Israeli decision-makers have been in a state of strategic paralysis, incapable of recognising the new chessboard and the necessary adjustments they need to make. They have feared recognising publicly that Iran is a rational actor and that even a nuclear Iran wouldn't be an existential threat to the Jewish state, out of fear that such admissions would take pressure off of Washington to act firmly against Iran -- the same argument Peres and Rabin used in the mid-1990s.
Politically, this is understandable. No Israeli leader wishes to be the one to declare to the Israeli public that a critical step in the strategic rivalry with Iran has been lost, even though it was never really winnable.
But some past politicians and decision-makers have started to speak up, arguably to end the strategic paralysis and cut Israel's losses. Shlomo Ben-Ami, Israel's former foreign minister, publicly argues that a U.S.-Iran dialogue could benefit Israel. Ephraim Halevi, the former head of the Mossad, echoed in the Washington Post what he told this analyst last year -- Iran is rational, it is not suicidal, it can be deterred, Israel can handle even a nuclear Iran and a dialogue is now needed between the Jewish State and the Islamic Republic.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Trita Parsi on the NIE & Israel