February 19th, 2012
08:00 AM ET

Zakaria: Israel, don't strike Iran

By Fareed Zakaria, CNN

We are hearing a new concept these days in discussions about Iran — the zone of immunity. The idea, often explained by Ehud Barak, Israel’s defense minister, is that soon Iran will have enough nuclear capability that Israel would not be able to inflict a crippling blow to its program.

Israeli officials explain that we Americans cannot understand their fears, that Iran is an existential threat to them. But in fact we can understand because we have gone through a very similar experience ourselves. After World War II, as the Soviet Union approached a nuclear capability, the United States was seized by a panic that lasted for years.Everything that Israel says about Iran now, we said about the Soviet Union.

We saw it as a radical, revolutionary regime, opposed to every value we held dear, determined to overthrow the governments of the Western world in order to establish global communism. We saw Moscow as irrational, aggressive and utterly unconcerned with human life. After all, Joseph Stalin had just sacrificed a mind-boggling 26 million Soviet lives in his country’s struggle against Nazi Germany.

Just as Israel is openly considering preemptive strikes against Iran, many in the West urged such strikes against Moscow in the late 1940s. The calls came not just from hawks but even from lifelong pacifists such as the public intellectual Bertrand Russell.

To get a sense of the mood of the times, consider this entry from the Nov. 29, 1948, diary of Harold Nicolson, one of the coolest and most sober British diplomats of his generation: “[I]t is probably true that Russia is preparing for the final battle for world mastery and that once she has enough bombs she will destroy Western Europe, occupy Asia, and have a final death struggle with America. If that happens and we are wiped out over here, the survivors in New Zealand may say that we were mad not to have prevented this. . . . There is a chance that the danger may pass and peace can be secured with peace. I admit it is a frail chance, not one in ninety.”

In a speech at the Boston Navy Yard in August 1950, Navy Secretary Francis Matthews argued that, in being “an initiator of a war of aggression,” the United States “would become the first aggressors for peace.”

In the end, however, the global revolutionaries in Moscow, the mad autocrats in Pyongyang and the terrorist-supporting military in Pakistan have all been deterred by mutual fears of destruction. While the Iranian regime is often called crazy, it has done much less to merit the term than did a regime such as Mao’s China. Over the past decade, there have been thousands of suicide bombings by Saudis, Egyptians, Lebanese, Palestinians and Pakistanis, but not been a single suicide attack by an Iranian. Is the Iranian regime — even if it got one crude device in a few years — likely to launch the first?

The efforts to delay and disrupt Iran's nuclear program are working. But even if one day Tehran manages to build a few crude bombs, a policy of robust containment and deterrence is better to contemplate than a preemptive war.

For more of my thoughts throughout the week, I invite you to follow me on Facebook and Twitter and to visit the Global Public Square every day. Be sure to catch GPS every Sunday at 10a.m. and 1p.m. EST. If you miss it, you can buy the show on iTunes. For more of my takes, click here.

Post by:
Topics: Iran • Israel • Military • United States

soundoff (1,810 Responses)
  1. zortilo nrel

    Great work! This is the type of information that should be shared around the web. Shame on Google for not positioning this post higher! Come on over and visit my web site . Thanks =)

    http://www.zortilonrel.com/

    January 1, 2021 at 11:01 am |
  2. zortilonrel

    I will immediately grab your rss feed as I can't find your e-mail subscription link or e-newsletter service. Do you have any? Please let me know so that I could subscribe. Thanks.

    http://www.zortilonrel.com/

    January 2, 2021 at 4:03 am |
  3. zortilo nrel

    I enjoy the efforts you have put in this, appreciate it for all the great content.

    http://www.zortilonrel.com/

    January 2, 2021 at 5:00 am |
  4. zortilonrel

    whoah this blog is magnificent i love reading your posts. Keep up the good work! You know, many people are looking around for this info, you could help them greatly.

    http://www.zortilonrel.com/

    January 2, 2021 at 7:25 am |
  5. zortilonrel

    I have been surfing online more than 3 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It’s pretty worth enough for me. In my view, if all web owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the internet will be much more useful than ever before.

    http://www.zortilonrel.com/

    January 2, 2021 at 8:11 am |
  6. zortilonrel

    Regards for helping out, wonderful information. "Our individual lives cannot, generally, be works of art unless the social order is also." by Charles Horton Cooley.

    http://www.zortilonrel.com/

    January 2, 2021 at 9:30 pm |
  7. zortilonrel

    I am often to blogging and i really appreciate your content. The article has really peaks my interest. I am going to bookmark your site and keep checking for new information.

    http://www.zortilonrel.com/

    January 3, 2021 at 11:35 am |
  8. zortilonrel

    so much superb information on here, : D.

