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On April 22, 2012, The Washington Post published an Op-Ed named "Nuclear weapon reductions must be part of strategic analysis," by Henry A. Kissinger and Brent Scowcroft. Henry A. Kissinger was secretary of state from 1973 to 1977 and national security adviser from 1969 to 1975. Brent Scowcroft was national security adviser from 1975 to 1977 and 1989 to 1993. The article analyzed the USA nuclear weapons strategy from a viewpoint that matches President Obama’s position: “Regardless of one’s vision of the ultimate future of nuclear weapons, the overarching goal of contemporary U.S. nuclear policy must be to ensure that nuclear weapons are never used.” The article endorsed the new START treaty between the USA and Russia: “Combined with reductions in the U.S. defense budget, this will bring the number of nuclear weapons in the United States to the lowest overall level since the 1950s. The Obama administration is said to be considering negotiations for a new round of nuclear reductions to bring about ceilings as low as 300 warheads.” Kissinger explicitly says in the article that he favors the elimination of nuclear weapons, “albeit with the proviso that a series of verifiable intermediate steps that maintain stability precede such an end point and that every stage of the process be fully transparent and verifiable.” Yet, not everything is rosy in Kissinger’s vision of the future.

Brent Scowcroft

Brent Scowcroft

Henry A. Kissinger

Henry A. Kissinger

The article defined eight key facts that should govern such a disarmament policy. One of them discloses the extent of the self-deceptive strategic analyses prepared by the top level of the American establishment: “Fifth, the global nonproliferation regime has been weakened to a point where some of the proliferating countries are reported to have arsenals of more than 100 weapons. And these arsenals are growing. At what lower U.S. levels could these arsenals constitute a strategic threat?... Does this prospect open up the risk of hostile alliances between countries whose forces individually are not adequate to challenge strategic stability but that combined might overthrow the nuclear equation?” The point shows that the authors do not comprehend the difference between the nuclear weapon and the delivery systems used to bring it to the target. Kissinger and Scowcroft claim that 100 nuclear weapons is the magic number determining if the owner of these weapons is a threat to the USA or not; this is nonsense. Depending on their exact nature and form of use, ten nuclear weapons could probably bring down the only nation on earth to ever have used nuclear weapons against a civilian population. Mr. Kissinger, let me remind you that in 1945 two American nuclear bombs delivered with exactitude defeated mighty Japan. The large number of nuclear weapons developed by the USA and the USSR were intended to ensure that at least the necessary number of them would reach their target if a first nuclear strike destroyed much of the country’s nuclear arsenal. Thus, their analysis is basically flawed; in Six Million Ships I described a feasible scenario to increase such probabilities without deploying hundreds of nuclear missiles. Yet, despite this fundamental flaw in the article, it is a useful reading because it shows the inner workings of the American establishment. Especially so since it matches President Obama’s statements on nuclear issues; it is safe to assume it accurately portrays America’s current nuclear policies. Of course, this position can be seen as highly cynical; after all the modern nuclear weapons produced by America are more reliable and precise that early models, thus they need less of them.

The next point made in that article is crucial for understanding the developing conflict between the USA and Israel on nuclear issues: “Sixth, this suggests that, below a level yet to be established, nuclear reductions cannot be confined to Russia and the United States. As the countries with the two largest nuclear arsenals, Russia and the United States have a special responsibility. But other countries need to be brought into the discussion when substantial reductions from existing START levels are on the international agenda.” In other words, the USA will probably expect Israel to make concessions on its nuclear capabilities should the topic be brought to open international consideration. This is Netanyahu’s nightmare and one of the reasons for his rushing to a wide coalition government by adding Kadima to his legions (see Shaul Mofaz Walks to Canossa), so that he would be able to confront the upcoming international crisis without opposition at home. By the end of this year, Israel may be coerced into disclosing its nuclear capabilities and face international sanctions.

