Friday, March 29, 2013

Israel’s apology to Turkey. An explanation.

This apology is so absurd that that it cannot be explained away by the simple capitulation by the PM and Bogie. Why would the PM reverse his stance after three years of refusing to apologize and to do that exactly at the time Obama was visiting? So obviously there is a connection.  Would ANYTHING justify such an absurd apology?  Well, yes, it would only make sense if it helps Israel defend itself against the existential threat coming from Iran.  Would not some crucial quid pro quo from Obama regarding Iran be the only logical explanation?  After all, Bibi and Bogie are not fools. The probability that both of them have taken leave of their senses to commit such an inexplicable blunder at exactly the same time is just too small. 

Never Despair

I have been reading two books on Churchill at the same time:  Churchill: The Power of Words  edited by Martin Gilbert  and  Young Titan: The Making of Winston Churchill by Michael Shelden, when I  came across this speech by Churchill given on March 1, 1955,  at the time when the MAD doctrine was very much alive. I wonder what he would have said today when the word Deterrent does not apply any more?  This observation of his remains as valid  today as it was then " We live in an age of great events and little men".

This was the last great speech made by Churchill in the House of Commons. It was listened to with deep respect and almost total silence in a packed Chamber. It contains the last of the remembered Churchill phrases "... safety will be the sturdy child of terror, and survival the twin brother of annihilation".  The two final sentences may be regarded as Churchill's farewell to the House of Commons and to the British people.

I beg to move, 'That this House approves the Statement on Defence, 1955, Command Paper No. 9391.'

This Motion stands in my name, and it is supported by my right hon. Friends the Foreign Secretary, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the Minister of Defence.

We live in a period, happily unique in human history, when the whole world is divided intellectually and to a large extent geographically between the creeds of Communist discipline and individual freedom, and when, at the same time, this mental and psychological division is accompanied by the possession by both sides of the obliterating weapons of the nuclear age.

We have antagonisms now as deep as those of the Reformation and its reactions which led to the Thirty Years' War. But now they are spread over the whole world instead of only over a small part of Europe. We have, to some extent, the geographical division of the Mongol invasion in the thirteenth century, only more ruthless and more thorough. We have force and science, hitherto the servants of man, now threatening to become his master.

I am not pretending to have a solution for a permanent peace between the nations which could be unfolded this afternoon. We pray for it. Nor shall I try to discuss the cold war which we all detest, but have to endure. I shall only venture to offer to the House some observations mainly of a general character on which I have pondered long and which, I hope, may be tolerantly received, as they are intended by me. And here may I venture to make a personal digression? I do not pretend to be an expert or to have technical knowledge of this prodigious sphere of science. But in my long friendship with Lord Cherwell I have tried to follow and even predict the evolution of events. I hope that the House will not reprove me for vanity or conceit if I repeat what I wrote a quarter of a century ago:

We know enough [I said] to be sure that the scientific achievements of the next fifty years will be far greater, more rapid and more surprising than those we have already experienced . . . High authorities tell us that new sources of power, vastly more important than any we yet know, will surely be discovered. Nuclear energy is incomparably greater than the molecular energy which we use to-day. The coal a man can get in a day can easily do 500 times as much work as the man himself. Nuclear energy is at least one million times more powerful still. If the hydrogen atoms in a pound of water could be prevailed upon to combine together and form helium, they would suffice to drive a 1,000 horse-power engine for a whole year. If the electrons those tiny planets of the atomic systems were induced to combine with the nuclei in the hydrogen, the horse-power liberated would be 120 times greater still. There is no question among scientists that this gigantic source of energy exists. What is lacking is the match to set the bonfire alight, or it may be the detonator to cause the dynamite to explode.

This is no doubt not quite an accurate description of what has been discovered, but as it was published in the Strand Magazine of December, 1931- twenty-four years ago-I hope that my plea to have long taken an interest in the subject may be indulgently accepted by the House.

What is the present position? Only three countries possess, in varying degrees, the knowledge and the power to make nuclear weapons. Of these, the United States is overwhelmingly the chief. Owing to the breakdown in the exchange of information between us and the United States since 1946 we have had to start again independently on our own. Fortunately, executive action was taken promptly by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition to reduce as far as possible the delay in our nuclear development and production. By his initiative we have made our own atomic bombs.

Confronted with the hydrogen bomb, I have tried to live up to the right hon. Gentleman's standard. We have started to make that one, too. It is this grave decision which forms the core of the Defence Paper which we are discussing this afternoon.