    http://www.zortilonrel.com/

    January 4, 2021 at 1:34 am |
  9. Echo Deliberto

    Thanks for helping me to achieve new strategies about computer systems. I also possess the belief that one of the best ways to keep your mobile computer in perfect condition is by using a hard plastic material case, or maybe shell, that will fit over the top of one's computer. These types of protective gear are model specific since they are made to fit perfectly within the natural covering. You can buy them directly from owner, or through third party sources if they are for your mobile computer, however not all laptop may have a covering on the market. All over again, thanks for your recommendations.

    https://dreamproxies.com/buy-proxies/1000-private-proxies

    January 7, 2021 at 1:13 pm |
  10. vreyro linomit

    I am impressed with this web site, really I am a big fan .

    http://www.vreyrolinomit.com/

    January 7, 2021 at 3:48 pm |
  11. vreyrolinomit

    I¦ll immediately take hold of your rss as I can not to find your e-mail subscription hyperlink or newsletter service. Do you have any? Please let me recognize so that I may subscribe. Thanks.

    http://www.vreyrolinomit.com/

    January 7, 2021 at 4:54 pm |
  12. vreyrolinomit

    I have been surfing online more than 3 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me. Personally, if all webmasters and bloggers made good content as you did, the net will be much more useful than ever before.

    http://www.vreyrolinomit.com/

    January 7, 2021 at 4:56 pm |
  13. vreyro linomit

    excellent post, very informative. I wonder why the other experts of this sector do not notice this. You should continue your writing. I am sure, you have a huge readers' base already!

    http://www.vreyrolinomit.com/

    January 7, 2021 at 9:51 pm |
  14. vreyro linomit

    I am glad to be a visitant of this gross blog! , appreciate it for this rare info ! .

    http://www.vreyrolinomit.com/

    January 7, 2021 at 10:59 pm |
  15. vreyrolinomit

    Hello. impressive job. I did not imagine this. This is a fantastic story. Thanks!

    http://www.vreyrolinomit.com/

    January 7, 2021 at 11:00 pm |
  16. vreyrolinomit

    You have brought up a very good points, thanks for the post.

    http://www.vreyrolinomit.com/

    January 8, 2021 at 10:25 am |
  17. vreyrolinomit

    A formidable share, I just given this onto a colleague who was doing just a little analysis on this. And he in actual fact bought me breakfast as a result of I found it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the deal with! But yeah Thnkx for spending the time to discuss this, I really feel strongly about it and love reading extra on this topic. If potential, as you become experience, would you thoughts updating your weblog with more details? It is highly helpful for me. Large thumb up for this blog put up!

    http://www.vreyrolinomit.com/

    January 8, 2021 at 10:50 am |
  18. vreyrolinomit

    I simply could not leave your site before suggesting that I really enjoyed the standard information an individual supply to your guests? Is going to be again often to check up on new posts

    http://www.vreyrolinomit.com/

    January 8, 2021 at 2:21 pm |
  19. vreyrolinomit

    Exactly what I was searching for, thanks for posting.

    http://www.vreyrolinomit.com/

    January 8, 2021 at 5:53 pm |
  20. vreyro linomit

    Well I really enjoyed reading it. This tip procured by you is very useful for good planning.

    http://www.vreyrolinomit.com/

    January 8, 2021 at 8:24 pm |
  21. vreyrolinomit

    Very interesting topic, thanks for posting.

    http://www.vreyrolinomit.com/

    January 9, 2021 at 12:27 am |
  22. vreyrolinomit

    Simply wish to say your article is as amazing. The clarity for your put up is just cool and i can assume you are a professional on this subject. Well along with your permission allow me to clutch your RSS feed to keep up to date with coming near near post. Thanks a million and please continue the enjoyable work.

    http://www.vreyrolinomit.com/

    January 9, 2021 at 1:20 pm |
  23. Clemente Obannion

    Contact with us will help you

    https://www.tcsindustry.com

    January 10, 2021 at 2:07 am |
  24. vreyro linomit

    I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you design this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz answer back as I'm looking to construct my own blog and would like to know where u got this from. thank you

    http://www.vreyrolinomit.com/

    January 10, 2021 at 7:54 am |
  25. Fgvdwhilk

    board of pharmacy ed meds online without doctor prescription ed

    January 10, 2021 at 8:05 am |
  26. Nllpwhilk

    pharmacy online drugstore http://pharmacy-onlineasxs.com/ canada online pharmacy

    January 11, 2021 at 12:30 am |
  27. Jtmfalkat

    mens ed pills rx pharmacy express

    January 11, 2021 at 12:04 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.