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Reply #7: Israel is facing Iran in a two-person poker game [View All]

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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-09-11 11:31 AM
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7. Israel is facing Iran in a two-person poker game
This is the Israeli version of the prisoner's dilemma: If the International Atomic Energy Agency's new report on Iran and the flood of reports about Israel's intent to attack Iran result in a new set of sanctions on Tehran, Israel will have to decide if that's enough, or if it must nonetheless attack Iran's nuclear facilities.

If, on the other hand, the United Nations finds it difficult to approve significant additional sanctions, due to opposition from China and Russia, Israel will face a terrible dilemma. If it doesn't attack Iran, it will lose its credibility: The international community will no longer take notice of its empty threats. But if Israel does attack, claiming that the international community is indifferent, it will turn "the Iranian problem" into an Israeli problem, thus effectively absolving the international community of any need to act.

This week, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said that "After what happened in the Second World War, the survival of Israel is essential, and its creation was a central political event of the 20th century. We will not compromise on this." This statement alone is enough to show to what extent Israel has managed to reduce the global threat posed by Iran to a local threat against Israel. This, by the way, is the very same Sarkozy who warned in April that an Israeli strike on Iran would be "disastrous."

Israel's deliberate chatter did not merely divert attention from fear of Iran's nuclear program to fear of an Israeli response. It also transformed the question of Israel's response from a strategic dilemma into a logical dilemma. No longer is this a dilemma whose key questions are whether Israel can actually carry out a military strike, whether it knows where to attack, whether it can withstand an Iranian counterattack or what the political implications might be. The key question now has been reduced to whether it's reasonable for Israel to attack - or in other words, whether Israel will act like an irrational country that doesn't even consider the consequences of its actions.

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