New U.S. "Nuke-Free" Strategy a Dangerous Initiative

(Ynet News) Eytan Gilboa - America preferred to ignore Israel's nuclear weapons because their development was justified in light of the Holocaust, the military power of Arab states, and their constant threats to destroy the Jewish state. However, Obama's new nuclear policy may change America's traditional stance on Israel's nukes. Secretary of State Clinton already expressed her support for the Egyptian initiative to realize the notion of a nuke-free Middle East. For years now, Egypt has been trying to place Israel's nukes on the global agenda in an effort to reveal Israel's stockpiles, monitor them, limit them, and dismantle them. The U.S. curbed these efforts so far, yet it appears that America is willing to accept the Egyptian position and possibly work towards realizing it. However, Obama's nuclear strategy is dangerous and problematic, premised on a certain degree of naivete and unfounded idealism. The U.S. position completely ignores the weakness of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, under which states such as Iraq and Libya developed infrastructure for the production of nuclear weapons. In recent years, Iran has been doing the same. The new American strategy also blurs the distinction between the nature of the governments. The problem is not the U.S., Britain, France, India, or Israel. The main issue has to do with radical, authoritarian and violent regimes such as Iran, which threatens to destroy Israel and turn all Mideastern regimes into radical Islamic ones. A discussion of a nuke-free Middle East means exclusive preoccupation with Israel's nuclear program. Iran won't cease its effort to acquire nukes, and the preoccupation with Israel will merely serve Tehran's aims by diverting attention. Moreover, the focus on nuclear weapons ignores other weapons of mass destruction such as chemical and biological means, which are held by some of Israel's foes. The vision of a nuke-free Middle East is appropriate and worthwhile, yet it could only be realized after all of Israel's close and distant neighbors, including Iran, secure stable peace treaties with it, cut back their armies, and eliminate their WMD arsenals. The issue of nuclear weapons cannot be separated from the other major issues of war and peace in the Mideast. Professor Gilboa is a political science and communication lecturer and a senior research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University.

2010-05-10 08:32:41

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