How to Salvage Some Security from the Botched Iran Deal

(Financial Times-UK) Michael Herzog - Israel is not at the table negotiating the deal on Iran's nuclear program. Yet it is Israel's national security, perhaps more than anyone else's, that will be affected. A good deal - permanently rolling back Iran's nuclear capacity, as was done in Libya - is no longer possible. The framework agreed in April in effect legitimizes Iran as a nuclear-threshold state. Unfortunately, U.S. deterrence has been badly eroded of late, both due to its reluctance to project power in the region, and its overeager approach to negotiating with Iran. Doubts about U.S. deterrence are only reinforced by the administration's insistence that there is a binary choice between a deal soon and war - a self-defeating assertion which implies that it is the White House, rather than Tehran, that is most likely to be deterred from pursuing its objectives by the prospect of war. Even as negotiations were underway, Israelis have watched Ayatollah Khamenei tweet nine "key questions about the elimination of Israel" (the third was: what is the proper way of eliminating Israel?). If the U.S. and its partners do not stand firm in the coming days and years, Israelis feel they may be left alone to face the ayatollahs - enemies who might one day wield the ultimate weapon. Brig.-Gen. (res.) Michael Herzog, a former chief of staff to Israel's minister of defense, is a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

2015-07-01 00:00:00

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