Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Israel Matzav: Why is this simple point so difficult to understand?

Why is this simple point so difficult to understand?

Commenting on the Obama administration's disclosure of the number of nuclear weapons held by the United States, Max Boot explains the simple logic of whose nuclear weapons ought to worry us, and whose nuclear weapons ought not to worry us.

Implicit in Madam Secretary’s statement is a sort of moral equivalence, which suggests that our nukes are, at some level, just as problematic as those of, say, North Korea, and that if we show the right path toward transparency and arms control, rogue states will follow our lead.

In reality, American nukes are as different from those being built by Iran or North Korea as a cop’s handgun is from a gun wielded by a serial killer. What counts is not killing capacity but in whose hands it resides. No one worries about British or French or American nukes. Nor should anyone worry about Israeli nukes — as long as Israel doesn’t face annihilation, they will never be used.

That’s because countries like the U.S. and Israel have democratic systems with checks and safeguards against capricious use of the ultimate weapons. The problem with Iran is that it has no such safeguards. If it were to acquire nukes, its weapons would be in the hands of millenarian religious fanatics who jail or kill anyone who criticizes them. Seeing America downsize its nuclear arsenal or disclose its size won’t make the mullahs follow suit; if anything, it will embolden them to be more aggressive because they will see the latest gestures by the administration (correctly) as an indication of our lack of resolve to stop them.

Why does the Obama administration not seem to get this simple reality? You can't attribute this one to hating Israel - even the Obama administration must understand that Iran threatens other countries beside Israel. You also can't attribute it to his love of Islam - Saudi Arabia is just as Islamic as Iran - unless you claim that Obama is a Shia and not a Sunni (an assertion I don't believe to be correct). So why doesn't he get it? Why does he seem to be doing everything possible to facilitate Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon? Why does he insist on carrying out the logic of treating everyone equally to the extreme conclusion that the United States is not only no better or different than Russia or China, but that it is also no different or better than Iran or North Korea?

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Why is this simple point so difficult to understand?

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