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Thesis & Antithesis

A critical perspective on energy, international politics & current affairs

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Location: Washington, D.C.

greekdefaultwatch@gmail.com Natural gas consultant by day, blogger on the Greek economy by night. Trained as an economist and political scientist. I believe in common sense and in data, and my aim is to offer insight written in language that is clear and convincing.

05 February 2006

Israel in NATO?

The Wall Street Journal writes that to respond to Iran’s belligerence, the West should begin accession talks about bringing Israel into NATO. Here is part of the Journal’s thinking:

“Israel’s NATO membership has been mooted before, but the suggestion is especially compelling as a response to the Iranian nuclear threat. Iran’s apocalyptic President Ahmadinejad has called for Israel to be ‘wiped off the map,’ and influential former President Hashemi Rafsanjani has said an Islamic bomb ‘would not leave anything in Israel but the same thing would just produce damages in the Muslim world.’

Those are unprecedented threats, which are all the more likely to be carried out if the mullahs think that the only retaliation would come from Israel itself. It may be that the mad mullahs aren’t deterrable, since they claim to welcome mass martyrdom. But if Israel were part of NATO, the saner elements in Tehran would at least have to worry about the collective response of the West. Only last week President Bush promised that the U.S. would come to Israel’s defense against Iran, but the NATO proposal has the additional virtue of forcing Europe to take a firmer stand against an Iranian bomb.”

I hate to say this but this is silly. America’s interests in defending Israel remain the same, NATO membership or no NATO membership; as for the Europeans, I would hate for their skepticism and hesitation in defending Israel to have such an obvious manifestation. The willingness to risk war emerges from a country’s conception of its national interest, not from a piece of paper. Who in Europe would risk war to defend the Jewish homeland? I am not sure anyone wants to hear the answer to that question.

References:
“NATO for Israel,” Wall Street Journal, 6 Feb 06

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