Some reports claim that Israel has up to 200 nuclear bombs and missiles; however, most analysts cite between 50 and 100 nuclear weapons. According to a secret document of the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency, which was drawn up at the end of the Bill Clinton administration and leaked during the period of the George W. Bush administration, in 1999, Israel had between 60 and 80 nuclear warheads. This places Israel in the same arsenal order of magnitude as France, India, Pakistan and China. This is enough to destroy the world as we know it, and clearly puts Israel on the list of countries to be subjected to reductions in their arsenal as defined by Kissinger and Scowcroft. It is difficult to see President Obama scrapping his worldwide nuclear disarmament policy for the sake of Israel.

2010 was a key year in the history of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The New START treaty between the USA and the Russian Federation was signed on April 8, in Prague. Then, Iran hosted its own conference, the International Conference on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, on April 17–18. The following month, the 2010 Review Conference for the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (also referred to as the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit) was held at United Nations headquarters in New York. It was the largest gathering of heads of state called by a United States President since the 1945 United Nations Conference on International Organization. Don’t bother to check the list; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wasn’t there despite Israel being a close ally of the USA. Netanyahu zigzagged; he had announced being the first Israeli leader to attend the Nuclear Security Summit, however, days before it, he withdrawn from it claiming that Egypt and Turkey intended to raise the issue of Israel’s atomic arsenal at the meeting. Netanyahu’s expectations proved correct; Egypt proposed that the 2010 Nonproliferation Treaty Conference back a plan calling for the start of negotiations in 2011 on a Mideast free of nuclear arms. Here, Obama zigzagged, supporting Israel. President Obama successfully delayed the convening of the Middle East conference until the end of 2012, after the upcoming presidential elections in the USA.

Since his election, President Obama has became persona non grata in the eyes of the Israeli administration; two main issues contribute to that. One is the controversial American attitude towards Israeli nuclear program in recent years. Beyond limitations on workers of Negev Nuclear Research Center in Dimona and the center itself, President Obama has postponed a Middle East conference on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, while Israel was expecting its complete cancellation (see Hiroshima, Tel Aviv: The December 2012 NPT Conference for a review of the issue). Then, President Obama thwarted Israel’s war on Iran, at least until the presidential elections of November 2012. In exchange Israel received generous funding for its Iron Dome offensive anti-missiles system, but that is not good enough. Yet, Ehud Barak is unlikely to forgive Obama for this brutish intervention on his personal profits (see USA Thwarts Israeli Attack on Iran). Thus, Israel supports the soon-to-be GOP candidate Mitt Romney (see Obama’s End? Israel Supports Romney). In early May, Romney is still not the formal candidate to confront Obama, and it is already clear Obama has much more money to spend in the campaign that Romney will probably ever have. The possibility that President Obama will win a second term is real.

The main chance for Netanyahu to reach the spring of 2013 with all his nuclear toys in place is by forcing a war with Iran that will redraw the Middle East’s map. Since 2009, I have been claiming Israel would not directly attack Iran, unless in the fashion described in Astonishing Israeli Attack on Iran. Israel is simply unable to perform a conventional attack on such a large and far away target. Instead, Israel tries to Wag the Dog, an attack in which the “tail” (Israel) is attempting to wag the “dog” (USA) into attacking Iran, as some say was done in the Iraq War (see Wag the Dog). The fact is also that the USA would find such an attack very difficult. Iran is neither Iraq nor Afghanistan. Instead of sacrificing two or three million American young men, the American president may find himself saying “no!” to Benjamin Netanyahu. Will Netanyahu nuke Obama in order to solve this issue? This is an unlikely scenario due to its consequences, even if Pakistan or Iran were to be falsely blamed for such an event. If unable to Wag the President, Israel may decide to take him out, as claimed in Yitzhak Obama; already in January 2012, Israel issued a thinly veiled death threat against the President of the USA. President Obama may win the elections, only to find himself fighting a new Cold War against a nuclear armed Israel, an opponent that lacks even the Russians’ minimal honorability. Mr. Obama, you'd better watch your back!

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