On GPS this week, will Israel strike Iran? I speak to an Israeli journalist with access to the highest echelons of power: Ronen Bergman of Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel's top-selling daily.
Also, looking ahead to Super Tuesday: TIME's Joe Klein, Katrina vanden Heuvel of The Nation, Chrystia Freeland, and Reihan Salam weigh in on the GOP candidates.
Also on GPS, where will the next financial crash come from? Hint: it's not Europe, and it's not the U.S.
All that and much more. Here are three excerpts from Ronen Bergman:
All options on the table - except one
Ronen Bergman: The minister of Defense, Barak, told me - and he is writing the Israeli doctrine when it comesto a possible Israeli strike on Iran - that all options are on the table, indeed, he says. But from our point of view, there is one option that is not on the table. This is the C option, containment. Israel, he said, will never contain a nuclear Iran. There is no possibility that we are going to accept such a country holding such a weapon.
Will Israel attack Iran?
Ronen Bergman: After speaking with many of the Israeli leaders and chiefs of the intelligence and the military, I have come to the conclusion that there is a strong likelihood that Israel will strike Iran during 2012 because Iran is getting too close to what was coined by minister of defense, Ehud Barak, as the "zone of immunity". This is the specific point on the time line, after which Iran's nuclear sites are going to become immune to an Israeli strike.
According to Israel, the latest intelligence assessment, Iran is something like nine months away from entering this so-called zone of immunity. Therefore, there are many in Israel who believe that Israel should take the initiative and strike before because sanctions do not yield the results that Israel hoped they would result in
When Netanyahu meets Obama
Fareed Zakaria: What do you think Prime Minister Netanyahu is going to tell President Obama at the Oval Office on Monday?
Ronen Bergman: I would assume that the Israeli prime minister would ask President Obama to give Israel assurances on what exactly does it mean when he says that the U.S. is determined to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear state?
If the U.S. is willing to guarantee Israel that if Israel doesn't strike, the U.S., when the time comes and the Iranian supreme leader orders his scientists to start producing the first bomb, then the U.S. would strike. I would assume that on that specific issue, the president of the United States would be very cautious from making promises and obliging himself to restricted military actions.
And on the other hand, I assume that Prime Minister Netanyahu is going to use the same vague language as he used before, when the president will ask him to refrain from attacking. He will say something like, Israel reserves itself the right to defend itself and will not promise the president not to strike or to give the U.S. a heads-up, a prior warning, before a strike takes place.