Although the Soviet stockpile of atomic bombs may be greater than that of Britain, British discoveries may well place us above them in fundamental science.

May I say that for the sake of simplicity and to avoid verbal confusion I use the expression 'atomic bombs' and also 'hydrogen bombs' instead of 'thermo-nuclear' and I keep 'nuclear' for the whole lot. There is an immense gulf between the atomic and the hydrogen bomb. The atomic bomb, with all its terrors, did not carry us outside the scope of human control or manageable events in thought or action, in peace or war. But when Mr. Sterling Cole, the Chairman of the United States Congressional Committee, gave out a year ago - 17 February 1954 - the first comprehensive review of the hydrogen bomb, the entire foundation of human affairs was revolutionized, and mankind placed in a situation both measureless and laden with doom.

It is now the fact that a quantity of plutonium, probably less than would fill the Box on the Table-it is quite a safe thing to store-would suffice to produce weapons which would give indisputable world domination to any great Power which was the only one to have it. There is no absolute defence against the hydrogen bomb, nor is any method in sight by which any nation, or any country, can be completely guaranteed against the devastating injury which even a score of them might inflict on wide regions.

What ought we to do? Which way shall we turn to save our lives and the future of the world? It does not matter so much to old people; they are going soon anyway; but I find it poignant to look at youth in all its activity and ardour and, most of all, to watch little children playing their merry games, and wonder what would lie before them if God wearied of mankind.

The best defence would of course be bona fide disarmament all round. This is in all our hearts. But sentiment must not cloud our vision. It is often said that 'facts are stubborn things.' A renewed session of a sub-committee of the Disarmament Commission is now sitting in London and is rightly attempting to conduct its debates in private. We must not conceal from ourselves the gulf between the Soviet Government and the N.A.T.O. Powers, which has hitherto, for so long, prevented an agreement. The long history and tradition of Russia makes it repugnant to the Soviet Government to accept any practical system of international inspection.

A second difficulty lies in the circumstance that, just as the United States, on the one hand, has, we believe, the overwhelming mastery in nuclear weapons, so the Soviets and their Communist satellites have immense superiority in what are called 'conventional' forces-the sort of arms and forces with which we fought the last war, but much improved. The problem is, therefore, to devise a balanced and phased system of disarmament which at no period enables any one of the participants to enjoy an advantage which might endanger the security of the others. A scheme on these lines was submitted last year by Her Majesty's Government and the French Government and was accepted by the late Mr. Vyshinsky as a basis of discussion. It is now being examined in London.

If the Soviet Government have not at any time since the war shown much nervousness about the American possession of nuclear superiority, that is because they are quite sure that it will not be used against them aggressively, even in spite of many forms of provocation. On the other hand, the N.A.T.O. Powers have been combined together by the continued aggression and advance of Communism in Asia and in Europe. That this should have eclipsed in a few years, and largely effaced, the fearful antagonism and memories that Hitlerism created for the German people is an event without parallel. But it has, to a large extent, happened. There is widespread belief throughout the free world that, but for American nuclear superiority, Europe would already have been reduced to satellite status and the Iron Curtain would have reached the Atlantic and the Channel.

Unless a trustworthy and universal agreement upon disarmament, conventional and nuclear alike, can be reached and an effective system of inspection is established and is actually working, there is only one sane policy for the free world in the next few years. That is what we call defence through deterrents. This we have already adopted and proclaimed. These deterrents may at any time become the parents of disarmament, provided that they deter. To make our contribution to the deterrent we must ourselves possess the most up-to-date nuclear weapons, and the means of delivering them.

That is the position which the Government occupy. We are to discuss this not only as a matter of principle; there are many practical reasons which should be given. Should war come, which God forbid, there are a large number of targets that we and the Americans must be able to strike at once. There are scores of airfields from which the Soviets could launch attacks with hydrogen bombs as soon as they have the bombers to carry them. It is essential to our deterrent policy and to our survival to have, with our American allies, the strength and numbers to be able to paralyse these potential Communist assaults in the first few hours of the war, should it come.

The House will perhaps note that I avoid using the word 'Russia' as much as possible in this discussion. I have a strong admiration for the Russian people -for their bravery, their many gifts, and their kindly nature. It is the Communist dictatorship and the declared ambition of the Communist Party and their proselytizing activities that we are bound to resist, and that is what makes this great world cleavage which I mentioned when I opened my remarks.

