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Gates outs Israeli nukes December 7, 2006

Posted by publicpolitics in Butter and Guns, War Policy.

Some Israelis were less pleased, however, to hear Gates mention with equal frankness what U.S. administrations have long avoided saying in public — that the Jewish state has the Middle East’s only nuclear arsenal.

Dan Williams, Reuters


According to Robert Gates, one reason Iran might be seeking atomic
weapons is that the Islamic theocracy is surrounded by them : to the
east is Pakistan, to north are the Russians, in the Gulf are the
Americans, and in the West are the Israelis- except he wasn’t supposed
to mention that last bit, according to one of those strange silences
that the U.S. has brokered, in an unspoken way, with its single largest
recipient of military largesse. According to an ex Israeli diplomat
interviewed by Reuters, one can only assume that Gates has “yet to get
to grips with understandings that exist between us and the Americans.”.
The understanding referred to here is a policy of mutually agreed
silence which , according to documents cited by the Bullentin of the
Atomic Scientists, prove that as far back as the presidency of Richard
Nixon, the United States knew that Israel had the bomb, but decided
against pressing for disclosure and thus regulation.

By its policy of “strategic ambiguity”, Israel hopes to maintain its
arsenal but not to provoke an arms race. The dual conspiracy to avoid
mentioning the atomic elephant in the room allows Israel to skirt a
U.S. ban on funding countries that allow proliferation of weapons of
mass destruction. The policy also enrages many in the region who see
evidence, if there needed to be any , of U. S. hypocrisy. Shimon Peres
pointed out that the Gates statement makes no real difference, and that
whether or not Israel has nuclear arms is irrelevant because Israel
threatens no one.

Of course, it is true that the Israelis have not been as blatantly
threatening as has President Ahmadinejad. But don’t you wonder how the
U.S,. would react to a Mexican nuclear arsenal one border and a
Canadian one on the other, despite protestations of friendliness, a
common economic destiny, and the virtues of free trade?

It is not news that Israel has a bomb. What should be news is the
deadly duo of silence in the United States and strategic ambiguity in
Israel. And the worst part is that the nuclear arms race in the Middle
East appears to be virulently alive, at the expense of U. S.
credibility in the region.

Tags: piqued | frankness | saying | pleased | Nuclear | mention | confirmation | avoided | Administrations | Washington | Pakistan | Middle East | Jewish | Jerusalem | ISRAELI | Iran | Gates


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