by Jim Stephens
April 16, 2010
This is a very important article, sent to my email by the excellent “Myths and Facts”
I feel a major,major issue in today´s world is the absence of a truly revolutionary party on the left, which is fighting against antisemitism. This fact is based on our analysis of what antisemitism is today, it is more and more hatred of Israel.
We said in our recent article
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If one understands that thinking is a reflection of the real material world, then the body of thought on a particular subject has a physical reality, which we can call theory.
There is an accumulated body of thought towards the Jews as a people, anti-Semitism, which has a real physical presence and reality in the world of today.
The Pharaohs of Egypt thought they had a “Jewish problem” and that they would solve it by making slaves of the Jews. The Romans would solve the “Jewish problem” by mass execution and dispersal, also renaming the country Judea, tearing down the temple etc. The Christians who Rome adopted and made into their pin-up clearly had a “jewish problem” and their answer was to pin the death of Jesus onto the Jews instead of on their sponsors the Romans, a very slick bit of replacement theorizing. Islam had a problem with everything non Islam and made the Christians and Jews into dhimmis.
And behind this lies the Protocols of Zion, that the Jews control the world, or seek to, and if given half a chance will do so.
That the Jews are an evil race, like the witches of Salem, and what do you do with evil, you destroy evil.
Thus the Nazis felt that they were performing a service to humanity by killing the 6 million, and the logic of their feelings of “service” was to kill ALL of the Jews.
This has morphed into a new thing in our time, the recent past. Now to perform a service to humanity you have to solve the “Palestinian” issue. But before going into the manic world of Obama any look at any Arab country will show that the destruction of Israel, or the formation of a Palestine state, will solve nothing at all
DIRE DISORIENTATION OF THE LEFT
There are a whole series of betrayals inside the Left that have led to the present dire situation where in order to construct a socialist leadership there has to be a party devoted to fighting against the dogma of “the Palestine State” and rather specifically that.
The actual record of Leon trotsky in the 1930s in support of the Jews has been terribly falsified and in this we can say that a critical factor was the actual elimination of Trotsky by the thug, Ramon Mercader, in the service of Joseph Stalin.
Yesterday I had a strange experience. I happened to look up the significant site of David North, www.wsws.org, and was fairly amazed to find that the issue of Iran, the nuclear bomb, and the danger to Jews of a new Holocaust was not there, though there was much else there. Very, very peculiar that mind set.
A SLIGHT DIFFERENCE WITH THE WRITER BELOW
The characterization of Obama as stated in the first sentence may be very wrong. Perhaps Obama does indeed “get it”. In our article quoted above we see Obama more along the lines of the Palestine Solidarity campaign, we can see little difference, there is the same anti rational attitude running deep in all their bones.
That is not a small difference. But there is much in the article that we agree with.
We stated that this is a revolutionary issue, because we do not see how it can be resolved, and we are talking about Jewish existence here, inside the confines of normal bourgeois diplomacy.
We see these western politicians of America and Europe standing with their hands in their pockets as Jews are massacred, perhaps in millions again, and we do not seek to shock.
Below is a sober assessment:
In the matter of Iranian nuclearization, U.S. President Barack Obama still doesn’t get it. Economic sanctions will never work. In Tehran’s national decision-making circles, absolutely nothing can compare to the immense power and status that would presumably come with membership in the Nuclear Club. Indeed, if President Ahmadinejad and his clerical masters truly believe in the Shiite apocalypse, an inevitable final battle against “unbelievers,” they would likely be willing to accept even corollary military sanctions.
From the standpoint of the United States, a nuclear Iran would pose an unprecedented risk of mass-destruction terrorism. For much smaller Israel, of course, the security risk would be existential.
Legal issues are linked here to various strategic considerations. Supported by international law, specifically by the incontestable right of anticipatory self-defense, Prime Minister Netanyahu understands that any preemptive destruction of Iran’s nuclear infrastructures would involve enormous operational and political difficulties. True, Israel has deployed elements of the “Arrow” system of ballistic missile defense, but even the Arrow could not achieve a sufficiently high probability of intercept to protect civilian populations. Further, now that Mr. Obama has backed away from America’s previously-planned missile shield deployment in Poland and the Czech Republic, Israel has no good reason to place its security hopes in any combined systems of active defense.
Even a single incoming nuclear missile that would manage to penetrate Arrow defenses could kill very large numbers of Israelis. Iran, moreover, could decide to share its developing nuclear assets with assorted terror groups, sworn enemies of Israel that would launch using automobiles and ships rather than missiles. These very same groups might seek “soft” targets in selected American or European cities – schools; universities; hospitals; hotels; sports stadiums; subways; etc.
While Obama and the “international community” still fiddles, Iran is plainly augmenting its incendiary intent toward Israel with a corresponding military capacity. Left to violate non-proliferation treaty (NPT) rules with impunity, Iran’s leaders might ultimately be undeterred by any threats of an Israeli and/or American retaliation. Such a possible failure of nuclear deterrence could be the result of a presumed lack of threat credibility, or even of a genuine Iranian disregard for expected harms. In the worst-case scenario, Iran, animated by certain Shiite visions of inevitable conflict, could become the individual suicide bomber writ large. Such a dire prospect is improbable, but it is not unimaginable.