There are also big administrative and industrial targets behind the Iron Curtain, and any effective deterrent policy must have the power to paralyse them all at the outset, or shortly after. There are also the Soviet submarine bases and other naval targets which will need early attention. Unless we make a contribution of our own-that is the point which I am pressing-we cannot be sure that in an emergency the resources of other Powers would be planned exactly as we would wish, or that the targets which would threaten us most would be given what we consider the necessary priority, or the deserved priority, in the first few hours.

These targets might be of such cardinal importance that it would really be a matter of life and death for us. All this, I think, must be borne in mind in deciding our policy about the conventional forces, to which I will come later, the existing Services.

Meanwhile, the United States has many times the nuclear power of Soviet Russia - I avoid any attempt to give exact figures and they have, of course, far more effective means of delivery. Our moral and military support of the United States and our possession of nuclear weapons of the highest quality and on an appreciable scale, together with their means of delivery, will greatly reinforce the deterrent power of the free world, and will strengthen our influence within the free world. That, at any rate, is the policy we have decided to pursue. That is what we are now doing, and I am thankful that it is endorsed by a mass of responsible opinion on both sides of the House, and, I believe, by the great majority of the nation.

A vast quantity of information, some true, some exaggerated much out of proportion, has been published about the hydrogen bomb. The truth has inevitably been mingled with fiction, and I am glad to say that panic has not occurred. Panic would not necessarily make for peace. That is one reason why I have been most anxious that responsible discussions on this matter should not take place on the B.B.C. or upon the television, and I thought that I was justified in submitting that view of Her Majesty's Government to the authorities, which they at once accepted-very willingly accepted.

Panic would not necessarily make for peace even in this country. There are many countries where a certain wave of opinion may arise and swing so furiously into action that decisive steps may be taken from which there is no recall. As it is, the world population goes on its daily journey despite its sombre impression and earnest longing for relief. That is the way we are going on now.

I shall content myself with saying about the power of this weapon, the hydrogen bomb, that apart from all the statements about blast and heat effects over increasingly wide areas there are now to be considered the consequences of "fall out” as it is called, of wind-borne radio-active particles. There is both an immediate direct el feet on human beings who are in the path of such a cloud and an indirect effect through animals, grass, and vegetables, which pass on these contagions to human beings through food.

This would confront many who escaped the direct effects of the explosion with poisoning, or starvation, or both. Imagination stands appalled. There are, of course, the palliatives and precautions of a courageous Civil Defence, and about that the Home Secretary will be speaking later on to-night. But our best protection lies, as I am sure the House will be convinced, in successful deterrents operating from a foundation of sober, calm, and tireless vigilance.

Moreover, a curious paradox has emerged. Let me put it simply. After a certain point has been passed it may be said. "The worse things get, the better”.

The broad effect of the latest developments is to spread almost indefinitely and at least to a vast extent the area of mortal danger. This should certainly increase the deterrent upon Soviet Russia by putting her enormous spaces and scattered population on an equality or near-equality of vulnerability with our small densely populated island and with Western Europe.

I cannot regard this development as adding to our dangers. We have reached the maximum already. On the contrary, to this form of attack continents are vulnerable as well as islands. Hitherto, crowded countries, as I have said, like the United Kingdom and Western Europe, have had this outstanding vulnerability to carry. But the hydrogen bomb, with its vast range of destruction and the even wider area of contamination, would be effective also against nations whose population, hitherto, has been so widely dispersed over large land areas as to make them feel that they were not in any danger at all.

They, too, become highly vulnerable: not yet equally perhaps, but, still, highly and increasingly vulnerable. Here again we see the value of deterrents, immune against surprise and well understood by all persons on both sides I repeat "on both sides" who have the power to control events. That is why I have hoped for a long time for a top level conference where these matters could be put plainly and bluntly from one friendly visitor to the conference to another.

Then it may well be that we shall by a process of sublime irony have reached a stage in this story where safety will be the sturdy child of terror, and survival the twin brother of annihilation. Although the Americans have developed weapons capable of producing all the effects I have mentioned, we believe that the Soviets so far have tested by explosion only a type of bomb of intermediate power.

There is no reason why, however, they should not develop some time within the next four, three, or even two years more advanced weapons and full means to deliver them on North American targets. Indeed, there is every reason to believe that within that period they will. In trying to look ahead like this we must be careful ourselves to avoid the error of comparing the present state of our preparations with the stage which the Soviets may reach in three or four years' time. It is a major error of thought to contrast the Soviet position three or four years hence with our own position to-day. It is a mistake to do this, either in the comparatively precise details of aircraft development or in the measureless sphere of nuclear weapons.

