The Magazine

Standing Alone

Oct 14, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 06 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL AND MICHAEL MAKOVSKY
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Of course, an Israeli prime minister can’t decide to launch a strike alone. Netanyahu will require the approval of his security cabinet, and he will also likely need the support of the top ranks of the Israeli military establishment. The Israeli national security apparatus has been cautious about a strike against Iran, believing there was time and hoping that sanctions or the United States would take care of this issue. The Syrian fiasco has virtually eliminated the last option in the minds of many military leaders. And now there’s a consensus that time is growing short. Almost no Israeli security expert believes Israel should resign itself to live with a nuclear-armed Iranian regime dedicated to the destruction of Israel. Furthermore, current and former senior military officials consistently claim they have a viable military option, even though they have less military capacity than the United States. So an Israeli strike is likely.

Netanyahu said at the U.N. that “in standing alone, Israel will know that we will be defending many, many others.” This too echoes Churchill in his July 1940 speech: “We are fighting by ourselves alone; but we are not fighting for ourselves alone.” Churchill asserted that London, “which enshrines the title deeds of human progress,” was defending civilization itself. So today, if Israel​—​an outpost of human progress in the Middle East​—​decides that she has no choice but to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, Israel will not be fighting for herself alone.

 

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