Three nuclear subs and an Israeli Strangelove


Three Israeli nuclear-armed submarines are headed for the Persian Gulf to be stationed there permanently and “potentially land Mossad agents in the region.”

Amid speculations about Israel’s hostile future policies against Iran, a report says Israel is to deploy three submarines equipped with nuclear cruise missiles in the Persian Gulf.

Snip –

The Sunday Times quoted a flotilla officer as saying that the vessels were sent to carry out intelligence gathering missions and potentially land Mossad agents in the region.

Talking about the prospect of a possible military attack against Iran, a navy officer said, “The 1,500 km range of the submarines’ cruise missiles can reach any target in Iran.”

The revelation came after earlier this week, Iranian naval forces detected a US nuclear-armed submarine in the Strait of Hormuz.

Not that they’d do anything crazy.

But it is an interesting development given this recently published paper by Harvard professor and Israeli Strangelove, Chuck Freilich.

Before getting to the pit of Freilich’s proposal, enjoy the fruity fragrance of this peach

Iran must take into account that Israel is widely considered by the international community to be a nuclear power and, if so, that a nuclear crisis between the two countries could lead to a “Tehran for Tel Aviv” type exchange, or an even broader one. While a precise assessment of Iran’s cost-benefit analysis is unknowable, in other words, at what point the divine goal of destroying Israel ceases to be worthwhile even for its millennial leaders, Iran does appear to be a rational player and thus deterrable. This contention could be very wrong: when God enters the picture a nation’s strategic calculus may change, and there is no doubt that Iran’s policies towards the US and especially Israel are heavily affected by theology and emotion. The price of being wrong may be no less than national existence.

Iran only looks rational, but their divine aspirations make them emotionally unstable, and we secular humanists can never forget that dangerous fact.  

So, let’s get down to business, shall we?

Should a nuclear device be detonated in Israel, we’re not going to worry about retaliating incontinently against just anybody: We’ll just retaliate devastatingly!  

Potential perpetrators of nuclear terrorism must be convinced that the US and Israel will retaliate devastatingly. For Israel, this means a “shoot first, no questions asked” policy. Both those clearly responsible for an attack (if any) and those reasonably suspected of involvement must be held accountable.55 There will be no room for diplomacy, and Israel must respond with all capabilities at its disposal, without waiting for the results of nuclear forensics. [italics Freilich, bold mine]

If we have so much as an inkling that you are playing with matches, or even fantasized about playing with matches, we must annihilate you.  And unless Iran and Al Qaeda can prove to us that they have moved to the moon, they get it first.

In the event of a declared nuclear terrorist capability, a stated intention to acquire one, or an advanced suspected one, the known or suspected perpetrator and host country should be attacked with overwhelming and if necessary devastating force, in the attempt to prevent the threat’s materialization. As things stand today, and unless virtually irrefutable and immediate evidence exists to the contrary, Israel should adopt a declared retaliatory policy which holds Iran and/or al-Qaeda responsible for any nuclear attack, regardless of who may or may not have carried it out.

When I say annihilate, I mean the entire Caliphate, down to the last pistachio, only I didn’t just say that, for “diplomatic” reasons.

If the source of a terrorist nuclear attack against Israel is unknown, or if it is known to originate with al-Qaeda or Iran, Israel should make it clear that its response will be unlimited and include not just major population centers, but all sites of value, including those of major symbolic importance for the Muslim world. A declaratory policy such as this might be highly inflammatory and further exacerbate the religious dimension of the US and Israeli confrontations with the Muslim world. This policy should therefore not be announced officially, as part of Israel’s declared retaliatory posture, but should be made “known,” much as the international community “knows” that Israel has nuclear weapons, whether they do or do not in fact exist. The policy can be “leaked” in a variety of manners.

Obviously, only Israelis can get away with such a ghastly nuclear posture, because it is truly bonkers.  It’s like Nixon pretending to be crazy in Cambodia, except we only think we’re pretending.

As a global power, the US presumably cannot adopt an indiscriminate “no questions asked” policy, such as recommended above, and would be hard pressed to support an Israeli policy of this sort should the need arise. For the US, especially in the case of an attack on a foreign nation, forensics will be crucial. At the same time, American determination to act decisively to prevent the emergence of a nuclear terrorist threat and to retaliate with devastating force against those responsible, must be explicit and beyond question. American declaratory policy should be strengthened in a manner designed to eliminate the doubts in the region regarding President Obama’s determination and resolve as a leader.

Once a threat exists, or is thought to exist (imagination’s silly), or you so much as look at us funny, we are going to lose it!  Proportionality…never mind about that.

In the event of an advanced program, especially if development is being conducted in a remote location (such as Afghanistan or Iran), preventative measures will have to be similar to those adopted in the event of an already extant capability, as follows.

Once an operational nuclear terrorist capability exists, or is thought to exist, the window of opportunity for action is severely attenuated, though it may be partly eased by an assessment of when and how the capability is to be used. Preventative efforts will have to be of an “at all costs” nature, in which any and all capabilities will be brought to bear to ensure complete success. There will likely be no second chance and the measures adopted must be such that they guarantee the threat’s complete elimination. While a limited, targeted, and unilateral Israeli operation might be possible in the case of a capability still in development, the prospects for this are much lower in the case of an operational capability. Given the need for immediate and guaranteed success, a combined US-Israeli operation, or even a purely American one might be necessary, assuming the existence of unique American capabilities in this area.

In other words, we’re gonna let ’em fly, whenever, wherever, and whyever we feel like it.

See also:

Sane person tries to take crazy person seriously

Israeli Strangelove now at Harvard calmly lays out ‘Armageddon scenario’

How To Deter Nuclear Terrorism



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  1. Not a single mention of “you know what.”

    • banger on June 7, 2010 at 21:42

    … and this is what has policy people in Washington worried. Such a posture is not good for business. My guess is Wall Street will have to step in and convince the israelis to be nice–we’ll see if even they have pull–I doubt it though.

    Strange, Iran has acted very rationally and carefully in all matters and been very cooperative with U.S. interests in the region. It has just talked tough but acted rationally. There is no evidence that I’ve seen other than U.S. and Israeli assertions that Iran is a threat to anyone. And why should they be. They are surrounded by U.S. military bases and are in a region where Israel is constantly rattling sabers.

    My guess on all this is that Israel’s ultimate goal is to scare the U.S. into formally accepting its policy of Greater Israel and ethnic cleansing of the Territories. That is the goal of the current government and it explains their belligerence. They can’t mean what they say because it puts their people too much at risk. Just as I don’t believe Iranian rhetoric, I don’t believe Israeli rhetoric–there’s no advantage for them, unless it is religious fanaticism, fueled perhaps by a contingent of religious crazies in U.S. intelligence.

    If I was an Israeli leader I would do just as they are doing. Gradually annex the West Bank and make conditions in Gaza so bad they have no alternative but rebel and thereby keep tensions strong which allows the Israeli right to stay in power milking the fear of the domestic population. The U.S. is doing exactly the same thing in Afghanistan.

    I knew this was going to happen when Clinton refused to pressure Israel on the settlement issue and thus the Oslo process was crucified without any possible resurrection. The current talk of peace negotiations is utter garbage without a single shred of hope. Israel is in a position to accept only surrender. They are the dominant military power in the region (due to their nuclear arms) and will get their way no matter what the Turket or any other power says. If they let the world know they are willing to use their nuclear weapons the “world” will give them what they want–guaranteed.

  2. on the nuke Iran thing.

    • Edger on June 8, 2010 at 22:53

    Mammothrept-ically Assured Dementia

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