The threat of hydrogen attack on these islands lies in the future. It is not with us now. According to the information that I have been able to obtain I have taken every opportunity to consult all the highest authorities at our disposal-the only country which is able to deliver to-day a full-scale nuclear attack with hydrogen bombs at a few hours' notice is the United States. That surely is an important fact, and from some points of view and to some of us it is not entirely without comfort.

It is conceivable that Soviet Russia, fearing a nuclear attack before she has caught up with the United States and created deterrents of her own, as she might argue that they are, might attempt to bridge the gulf by a surprise attack with such nuclear weapons as she has already. American superiority in nuclear weapons, reinforced by Britain, must, therefore, be so organized as to make it clear that no such surprise attack would prevent immediate retaliation on a far larger scale. This is an essential of the deterrent policy.

For this purpose, not only must the nuclear superiority of the Western Powers be stimulated in every possible way, but their means of delivery of bombs must be expanded, improved, and varied. It is even probable, though we have not been told about it outside the N.A.T.O. sphere, that a great deal of this has been already done by the United States. We should aid them in every possible way. I will not attempt to go into details, but it is known that bases have been and are being established in as many parts of the world as possible and that over all the rest the United States Strategic Air Force, which is in itself a deterrent of the highest order, is in ceaseless readiness.

The Soviet Government probably knows, in general terms, of the policy that is being pursued, and of the present United States strength and our own growing addition to it. Thus, they should be convinced that a surprise attack could not exclude immediate retaliation. As one might say to them, 'Although you might kill millions of our peoples, and cause widespread havoc by a surprise attack, we could, within a few hours of this outrage, certainly deliver several, indeed many times the weight of nuclear material which you have used, and continue retaliation on that same scale.'

'We have,' we could say, 'already hundreds of bases for attack from all angles and have made an intricate study of suitable targets.' Thus, it seems to me with some experience of wartime talks, you might go to dinner and have a friendly evening. I should not be afraid to talk things over as far as they can be. This, and the hard facts, would make the deterrent effective.

I must make one admission, and any admission is formidable. The deterrent does not cover the case of lunatics or dictators in the mood of Hitler when he found himself in his final dug-out. That is a blank. Happily, we may find methods of protecting ourselves, if we were all agreed, against that.

All these considerations lead me to believe that, on a broad view, the Soviets would be ill-advised to embark on major aggression within the next three or four years.

One must always consider the interests of other people when you are facing a particular situation. Their interests may be the only guide that is available. We may calculate, therefore, that world war will not break out within that time. If, at the end of that time, there should be a supreme conflict, the weapons which I have described this afternoon would be available to both sides, and it would be folly to suppose that they would not be used. Our precautionary dispositions and preparations must, therefore, be based on the assumption that, if war should come, these weapons would be used.

I repeat, therefore, that during the next three or four years the free world should, and will, retain an overwhelming superiority in hydrogen weapons. During that period it is most unlikely that the Russians would deliberately embark on major war or attempt a surprise attack, either of which would bring down upon them at once a crushing weight of nuclear retaliation. In three or four years' time, it may be even less, the scene will be changed. The Soviets will probably stand possessed of hydrogen bombs and the means of delivering them not only on the United Kingdom but also on North American targets. They may then have reached a stage, not indeed of parity with the United States and Britain but of what is called 'saturation.'

I must explain this term of art. 'Saturation' in this connection means the point where, although one Power is stronger than the other, perhaps much stronger, both are capable of inflicting crippling or quasi-mortal injury on the other with what they have got. It does not follow, however, that the risk of war will then be greater. Indeed, it is arguable that it will be less, for both sides will then realize that global war would result in mutual annihilation.

Major war of the future will differ, therefore, from anything we have known in the past in this one significant respect; that each side, at the outset, will suffer what it dreads the most, the loss of everything that it has ever known of. The deterrents will grow continually in value. In the past, an aggressor has been tempted by the hope of snatching an early advantage. In future, he may be deterred by the knowledge that the other side has the certain power to inflict swift, inescapable, and crushing retaliation. Of course, we should all agree that a world-wide international agreement on disarmament is the goal at which we should aim. The Western democracies disarmed themselves at the end of the war. The Soviet Government did not disarm, and the Western nations were forced to rearm, though only partially, after the Soviets and Communists had dominated all China and half Europe. That is the present position. It is easy, of course, for the Communists to say now, 'Let us ban all nuclear weapons.' Communist ascendancy in conventional weapons would then become overwhelming. That might bring peace, but only peace in the form of the subjugation of the Free World to the Communist system.

