Sunday, April 11, 2010

Israel's "Nuclear Global Legitimacy".

Avner Cohen makes a strange point in today's Ha'aretz newspaper regarding Israel's nuclear ambiguity:

Let there be no doubt - Israel's policy of nuclear opacity is perceived by many the world over, including its best friends, as a political anachronism that is hard to swallow. To them, the problem is not the question of Israel having nuclear capacity, but the country's refusal to acknowledge it. The more Israel is viewed as a cautious, responsible nuclear nation, the harder it is to accept its policy of opacity as appropriate.

Opacity is widely perceived as concealment, an act of covering up a secret that cannot be revealed to the public. Today, however, the secret is known to all, so it's unclear why it must remain wrapped in ambiguity. In a world demanding that Iran speak the truth over its nuclear activity, ambiguity is seen as a bizarre relic from the past.
My understanding of this, and I am sure American readers can correct me if I am wrong, is that Israel's ambiguity is linked to the inability of the US to give aid to country's who possess nuclear weapons but have not signed up to the NNPT.

It is for that reason that I thought Israel's policy of nuclear ambiguity exists.

Cohen appears to be arguing that Israel, by refusing to send Netanyahu to Obama's nuclear summit, is missing a chance "to win global legitimacy for its nuclear program".

I don't think that there is any such chance. Obama is moving towards nuclear disarmament. The 40 year old deal - between the US and Israel - which protects Israel from ever having to declare her nuclear status is no longer in the interests of the United States as it's currently being defined by Barack Obama.

It's inconceivable that the US and Russia would ever contemplate going too far down the disarmament road without addressing the issue of India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea.

Where Cohen sees a chance "to win global legitimacy for it's nuclear programme", I see only the opposite. The US and Russia would only ask Israel to acknowledge her nuclear arsenal as a first step to asking her to dismantle it.

The notion that Israel could prove herself "as a cautious, responsible nuclear nation" seems to me to me to missing the direction in which Obama is moving.

Obviously his presidency is not going to result in a nuclear free world, but neither is it going to result in a world where the US and Russia start the process of disarming whilst India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea maintain their status quo.

This is yet another point where the interests of the US and Israel are set to clash. Cohen is kidding himself if he thinks Netanyahu is missing a chance to legitimise weaponry which two of the world's largest powers are seeking to dismantle.

Such "global legitimacy" is a myth.

Click here for full article.


Anonymous said...

Nuclear Strike by Israel would be a catastrophe for the Gulf & the World

The US Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), in Washington , has raised the possibility of a nuclear strike by Israel , against Iran , in an effort to ensure that she, Israel , remains the only nuclear-weapons power in the Middle East .

This respected Washington Think-Tank argues that tactical nuclear warheads would be a method for Israel to attempt to destroy Iranian uranium enrichment plants located deep underground. However, this scenario is fraught with extreme danger, not only for the Gulf states and the Middle East but also for Europe, Asia and the world.

A nuclear strike by Israel , who has refused to sign-up to the NPT and whose undeclared nuclear arsenal is outside the inspection of the IAEA, could well be the spark that starts WW3. Such an illegal attack would have unknown consequences and repercussions throughout the international community.

Such an unprovoked, nuclear attack against a sovereign nation, by a state that is already in gross breach of human rights conventions and which has been accused of war crimes in Gaza , is an act that must be prevented by the UNSC, at all costs.

The UN Security Council should table a resolution, without delay, calling upon Israel to:

1. to seek specific authority from the UNSC before deploying or using nuclear warheads against Iran or any other nation

2. to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)
3. to submit its nuclear arsenal to inspection by the IAEA
4. to join with the US and Russia in reducing its nuclear weapons

Failing to comply with such a resolution should entail an embargo on all bilateral trade between Israel and its primary trading partners, the US and the EU, until such time as Israel is in full compliance with the will of the United Nations.

John RD Kidd

Kel said...


I agree that an Israeli strike on Iran would have catastrophic consequences, but I don't think Netanyahu would dare. It would destroy his relationship with Obama.

Steel Phoenix said...

I think you are correct about aid. I think the U.S. Congress would unanimously vote for an exception for Israel. The problem lies in their spinelessness. They gave Israel the nukes illegally and under the table to avoid criticism, and now they don't want the consequences of admitting to it.

Isreal has a tight leash around the anatomy of the U.S. Congressmen; a leash it strengthens with every vote in their favor.

Kel said...

I agree, SP. There is no way the US Congress would vote for anything which goes against Israel. Their previous voting record on this subject achieves the kind of unanimity normally only previously seen in authoritarian regimes.