A great analysis by John Bolton
What If Israel Strikes Iran?
The mullahs would retaliate. But things would be much worse if they had the bomb.
By JOHN R. BOLTON
Whatever the outcome of Iran’s presidential election tomorrow, negotiations will not soon — if ever — put an end to its nuclear threat. And given Iran’s determination to achieve deliverable nuclear weapons, speculation about a possible Israeli attack on its nuclear program will not only persist but grow.
So what would such an attack look like? Obviously, Israel would need to consider many factors — such as its timing and scope, Iran’s increasing air defenses, the dispersion and hardening of its nuclear facilities, the potential international political costs, and Iran’s "unpredictability." While not as menacingly irrational as North Korea, Iran’s politico-military logic hardly compares to our NATO allies. Central to any Israeli decision is Iran’s possible response.
Israel’s alternative is that Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs reach fruition, leaving its very existence at the whim of its staunchest adversary. Israel has not previously accepted such risks. It destroyed Iraq’s Osirak reactor in 1981 and a Syrian reactor being built by North Koreans in 2007. One major new element in Israel’s calculus is the Obama administration’s growing distance (especially in contrast to its predecessor).
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