I shall not detain the House very much longer, and I am sorry to be so long. The topic is very intricate. I am anxious to repeat and to emphasize the one word which is the theme of my remarks, namely, 'Deterrent.' That is the main theme.

The hydrogen bomb has made an astounding incursion into the structure of our lives and thoughts. Its impact is prodigious and profound, but I do not agree with those who say, 'Let us sweep away forthwith all our existing defence services and concentrate our energy and resources on nuclear weapons and their immediate ancillaries.' The policy of the deterrent cannot rest on nuclear weapons alone. We must, together with our N.A.T.O. allies, maintain the defensive shield in Western Europe.

Unless the N.A.T.O. powers had effective forces there on the ground and could make a front, there would be nothing to prevent piecemeal advance and encroachment by the Communists in this time of so-called peace. By successive infiltrations, the Communists could progressively undermine the security of Europe. Unless we were prepared to unleash a full-scale nuclear war as soon as some local incident occurs in some distant country, we must have conventional forces in readiness to deal with such situations as they arise.

We must, therefore, honour our undertaking to maintain our contribution to the N.A.T.O. forces in Europe in time of peace. In war, this defensive shield would be of vital importance, for we must do our utmost to hold the Soviet and satellite forces at arms' length in order to prevent short-range air and rocket attack on these islands. Thus, substantial strength in conventional forces has still a vital part to play in the policy of the deterrent. It is perhaps of even greater importance in the cold war.

Though world war may be prevented by the deterrent power of nuclear weapons, the Communists may well resort to military action in furtherance of their policy of infiltration and encroachment in many parts of the world. There may well be limited wars on the Korean model, with limited objectives. We must be able to play our part in these, if called upon by the United Nations organization. In the conditions of to-day, this is also an aspect of our Commonwealth responsibility. We shall need substantial strength in conventional forces to fulfil our world-wide obligations in these days of uneasy peace and extreme bad temper.

To sum up this part of the argument, of course, the development of nuclear weapons will affect the shape and organization of the Armed Forces and also of Civil Defence. We have entered a period of transition in which the past and the future will overlap. But it is an error to suppose that, because of these changes our traditional forces can be cast away or superseded. The tasks of the Army, Navy, and Air Force in this transition period are set forth with clarity in the Defence White Paper. The means by which these duties will be met are explained in more detail in the Departmental Papers which have been laid before the House by the three Service Ministers.

No doubt, nothing is perfect; certainly, nothing is complete, but, considering that these arrangements have been made in the first year after the apparition of the hydrogen bomb, the far-seeing and progressive adaptability which is being displayed by all three Services is remarkable. [Hon. Members: 'Oh.'] I understand that there is to be a Motion of censure. Well, certainly, nothing could be more worthy of censure than to try to use the inevitable administrative difficulties of the transitional stage as a utensil of party politics and would-be electioneering. I am not saying that anyone is doing it; we shall see when it comes to the vote.

The future shape of Civil Defence is also indicated in broad outline in the Defence White Paper. This outline will be filled in as the preparation of the new plans proceeds, but the need for an effective system of Civil Defence is surely beyond dispute. It presents itself to-day in its noblest aspect, namely, the Christian duty of helping fellow-mortals in distress. Rescue, salvage, and ambulance work have always been the core of Civil Defence, and no city, no family nor any honourable man or woman can repudiate this duty and accept from others help which they are not prepared to fit themselves to render in return. If war comes, great numbers may be relieved of their duty by death, but none must deny it as long as they live. If they do, they might perhaps be put in what is called 'Coventry.' [Laughter.] I am speaking of the tradition, and not of any particular locality.

The argument which I have been endeavouring to unfold and consolidate gives us in this island an interlude. Let us not waste it. Let us hope we shall use it to augment or at least to prolong our security and that of mankind. But how? There are those who believe, or at any rate say, 'If we have the protection of the overwhelmingly powerful United States, we need not make the hydrogen bomb for ourselves or build a fleet of bombers for its delivery. We can leave that to our friends across the ocean. Our contribution should be criticism of any unwise policy into which they may drift or plunge. We should throw our hearts and consciences into that.'

Personally, I cannot feel that we should have much influence over their policy or actions, wise or unwise, while we are largely dependent, as we are to-day, upon their protection. We, too, must possess substantial deterrent power of our own. We must also never allow, above all, I hold, the growing sense of unity and brotherhood between the United Kingdom and the United States and throughout the English-speaking world to be injured or retarded. Its maintenance, its stimulation, and its fortifying is one of the first duties of every person who wishes to see peace in the world and wishes to see the survival of this country.

