Op-Ed: Ancient Civilizations, Modern Clash
Michael ShkolnikThe writer is currently pursuing his graduate degree at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, Israel in Counter-Terrorism and Homeland Security Studies.
It took Hitler six years to kill six million Jews, but all Ahmadinejad needs is six seconds to accomplish the same task. All he needs is a few atomic bombs to “wipe Israel off the map” in a “war of destiny,” as he so eloquently reiterates. The difference is that Nazi Germany started the Second World War and then began pursuing the atomic bomb, whereas the Islamic Republic has learned from history and will start the Third World War after its acquisition of nuclear weapons. And on that day “the strategy of the West will hit a dead end, since the use of a single atomic bomb has the power to destroy Israel completely, while it will only cause partial damage to the Islamic world.”
If these are the calculations of the ‘liberal reformer’ ex-President Rafsanjani, what do the ‘hardliners’ bring to the table? Whereas the 1940’s witnessed the slaughter of a defenseless people, the resurrection of Israel led to a
According to the Iranian paradigm, it is entirely rational to annihilate Israel.
Jewish state that now possesses the option to defend itself from her enemies. The Jews must prevent this Holocaust denying regime the means to achieve the second.
The debate surrounding Iranian rationality is irrelevant; the mutually assured destruction characterizing the cold war is absent when dealing with a nation that espouses self-sacrifice, willing to lose a considerable portion of its population for the destruction of the “Zionist entity”. Israel’s military doctrine of pre-emption and maintaining qualitative superiority dictates that action must be taken.
Its infamous air force holds the record for being the only one in world history to have destroyed two different nations’ nuclear programs. The 1981 Osirak surgical strike that neutralized Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor received international condemnation. However, in retrospect even the United States acknowledges that the First Gulf War would never have been successful had Hussein been allowed to acquire atomic weapons. What was initially perceived to have been a risky, suicidal mission turned into the most effective surgical strike in military history.
The Israeli mentality is further exemplified by the recent 2007 strike of a Syrian nuclear facility, which set their program back while exposing the North Korean connection to WMD proliferation. China and Russia possess immense economic interests in Iran and will continue to thwart powerful sanctions, while an attack will definitely send shockwaves throughout the global economy. However, any diplomatic setback or economic sanctions imposed on Israel are outweighed by the invaluable benefit of maintaining the vital status quo that denies the enemy such capabilities.
It is becoming increasingly apparent that the United States will not take military action, considering the Obama administration’s ideology in context of ongoing American involvement in two wars. Former US ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, recently stated Israel’s only options: “If Israel is going to use force, it needs to do it sooner rather than later.”
Living with a nuclear Iran is an approaching reality, and Israel must evaluate if allowing the erosion of regional dominance outweighs the immensely complex consequences. In that scenario, it would be logically plausible that Iran will transfer such capabilities to its terrorist proxies that are situated directly in Israel's backyard. Even though some may attribute the regime's espoused goal of destroying the ‘Zionist entity’ as mere rhetoric, their threats
The two middle-eastern civilizations that avoided extinction from ancient times are in a confrontation.
must be taken seriously.
The Iranian pursuit of nuclear weapons is completely rational, threatened by a surrounding American presence and a perceived Israeli nuclear program. According to the Iranian paradigm, it is entirely rational to annihilate Israel in order to attain regional hegemony and take the first crucial step in the eventual establishment of the Caliphate.
Iran has learned from history and spread its nuclear program across its enormous country, constructing vital sites deep underground. Striking these facilities is exponentially more difficult than eliminating a single structure situated above the ground, as was the case with Iraq and Syria. Israel will likely succeed in only temporarily delaying the nuclear program, if the strikes are conducted effectively.
Even if the perceived costs outweigh the benefits, a little irrationality is in order. Western civilization’s concept of utility is irrelevant in a hostile region where the language of force is not only respected, but is the norm. Dependence on American extended deterrence is worthless when the Jewish state is already burning. Israel must strike Iran immediately: it must demonstrate that it is better worth dying while trying than going down like a Freier (helpless dupe).
It seems as if the two middle-eastern civilizations that avoided extinction from ancient times are in a confrontation of devastatingly modern proportions. The Israelites have faced existential threats throughout its history; question is, will they allow the Persian Empire obtain the genocidal means to destroy the Third Temple?