In a recent meeting with the US, Israel reaffirmed that “no option should be ruled out” when dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat. The meeting between US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and his Israeli counterpart, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, reconfirms the tensions created by the Iranian quest for nuclear weaponry.
Given Iran’s historical belligerence towards Israel, the tiny nation is correct to view Ahmadinejad and his cronies as an existential threat. The Iranian despot has repeatedly called for the destruction of the Jewish state. The achievement of an Iranian nuke would be the harbinger of the death of Israel. However, it is unlikely that Israel would allow the Iranian nuclear program to reach this terminal stage. Well before such a point, Israel would most certainly launch an attack on the Persian state. Such an attack would have profound effects on Israel and the entire Middle East.
An Israeli attack would lead to a heavy handed Iranian reprisal that would quickly embroil the Middle East into a regional war— which quite possibly could spread into a broader conflagration. Israel of course knows this and logically wants to avoid such a destabilizing act. However, the choice is clear when given an option between annihilation and fighting to prevent destruction. Barak stated, “We are not blind. We know everything we do has implications on our neighbors, we take this into account, but ultimately we are committed to Israel's security interests."
The crucial question is: ‘When do the Israelis feel they have reached the point-of-no-return?’ The Iranian nuclear program is far more complex than the Iraqi program which Israel successfully ended with the bombing of Osirak in 1981. A single surgical strike would be unable to end the Iranian program. This implies that upon deciding to attack Iran, Israel would have to use a considerable amount of force. Such a need of force will certainly delay an Israeli strike; however, only to a certain point. If Israeli intelligence indicates that a nuclear Iran is imminent, the country will strike.
All of this heightens the need for America, and the world community, to increase pressure on Iran. The Iranian nuclear program needs to be halted immediately. However, the Obama administration’s insistence on making nice with our enemies and bullying our friends is counterproductive to this aim. The administration’s warped view of foreign policy, as successfully slammed in The Wall Street Journal, is not only unwise but downright foolish. Obama continues to push Israel and court Iran. Ultimately, this will increase Israel’s insecurity and accelerate the ‘point-of-no-return’. After nearly eight months in office, it is time that Obama realizes his foreign policy is leading the world down a dangerous path. Hopefully, he will change his tune before a disastrous war in the Middle East forces him to.