To conclude: mercifully, there is time and hope if we combine patience and courage. All deterrents will improve and gain authority during the next ten years. By that time, the deterrent may well reach its acme and reap its final reward. The day may dawn when fair play, love for one's fellow-men, respect for justice and freedom, will enable tormented generations to march forth serene and triumphant from the hideous epoch in which we have to dwell. Meanwhile, never flinch, never weary, never despair.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Obama unveils credible threat against Iran: Israel

From the Jerusalem Post:


The US president's visit is not meant to hold Israel back.

On the surface, the words seem almost banal: Israel has the right to defend itself, by itself, against any threat.
Upon first hearing, one could be excused for thinking this is merely stating the obvious, that all independent, sovereign states possess that inalienable right to self defense. Isn't that what sovereignty is all about.
This was a line former prime minister Ariel Sharon made sure was included in the famous letter from then-president George W. Bush that preceded the disengagement from Gaza, and it is a line that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu repeated time and time again on Wednesday at the his public appearances with US President Barack Obama.
"Thank you for unequivocally affirming Israel’s sovereign right to defend itself by itself against any threat," Netanyahu said at the airport following Obama's speech upon landing, where he said "today the sons of Abraham and the daughters of Sara are fulfilling the dream of the ages – to be masters of their own fate in their own sovereign state."
He said it again at the start of his press conference with Obama following the first round of their meetings. In fact, Netanyahu mentioned Israel's right to independently defend itself during the press conference no less than three times, with the most significant reference at the beginning.
"Notwithstanding our joint efforts and your great success in mobilizing the international community, diplomacy and sanctions so far have not stopped Iran's nuclear program," he said. "And as you know, my view is that in order to stop Iran's nuclear programs peacefully, diplomacy and sanctions must be augmented by a clear and credible threat of military action. In this regard, Mr. President, I want to thank you once again for always making clear that Israel must be able to defend itself by itself against any threat."
For months, in fact even years going back to at least January 2011, Netanyahu has said that sanctions on Iran will only work if coupled with a "credible military option."  The reasoning was that only if Iran had a dagger over its head would it use the sanctions and political isolation to back down. In recent weeks he stepped up the drumbeat of that mantra, saying this line almost every time he made public comments on Iran, although never spelling out exactly what he considered to be that credible military threat.
Over the first two days of Obama’s visit that threat emerged: it is Israel itself.
Speculation has been rife for years that the US is holding Israel back when it comes to Iran. Indeed, prior to Obama's trip there was speculation that one of the main purposes of his journey was to hold a bright red stop light up to Netanyahu.
No one -- including the Iranians -- knows what Obama and Netanyahu said to each other privately on Wednesday. Publicly, however, restraining Israel has not been Obama’s message. Indeed, the opposite is true -- and these are the words the Iranians are hearing as well.
"I think that what Bibi alluded to, which is absolutely correct, is each country has to make its own decisions when it comes to the awesome decision to engage in any kind of military action, and Israel is differently situated than the United States," Obama said at Wednesday’s press conference. "And I would not expect that the prime minister would make a decision about his country's security and defer that to any other country, any more than the United States would defer our decisions about what was important for our national security."
The most solemn responsibility of a leader, he said, is the security of his people."That’s job number one. My job as president of the United States, first and foremost, is to keep the American people safe. Bibi, as prime minister, your first task is to keep the people of Israel safe. And Israel’s security needs are truly unique, as I’ve seen myself.”
During the last four years, Netanyahu's efforts regarding Iran were two fold: raising the issue to the top of the international agenda, and creating a credible Israeli military option. Actually, these two efforts were interconnected, because the world put the issue on the agenda, and significantly ratcheted up sanctions on Iran precisely because it felt that Israel posed a serious military threat.
And now Obama comes to town and instead of sheathing that threat, instead of openly warning Israel not to take action, he makes it clear publicly that he recognizes Israel's right to defend itself by itself against all possible threats. Obama hopes it will not come to that on Iran, he hopes the Iranians will back down. But if they don’t, the credible military threat Netanyahu wants to see waved along with the economic, political and diplomatic pressure already being applied against Iran is no less than Israel itself.
Iran, and the international community, have been warned.

