Skip to main content

Just caught this piece on Talking Points Memo:

Ehud Barak, former prime minister of Israel, current defense minister, says this:

"I am not among those who believe Iran is an existential issue for Israel."

The claim at TPM, not reproduced in the above Reuters' link, is that Netanyahu has grudgingly agreed with Barak.

Uh, folks, this seems to be huge. The great dream of neocons like Cheney, Bolton, and others to bomb the shit out of Iran would appear to have been devastated.  Put this together with the announcement about the new approach to missile defense against Iran yesterday, and you have another terrific example of Obama making a big, big difference.

First, the statement by Barak is the closest you will ever get to an acknowledgment that Israel possesses a sizable nuclear arsenal.  Iran does not pose an existential threat if an attack by Iran will lead to a massive counterattack by Israel that will annihilate Iran.  Barak's statement is an implicit acknowledgment that mutually assured destruction is working in the middle east, much as it did to keep the peace during the cold war.  

I consider that to be huge.  That elephant in the room, if not called out by name, has at least received a head nod.

Second, if it is true as TPM suggests that Bibi is going along with this, then the worst fears of Israeli adventurism against Iran are basically gone.  The saber rattling we lived with during the last two years of the Bush administration are suddenly vanished.  

So why now?  After all these worries about either a US attack on Iran or an Israeli attack on Iran, why now does Barak acknowledge the obvious - that Iran does not pose an existential threat?  On the very day that Obama announces a new approach to missile defense against Iran?

Well, the realists seem to be triumphing over the neocons that held all the sway with Cheney and W, and I think Barak is being forced to acknowledge that.  

Realism 1:  a few Iranian weapons with at most medium range missile delivery capability do not really worry a nuclear armed Israel with hundreds of nukes and likely good delivery systems.  

Realism 2:
As enunciated brilliantly by Rachel Maddow and guest Joseph Cirincione last night on the Maddow show, the Bush system that was being built would put a handful of missiles that would not work against a long ranged threat to Iran that does not exist, and would do so at a price tag of something like $5 billion.  The proposed change, endorsed by Robert Gates and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, would cost half as much and put hundreds of anti-ballistic missiles up close to medium range Iranian missiles in their boost phase, where there is actually some chance of destroying them.  

(I very much like Rachel's West Wing clip here and the point in it that long range missile defense has NEVER worked and is a fools game and money pit.)

I cannot believe that in some backchannels realism 1 and realism 2 are linked.  And of course, master realists Obama and Gates have triumphed over the idiocy of Cheney, Bolton, et al.  

That will not stop the RWNJs and NCNJs (neocon nut jobs) from throwing out nonsense like this (directed at me after a tweet about this news):

Funny, you, Chavez and the Russians agree on Missile Defense. Maybe Bin Laden will endorse it too to complete the team.

Sic transit gloria mundi.


This NY Times link contains the key quote from Netanyahu - that he sees "eye to eye" with Barak.


Full text of Netanyahu response to Barak from NYT piece linked above -

Barak's comments were excerpted in Yedioth Thursday and drew a supportive, if more cautious, response from Netanyahu.

"I know that we see eye to eye on this challenge and on this danger. It is certainly a very great danger," he told Israel's Channel Two television.

"But I think that what the Defence minister wanted to say, something that I believe, is that the State of Israel will be able to defend itself in any situation," Netanyahu said.

"I can say to you that we must make a great effort, and are making a great effort, to persuade the international community that this problem is not just our problem."

Clearly Netanyahu's remarks are more ambiguous, but consistent with the notion that Iran does not propose an existential threat.  

Also, this may have to do with the announcement:

The missile defense to be deployed against Iran is at least in part Israeli made.  I sense some backroom dealing here.

Update 3: OK, this is some further interesting interpretation directed by a conservative on twitter.  Credit where credit is due:

The main point is that Barak flips around as often as a fish on a hot sidewalk according to the article, but is consistent in perhaps wanting to stick a thumb in Bibi's eye.  So let's see how it shakes out.

Originally posted to dlcox1958 on Fri Sep 18, 2009 at 11:13 AM PDT.


Israel acknowledges Iran not existential threat is

40%25 votes
37%23 votes
16%10 votes
4%3 votes

| 61 votes | Vote | Results

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site