President Barack Obama–today launching a special nuclear security summit in Washington–finally acknowledges that Iranian threats to annihilate Israel are serious. Still, Obama fails to understand that applying so-called economic sanctions to Iran will be ineffectual. Somehow, despite very good reasons to the contrary, the president is now insisting that Israel learn to “live” with a nuclear Iran.
Obama confidently assumes that Tehran could be dealt with using the normally-compelling dynamics of nuclear deterrence. The problem with such threat-based optimism, however, is the always-underlying presumption of enemy rationality. Without rationality, deterrence will fail.
No system of nuclear deterrence can operate unless all of the involved countries value their own physical survival more highly than anything else. Significantly, Tehran’s new nuclear status could coincide with an unshakable leadership belief in the Shi’ite apocalypse. Here, Israel would face not only more Palestinian suicide-bombers (President Obama’s recycled Road Map toward a “Two-State Solution” will only encourage Palestinian terrorism), but also a “suicide state
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