When Talk of War Transcends Idle Chatter

(New York Times) Ethan Bronner - In the intense and increasingly public debate about whether to attack Iran's nuclear facilities, the standard view has been that successful attacks rely on secrecy and surprise, so the more talk there is about an operation, the less likely it will occur. One year ago, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told foreign journalists that Iran briefly stopped working on a nuclear weapon only once, in 2003, because that was when the U.S. attacked Iraq, and Iran feared it might be next. "The paradox," Netanyahu said, "is that if there is a credible military option, you won't have to use it." In other words, the more noise you make about war, the less likely you will have to resort to it. But few who have spent time with Israel's decision makers in recent months believe that the talk of a military assault is merely a well-scripted act of public diplomacy. It is that, to be sure, but there is more. Israel believes that its threats to attack Iran have been the catalyst that has pushed much of the world to agree to harsh sanctions on Iran's energy and banking sectors, sanctions that otherwise would not have been agreed to. But Israel's top leaders also worry that the sanctions are too late and that, in the end, a military assault is the only way to accomplish their goal - stopping Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

2012-02-06 00:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive