April 9, 2009

THERE'S SOMETHING MUCH MORE IMPORTANT THAT THEY MISS...:

Why Israel Will Bomb Iran: The rational argument for an attack. (David Samuels, April 9, 2009, Slate)

What the nuclear optimists miss is that it is not the United States that is directly threatened by the Iranian nuclear program but Israel—and the calculations that drive our Middle Eastern client state are very different from those that guide the behavior of its superpower patron.

Less sanguine types—who think that Israel isn't bluffing—generally fall into two camps: those who think that the Israelis are crazy and require the firm hand of America to restrain them and those who think that the Iranian leadership lives on a different planet and will use nuclear weapons against Israel. Yet it is not necessary to stipulate that either party is crazy in order to see why an Israeli attack on Iran makes sense.

From the standpoint of international relations theory, the scariest thing about recent Israeli rhetoric is that an attack on Iran lines up quite well with Israel's rational interests as a superpower client.

While Israeli bluster is clearly calculated to push America to take a more aggressive stance toward Iran, that doesn't mean the Israelis won't actually attack if President Obama decides on a policy of engagement that leaves the Iranians with a viable nuclear option. In fact, the more you consider the rationality of an Israeli attack on Iran in the context of Israel's relationship with its superpower patron, the more likely an attack appears.


...Israel doesn't owe Barack Obama anything and their attacking Iran would be wildly popular with the President's employers, the American people.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 9, 2009 9:10 PM
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