rhetoric Bush used as a prelude to war against Iraq.

Not to mention the tit-for-tat car bombings which saw Israel assassinate an Iranian nuclear scientist right in Tehran in mid-January and Iran retaliating by attempting to assassinate Israeli diplomats in India and Georgia last week. Or the war games which saw the United States dare Iran to follow through on its threat to close the Strait of Hormuz by sailing an aircraft carrier through without incident last week and Iran countering by sailing two warships towards a Syrian port this week.

All of which makes clear that the United States/Israel and Iran are ratcheting up their psychological warfare to an unprecedented level. Commensurate with this, Israel is saying everything to give the impression that an attack is imminent.

Except that this ploy is being undermined by its indispensable partner, the United States, which clearly deems such obvious blustering beneath its dignity as a superpower. But any talk about Obama emboldening Ahmadinejad by publicly admonishing Netanyahu against continually threatening the use of force is belied by the precedent of Bush’s constant saber rattling and bellicose rhetoric doing nothing to hinder, let alone stop, Iran’s nuclear program.

For its part, Iran is saying everything to give the impression that it not only has the power to withstand any attack, but might launch a “preemptive strike” of its own: oy vey!

But here’s the deal: I am convinced that, despite increasingly onerous sanctions, Iran will develop nuclear weapons. Not least because Iran is clearly following the North Korean precedent. Specifically, despite suffering for decades under the most comprehensive and stringent battery of sanctions, North Korea developed the nuclear weapons that it now uses as a Damoclean sword to extract all manner of political and economic concessions from the very countries, most notably the United States, that are still enforcing sanctions against it.

Yet I am convinced that, despite threatening to use military force to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, the United States/Israel will never attack. Not least because the United States has to wonder if Iran is just playing a cat-and-mouse game with the world over its nuclear program for the same reason Iraq did over its WMDs: it’s far more important for its neighbors to think that it has weapons to destroy them than it is for the world to know that it has no such weapons. Not to mention that an attack on Iran would stir up a veritable hornet’s nest—ranging from $6-per-gallon gasoline to effectively kicking off World War III.

And Hamlet thought he had a dilemma? Hell, having to decide when, or whether, to act in these circumstances could turn any thinking president (or prime minister) into a dithering fool.

(“New Sanctions on Iran: Naïve or Shrewd?” The iPINIONS Journal, June 15, 2010)

Most important, though, I am convinced that, despite its rhetoric about wiping Israel off the map, Iran will never attack Israel. Not least because of the same reason the Soviet Union/Russia has never attacked the United States: Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). And rest assured that if any country thought it was beneficial (politically or financially) to sell nuclear weapons to terrorists, North Korea would have done so years ago.

It is worth noting, however, that when Iran acquires nuclear weapons, it will only be a matter of time before other countries in the region acquire them too. Indeed, according to the January 16, 2012 edition of the Wall Street Journal, Saudi Arabia signed a nuclear cooperation pact with China just last month to develop and use atomic energy for the same “peaceful purposes” Iran continually proffers….

As a general proposition, possessing nuclear weapons is sheer lunacy, which makes the United States and Russia the biggest lunatic nations in the history of mankind. Beyond this, trying to control which countries possess nuclear weapons under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is as inherently unfair as it is patently unenforceable.

Who says every sovereign nation does not have the same right to develop these weapons that the United States, Russia, China and others exercised… Indeed, it is instructive that India, Pakistan and Israel refused to even sign the self-abnegating NPT.

(North Korea has nukes…now what?! The iPINIONS Journal, October 6, 2006)

Related commentaries:
Israel Mossad strikes again
New sanctions
Time to put up or shut up
North Korea has nukes

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