The New York Times Magazine, January 29, 2012, cover-story by Ronen Bergman entitled “Will Israel Attack Iran?” was little short of an official communiqué from the Israeli government to the American people of its intention to attack Iran’s nuclear sites in 2012. Bergman, an Israeli journalist, interviewed “many senior Israeli leaders and chiefs of the military and the intelligence” including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
At the outset of Bergman’s interview with the Defense Minister, Barak specified three sufficient conditions which had to be satisfied in order to justify an attack on Iran. These included:
- Israel’s ability to cause severe damage to Iran’s nuclear sites and withstand a counterattack by Iran.
- Support from the international community, particularly from the United States, for carrying out such an attack.
- Exhaustion of all other possibilities for the containment of Iran’s nuclear threat.
The entire 9-page article was devoted to the presentation of evidence in support of the efficacy, international legitimacy, and necessity of an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear sites. Given that the three sufficiency conditions for attack have all been satisfied, it was hardly surprising that Bergman concluded his piece by saying, “I have come to believe that Israel will indeed strike Iran in 2012.”
The fact that such a provocative article, based on interviews with high-ranking Israeli officials, with such terrifying implications, appeared as the cover-page article of The New York Times Magazine should not be taken lightly by anyone. Is there any reason to believe that its intended purpose was anything other than to send a very direct message to the people of the United States from Tel Aviv? “Prepare for war!”
After Israel takes out the nuclear sites, then what?
Will Iran retaliate by closing down the Strait of Hormuz and possibly the oil production in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, or Iraq?
Will NATO respond by annihilating Tehran?
For how long will China and Russia pretend that this is not a blatant threat to their national security? How will they respond – militarily, economically, or both?
What will be the impact on the global economy?
President Obama is fond of saying “All options are on the table.” What options does he have in mind?
Are these same options on the table for China and Russia? Which options will they choose?
What’s the endgame?
Thomas H. Naylor
January 28, 2012
Founder of the Second Vermont Republic and Professor Emeritus of Economics at Duke University; co-author of Affluenza, Downsizing the USA, and The Search for Meaning.