Iran’s illegal nuclearization has already started a perilous domino effect, especially among certain Sunni Arab states in the region. Not long ago, both Saudi Arabia and Egypt revealed possible plans to develop their own respective nuclear capabilities. But strategic stability in a proliferating Middle East could never resemble US-USSR deterrence during the Cold War. Here, the critical assumption of rationality, which always makes national survival the very highest decisional preference, simply might not hold.
If, somehow, Iran does become fully nuclear, Israel will have to promptly reassess its core policy of nuclear ambiguity, and also certain related questions of targeting. These urgent issues were discussed candidly in my own “Project Daniel” final report, first delivered by hand to then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on January 16, 2003.
Israel’s security from mass-destruction attacks will depend in part upon its intended targets in Iran, and on the precise extent to which these targets have been expressly identified. For Israel’s survival, it is not enough to merely have The Bomb. Rather, the adequacy of Israel’s nuclear deterrence and preemption policies will depend largely upon (1) the presumed destructiveness of these nuclear weapons; and, (2) on where these weapons are thought to be targeted.
Mr. Obama’s “Road Map” notwithstanding, a nuclear war in the Middle East is not out of the question. Soon, Israel will need to choose prudently between “assured destruction” strategies, and “nuclear war-fighting” strategies. Assured destruction strategies are sometimes called “counter-value” strategies or “mutual assured destruction” (MAD). Drawn from the Cold War, these are strategies of deterrence in which a country primarily targets its strategic weapons on the other side’s civilian populations, and/or on its supporting civilian infrastructures.
Nuclear war-fighting measures, on the other hand, are called “counterforce” strategies. These are systems of deterrence wherein a country primarily targets its strategic nuclear weapons on the other side’s major weapon systems, and on that state’s supporting military assets.
There are distinctly serious survival consequences for choosing one strategy over the other. Israel could also opt for some sort of “mixed” strategy. Still, for Israel, any policy that might encourage nuclear war fighting should be rejected. This advice was an integral part of the once-confidential Project Daniel final report.
In choosing between the two basic strategic alternatives, Israel should always opt for nuclear deterrence based upon assured destruction. This seemingly insensitive recommendation might elicit opposition amid certain publics, but it is, in fact, more humane. A counterforce targeting doctrine would be less persuasive as a nuclear deterrent, especially to states whose leaders could willingly sacrifice entire armies as “martyrs.”
If Israel were to opt for nuclear deterrence based upon counterforce capabilities, its enemies could also feel especially threatened. This condition could then enlarge the prospect of a nuclear aggression against Israel, and of a follow-on nuclear exchange.
Israel’s decisions on counter-value versus counterforce doctrines will depend, in part, on prior investigations of enemy country inclinations to strike first; and on enemy country inclinations to strike all-at-once, or in stages. Should Israeli strategic planners assume that an enemy state in process of “going nuclear” is apt to strike first, and to strike with all of its nuclear weapons right away, Israeli counterforce-targeted warheads – used in retaliation – would hit only empty launchers. In such circumstances, Israel’s only plausible application of counterforce doctrine would be to strike first itself, an option that Israel clearly and completely rejects. From the standpoint of intra-war deterrence, a counter-value strategy would prove vastly more appropriate to a fast peace.
Should Israeli planners assume that an enemy country “going nuclear” is apt to strike first, and to strike in a limited fashion, holding some measure of nuclear firepower in reserve, Israeli counterforce-targeted warheads could have some damage-limiting benefits. Here, counterforce operations could appear to serve both an Israeli non-nuclear preemption, or, should Israel decide not to preempt, an Israeli retaliatory strike. Nonetheless, the benefits to Israel of maintaining any counterforce targeting options are generally outweighed by the reasonably expected costs.
To protect itself against a relentlessly nuclearizing Iran, Israel’s best course may still be to seize the conventional preemption option as soon as possible. (After all, a fully nuclear Iran that would actually welcome apocalyptic endings could bring incomparably higher costs to Israel.) Together with such a permissible option, Israel would have to reject any hint of a counterforce targeting doctrine. But if, as now seems clear, Iran is allowed to continue with its illegal nuclear weapons development, Mr. Netanyahu’s correct response should be to quickly end Israel’s historic policy of nuclear ambiguity.
Such a doctrinal termination could permit Israel to enhance its nuclear deterrence posture, but only in regard to a fully rational Iranian adversary. If, after all, Iran’s leaders were to resemble the suicide bomber in macrocosm, they might not be deterred by any expected level of Israeli retaliation.
No country can be required to participate in its own annihilation. Without a prompt and major change in President Obama’s persistently naive attitude toward Iran, a law-enforcing expression of anticipatory self-defense may still offer Israel its only remaining survival option. This will sound unconvincing to many, but rational decision-making – in all fields of human endeavor – is based upon informed comparisons of expected costs and expected benefits.
Does President Obama really believe that both we and the Israelis can somehow live with a nuclear Iran? If he does, he should be reminded that a nuclear balance-of-terror in the Middle East could never replicate the earlier stability of U.S.-Soviet mutual deterrence.
This would not be your father’s Cold War. , Professor of Political Science at Purdue, was educated at Princeton (Ph.D., 1971). Born in Zurich, Switzerland, at the end of World War II, he is the author of many major books, monographs and articles dealing with international law, strategic theory, Israeli nuclear policy, and regional nuclear war. In Israel, where he served as Chair of Project Daniel, his work is known to selected military and intelligence communities.
This article is the author’s personal opinion and is not the opinion or policy of Myths and Facts.
PROFESSOR LOUIS RENE BERES