It is a bit strange that the most powerful nation on Earth with a population of 330 million is delegating the leadership of the free word to a country of 7.7 million. But this is definitely progress.  If the reports about the newly revealed Iranian site, 14 miles long and miles 7 .5 wide are true, events seems be coming to a head.
The mutually assured destruction  doctrine (MAD)  does not work with Iran and  according to some apocalyptic hadiths  the Twelvers would start a nuclear war in order to kill 2/3 of humanity and trigger the return of the Mahdi who is in “occultation”.
Iran is led by a group of irrational men who believe they can hurry the arrival of the Mahdi – the 12th Imam who, according to Shi’ite Islamic tradition, went missing in 874 CE and will return under conditions of global chaos. The Iranian leadership appears willing to sacrifice the population of its own country to achieve this goal.
In his book The Rise of Nuclear Iran, former Israeli ambassador to the UN Dore Gold writes, “Mahdi Khaliji, an Iranian Shi’ite scholar... has noted that there are apocalyptic hadiths [received Shi’ite traditions] that the Mahdi will not return unless one-third of the world population is killed and another third die. But Ahmadinejad and his followers believe man can actively create the conditions for the Mahdi’s arrival in the here and now...”
This means that the US and everyone else on this planet is in the same boat and if the US expects Israel to be the one to act first then it is delegating its defense to Israel.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Obama and Netanyahu: A bit of truth among all the hypocrisy

Israelis are quite aware that President Obama supports the most virulently anti-Semitic and anti-American Muslim Brotherhood. As Barry Rubin put it in his article Note to Obama:
“ The problem Israel has with the Obama administration  is mainly about a US policy of helping radical Islamists who are anti-Semites and openly call for wiping Israel off the map to get into power."
But even more puzzling is how is it possible that Americans are indifferent to their President supporting these ugly movements whose values are diametrically opposed to American values? Is it just ignorance, or has America changed so drastically?

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Video: Chavez urged Shiites' 12th Imam to 'come sooner'

And the world’s reaction to Iran, apart from Chavez?    Here is an appropriate quote:

The Government simply cannot make up their minds, or they cannot get the Prime Minister to make up his mind. So they go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all-powerful to be impotent.

Sir Winston ChurchillHansard, November 12, 1936

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Fortunately, in contrast to Iran, MAD still works with North Korea

The transcript of the North Korean TV comment:

"Since the United States is about to ignite a nuclear war we will be exercising our right to a preemptive nuclear attack against the headquarters  of the aggressor in order to protect our supreme interest" 

The North Korean Inner Party communists still do not want to die and they want to preserve their privileges, so it is not very likely that they would attack the US. They know that they would not survive a retaliatory strike. Not so the Iranian Twelvers who are looking forward to a conflagration .

Monday, March 4, 2013

PM Netanyahu addresses AIPAC 2013


Thank you, thank you very much.

Thank you, Rosie. And thank you Howard, Michael, Robert and all the leadership of AIPAC. Thank you for everything you do to strengthen the great alliance between Israel and The United States of America.

Let me say a special hello to my friend, Vice President Biden. He just spoke there. I have to say that I’ve learned over the years so much from Joe. I want to thank him for his steadfast support for Israel over so many decades. I’ve learned what Irish families are about from Joe Biden. I learned about his father. I learned that his background and ours is so similar, deeply grounded in values, and I just heard those values expressed.

I want to also recognize, and I’m sure you’ll all join me in recognizing, Defense Minister Barak, who I’ve sent to represent Israel in the AIPAC conference. Ehud, I want to thank you for the years of service for Israel’s security. Thank you, Ehud.

And I want to recognize Ambassadors Oren and Prossor. Michael and Ron, thank you both for your terrific service you’re doing for Israel every day.

Finally, I want to thank all of you who have come from far and wide to be here today to express your support for Israel.

As you know I was hoping to speak to you in person, but unfortunately, I had to stay in Israel to do something a lot more enjoyable - putting together a coalition government... Despite the difficulties, I intend to form a strong and stable government in the days ahead.

The first thing that my new government will have the privilege of doing is to warmly welcome President Obama to Israel. I look forward to the President’s visit. It will give me an opportunity, along with the people of Israel, to express our appreciation for what he has done for Israel.

The President and I agreed to focus our discussions on three main issues:

First, Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons; 

Second, the deteriorating situation in Syria; 

And third, the need to find a responsible way to advance the peace with the Palestinians.

Now, on the first point: Iran has made it clear that it will continue to defy the will of the international community. Time after time, the world’s leading powers have tabled diplomatic proposals to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue peacefully. But I have to tell you the truth. Diplomacy has not worked.

