Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Should Israel Join NATO?

 
I can hear people squawking about this now, but what the hey. It’s a genius idea from the Heritage Foundation if only NATO has the proper anatomy to carry it off. Or maybe we could just shoot it up with testosterone long enough to get things going:

     On the surface, Iran appears to have bested the international community in its pursuit of nuclear weapons. As former Secretary of State Colin Powell has observed, after two years of fruitless negotiation, the international community is no closer to halting Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons… Instead, the great powers endlessly debate where and when a diplomatic showdown will take place while Iran resumes its nuclear research. In essence, the world is fiddling while Rome burns. The West has one ace left to play before a final showdown looms. Extending NATO membership to Israel could convince Iran’s Mullahs that developing a nuclear capability is not in their interest.
[…]
endless talks between the EU-3 (France, Britain, and Germany) and Tehran are not solving the problem and will not disarm the Iranian regime. Behind the scenes of the negotiations, many in continental Europe secretly wish that the U.S. would simply accept the possibility of an Islamic Republic of Iran with a nuclear arsenal. They ignore, however, the harsh reality of such a foolhardy policy. The fallout from inaction would be disastrous. An arms race in the region would ensue, with Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt all vying to develop their own nuclear weapons. Iran would become increasingly vociferous in its threats against Israel and could actively arm the myriad terrorist groups that depend upon Tehran’s protection. Israel would not play along with this game of Russian roulette. The world would shortly face a major regional conflict, possibly involving the use of nuclear weapons.
There is a way out of the present diplomatic morass that will signal to the Mullahs in Tehran that the West is serious about reining in their nuclear ambitions, but without allowing them to destabilize the Middle East. The United States should propose the quick admission of Israel into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as a full and equal member.
Israel meets NATO qualifications: it is a democracy, has a free market economy, and is able to contribute to the common defense. In fact, unlike many new NATO members, it would be a net addition to the alliance, having lift and logistics ability, a second-to-none officer corps, and a first-rate military capable of all aspects of war-fighting. Israel spends nearly 10 percent of its GDP on defense and has active armed forces numbering 167,000 men and women, with 358,000 in reserve. It possesses up to 200 nuclear warheads, as well as a well-equipped Air Force and Navy.
Israel’s intelligence capabilities have been a vital asset in prosecuting the Global War on Terror, as few understand the conflict so well. Like the U.S. and Great Britain, history has forced Israel into being a genuine warrior nation. Its accession to NATO could only enhance the alliance’s capabilities.
More importantly, Israeli accession to NATO would explicitly extend the Western alliance’s nuclear deterrent to cover Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Now it will be Tehran, and not the rest of the world, that has a proliferation problem. Any nuclear or conventional attack on Israel, be it direct or through proxies such as Hezbollah or other terrorist groups, would be met by a cataclysmic response from the West that would make the Battle of Omdurman look like a stroll in the park…Israel’s accession would leave the Mullahs with no illusions about the West’s determination to respond to Iran’s strategic threat to the region.
Please read the whole essay by John Hulsman and Nile Gardner, here at The Heritage Foundation . This would “confound” the Iranians and let the EU3 get a little rest from their Sisyphean labors.

Now, may we see a show of hands here?

5 comments:

El Jefe Maximo said...

Not an answer...NATO is a geographic expression now, and effectively moribund if there is serious heavy lifting to be done. Probably we should do this, but it's effectively a fig-leaf, even if it was politically obtainable.

A military guarantee by the United States, Great Britain and anybody else we could find of Israel's territorial integrity and security from WMD attack within its 1967 borders or such defensible borders as might be legally acceptable to Israeli and the military guarantors, would probably be better. I would try to work the NATO angle, but I wouldn't expect much.

Trouble with this idea, besides the paper nature of NATO, is that it doesn't really effectively address the root causes. A NATO or other military guarantee probably will not deter. We would have to convince the Iranians that NATO or other guarantors would REALLY respond with WMD's or overwhelming force if Mad Jad in Tehran really tried to carry out his threats. Is an Iranian regime bent on flexing its muscles and being the superpower of the middle east REALLY gonna think we'll defend Israel, risk getting nuked for Israel, when we wouldn't stop Iran from going nuclear anyway ? Close question ?

This idea (which will probably be tried) in either the NATO or US/UK form -- looks too much like the British guarantee to Poland in 1939. It SHOULD have deterred, and WOULD have deterred a rational actor. But Hitler's calculus was different...

UnemployedCapitalist said...

Jefe - "Root Cause"? That has become my automatic meeting-air-horn-blowing trigger word(s). Anytime someone says "root-cause" the air-horn goes off. It replaced "paradigm" - no one has the cajones to say that one anymore.... Too many consultants can really ruin meetings....

Now, as to NATO - Jefe I tend to agree with the political side of your argument. Without the will to act, it becomes a factor that would further weaken NATO. But,is it better than silence? An emboldened Iran is certainly a reason to speak out with more than diplo-speak.

As our detractors often say - "we are acting like a hegemonic power". My belief is that we are a hegemonic power - and not acting like one. This may be more dangerous. It may be time to act like what we are.

El Jefe Maximo said...

Oops...sorry to inadvertantly trip the airhorns. Forgot what the liberals have done with that useful little phrase "root cause."

The "root cause" for purposes of my little argument, may be operationally defined as a wacko government on the verge of possessing nukes. My "getting at the root causes" would constitute taking out this government, and/or by any means available, fair, foul, military or not, before said nukes became available.

I don't think deterrence is going to work with this bunch. Deterrence requires knowing where the edge is, the location of the line that cannot be crossed. I think that like Hitler, and unlike Stalin, Mad Jad would get that one wrong. He's too dangerous to be allowed to live except in a padded cell.

UnemployedCapitalist said...

No offense taken, just have to replace the stupid horn all the time...

It will be hard to put the knowledge of the physics, mechanics and geometry of a big one back in the hat. Which leaves 3 options for the west:


1. Let them have it.
2. Let them have it w/Eco.embargo.
3. Go to War to stop it.

Yes, there are permutations of these 3 options, but that is what they are - permutations. The first two are generally thought of as appeasement. The last one, well, the last one is politically dangerous, though probably the only sure way to control the spread of nuclear technology in the Islamic world. Not all of the Islamic world is extremist, but still after reading the Koran, it's hard to believe that they won't use a bomb to further their goals. Taqiyah until they are ready to move, but move they will.

While certainly no expert on the Koran, I don't doubt for a second that the Middle Easterners are a proud people and want to reclaim their "lost" honor. Lost honor that defines them in this world - in their eyes.

Xiaoding said...

The world is in a tizzy over not much.

First, IMO, the Iraninans have had nukes for at least two years now. So why all the yelling now?

A nuclear armed Iran is a gift from God for the United States! What a bogey man. Perfect! It's Osama on steroids!!

I think all the yelling now is caused by internal political considerations within Iran. The mullahs put in this hardliner guy, see, to show all the unhappy Iranians that they should be unhappy in private. All the blustering is meant for internal coinsumption...at least it was supposed to be. But this guy is a whack job, and now no one is more afraid now than the mullahs themselves. This is not good for business.

Look for whack job to be dead within six months, if not six hours.

Iranian nukes are heavy, they can't be lifted far, and their missles blow. Still, we should assure Israel, and inform the Iranian military, that Israel is to be the judge of their own safety, and if they feel they must act, we will support them all the way. Other than that, go catch a movie, nothing to see here.

xiaoding