Iran ignores all these offers. It is running out the clock. It has used negotiations, including the most recent ones, to buy time to press ahead with its nuclear program.

Thus far, the sanctions have not stopped the nuclear program either. The sanctions have hit the Iranian economy hard. That is true. But Iran's leaders just grit their teeth and move forward. Iran enriches more and more uranium; It installs faster and faster centrifuges; It’s still not crossed the red line I drew at the United Nations last September. But Iran is getting closer to that line, and it’s putting itself in a position to cross that line very quickly once it decides to do so.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

To prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, we cannot allow Iran to cross that red line. We have to stop its nuclear enrichment program before it’s too late. And I have to tell you, and with the clarity of my brain: words alone will not stop Iran; Sanctions alone will not stop Iran. Sanctions must be coupled with a clear and credible military threat if diplomacy and sanctions fail.

I deeply appreciate something that President Obama has said repeatedly. You've just heard Vice President Biden say it again: Israel must always be able to defend itself by itself against any threat to its existence. The Jewish people know the cost of being defenseless against those who would exterminate us. We will never let that happen again.

Joe Biden described his meeting with Golda Meir. She said to him: our secret weapon is we have no other place to go. Well, we have our place under the sun. And ladies and gentlemen, we shall defend it.

The rebirth of Israel is one of the greatest events in history. I think Churchill said it transcends generations, it transcends centuries. He said it is significant in the perspective of thousands of years. We never lose sight of that perspective. We shall always defend the one and only Jewish state.

The second issue I intend to discuss with President Obama is the situation in Syria. Over the last two years, over 70,000 Syrians have been killed. Hundreds of thousands have been wounded and maimed. Millions have been forced to flee their homes.

Besides this humanitarian crisis of great tragedy, Syria could soon become a strategic crisis. One of monumental proportions. Syria is a very poor country, but it has chemical weapons, anti-aircraft weapons, and many other of the world’s most deadly and sophisticated arms. As the Syrian regime collapses, the danger of these weapons falling into the hands of terrorist groups is very real. Terror groups such as Hezbollah and Al Qaeda are trying to seize these weapons as we speak. They are like hyenas feeding off a carcass - and the carcass is not even dead yet.

These terror groups are committed to Israel’s destruction. They have repeatedly attacked the United States. They are global terrorist organizations that can perpetrate terror attacks anywhere in the world. We’ve just seen that, in Cyprus, in Bulgaria, everywhere. This is why we have a common interest in preventing them from obtaining these deadly weapons.
I know that here too President Obama fully appreciates Israel’s need to defend itself. And I look forward to discussing with him ways to address this challenge to our common security.

The third issue I intend to discuss with President Obama is our common quest for peace.

Israel seeks a peace with our Palestinian neighbors - a peace that will end our conflict once and for all. That peace must be grounded in reality; and it must be grounded in security. Israel withdrew from Lebanon; we withdrew from Gaza; we gave up territory. We got terror. We cannot allow that to happen a third time.

Israel is prepared for a meaningful compromise. But as Israel’s Prime Minister, I will never compromise on our security.

We must work together to find a realistic path forward - And I think that path has to be a measured step-by-step process in which we work to advance to a verifiable, durable and defensible peace.

It has to be defensible, because in the Middle East, especially in this Middle East, a peace you cannot defend will not hold for five minutes. It has to be verifiable, because as we move from one step to another, we have to make sure that we can not only defend ourselves but also that our neighbors are actually telling their people, educating their children to live in peace. 

This is something we desperately want. We yearn for peace, we pray for peace, and with President Obama, we shall work for peace.

I look forward to discussing with President Obama when he comes here later this month all these issues. But in addition, I'll have a chance to show President Obama a different side of Israel, Israel that has become a technological marvel. It’s teeming with innovation. Israel, that each day pushes the boundaries of medicine and science to the ends of human imagination. Israel that has one of the world’s most vibrant cultures and one of the world’s most dynamic peoples. 

Israel, the modern Jewish state living in the ancient Jewish homeland - an oasis of liberty and progress in the heart of the Middle East where these ideas have yet to take root.

That is the Israel that all of you know. That is the Israel that all of you love. That is the Israel that so many Americans love. And that is the Israel that will never stop standing shoulder to shoulder with the country that has been the greatest force for good that the world has ever known - the United States of America.

God bless America,

God bless Israel,

And God bless the American-Israeli alliance.

God bless you all. Thank you.

Philosophical Questions

One of the best cartoons I've ever seen. Directly applicable to the Death of MAD.