Haaretz: Jimmy Carter Confirms that Israel is a Major Nuclear Power

Thank you Jimmy Carter. You have gone where no diplomat has ever gone. He has confirmed that Israel is one of the world's leading nuclear powers.
Nuclear exposure on the River Wye
By Reuven Pedatzur

Of all the places in the world, Jimmy Carter chose a book fair on the banks of the River Wye in Wales as the spot from which to put an official end to Israel's nuclear ambiguity. One cannot exaggerate the importance of the former American president's statement that Israel has 150 nuclear bombs. More than all the estimates and leaks about the Israeli nuclear program over the past five decades, Carter's comments on Sunday give official cachet to Israel's status as a nuclear power.

This time the speaker is not another scientist basing his assessments on calculations of the output from the Dimona reactor, or a news report with an unclear source. Israel's nuclear weapons arsenal is being revealed by a former American president, someone who, upon entering the White House, adopted the policy of covert American nuclear cooperation with Israel, which was formulated four decades ago.

The principles of the nuclear understandings between Israel and the United States were agreed upon in 1969, when prime minister Golda Meir met with U.S. president Richard Nixon in Washington. That was the first time the United States officially accepted Israel's status as a nuclear power, while agreeing not to publicly reveal details about its weapons. Israel committed not to carry out nuclear testing or declare that it has nuclear weapons. For their part, the Americans promised not to pressure Israel to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Every American president since, and every senior administration official who knew the details of the Israeli nuclear program, kept silent and effectively adopted Israel's official policy: that it would not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East. Now Carter comes along and changes the rules of the game. After all, he doesn't need to rely on foreign sources or unproven conjecture. When he served as president, he knew exactly what Israel had in its storehouses. Jimmy Carter is not guessing or estimating. He knows.

In his speech at the Wales book fair, Carter did not make it clear whether he was citing the number of bombs Israel had when he left the White House in January 1981, or describing the current size of Israel's nuclear arsenal. This doesn't much affect the core of the matter - Israel's exposure as a nuclear power. When it comes to strategic considerations by Israel and its opponents, it doesn't matter whether there are 150, 200 or 300 bombs.

If Carter was referring to the size of Israel's nuclear arsenal when he left the White House, it is possible to figure out its current size from the information he provided. To do so one needs to use foreign sources, which state that Israel produces enough plutonium to build approximately five nuclear bombs per year. If that's the case, then Israel has built an estimated 150 more bombs since 1981, putting the size of Israel's nuclear arsenal at some 300 bombs. But this is merely an intellectual exercise. What is truly important is the fact that a former American president has exposed Israel as a nuclear power.

One can assume that Iran will now be able to make use of Carter's comments in order to point to the double standard of the Western world, which is prepared to accept a nuclear Israel but makes a great effort to prevent Iran from going nuclear.

However, the more important ramification of Carter's statement is the reinforcement of Israel's deterrent image. In the future, if Iran does acquire nuclear weapons, this image will be of critical importance in the process of developing mutual deterrence.


bryce said...

"Thank you Jimmy Carter. You have gone where no diplomat has ever gone. He has confirmed that Israel is one of the world's leading nuclear powers."
Can't tell if you're being sincere or sarcastic. Since previous posts of yours take issue with Carter's recent escapades, I might think you're being sarcastic.

Now, if only you could explain why you don't have a problem with Obama's choices of advisors:

Ziggy Brzezinski, Former National Security Advisor for Carter

Robert Malley, blamed Israel and exonerated Arafat for the failure of the Clinton peace efforts.

(I could go on, but I fear that any urging I propose to you about reconsidering Obama's choice of advisors will just fall on deaf ears.)

Anonymous said...

Pretty dumb too.

Tzvee said...

There is nuclear ambiguity and there is my policy of sarcasm ambiguity.

You keep arguing that Obama is not perfect. I know that. I feel your pain. You'd like a perfect candidate unambiguously supportive of all you hold dear.

Well, it ain't gonna happen. Obama is the best of the good, not the lesser of the evils. That's why I support him.

John D. Enright said...

"Well, it ain't gonna happen. Obama is the best of the good, not the lesser of the evils. That's why I support him."

Yeah, that's the ticket. Yeah.

Face it Rabbi, bryce is right. Obama's foreign policy advisors have expressed anti-Israel positions in the past, and there is nothing to indicate that those opinions don't continue into the present. I just hope they don't percolate into the future.

Although bryce doesn't think that it'll do any good to display Obama's advisors' sullied history because you won't listen, I going to try, even though bryce is probably right.

Here's what Carterite Zbigniew Brezinski said about The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, by Mearsheimer and Walt (Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux, New York, 2007):
"Mearsheimer and Walt adduce a great deal of factual evidence that over the years Israel has been the beneficiary of privileged — indeed, highly preferential — financial assistance, out of all proportion to what the United States extends to any other country. The massive aid to Israel is in effect a huge entitlement that enriches the relatively prosperous Israelis at the cost of the American taxpayer. Money being fungible, that aid also pays for the very settlements that America opposes and that impede the peace process."

In short, the Israel Lobby’s thesis is that "the United States has been willing to set aside its own security in order to advance the interests of another state [Israel]", and that U.S. Middle East policy has driven primarily by domestic politics, especially the "Israel Lobby," defined as a "loose coalition of individuals and organizations who actively work to steer U.S. foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction."

On Oct 10, 2007 Brezezinski along with others sent a letter to the President and the Secretary of State entitled Failure Risks Devastating Consequences. The letter suggested to engage in "a genuine dialogue with Hamas" rather than to isolate it further.

Personally, I'd like to know the role Brzezinski may have had in Senator Obama's decision to pass on the vote to designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terror group and then to criticize those who voted to do so.

Robert Malley is currently Program Director for Middle East and North Africa at the International Crisis Group in Washington, D.C. He believes that negotiations with the Palestinians today must include Hamas. Martin Peretz, publisher of The New Republic, a liberal publication, has opined that Malley is "anti-Israel", and a "rabid hater of Israel. No question about it."

Samantha Powers, a professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, had to resign from Obama's staff after calling Clinton a monster. (Talk about negative campaigning!) Power is an advocate of the Walt-Mearsheimer view of the American relationship with Israel. Here’s what she said:

Another longstanding foreign policy flaw is the degree to which special interests dictate the way in which the "national interest" as a whole is defined and pursued.... America's important historic relationship with Israel has often led foreign policy decision-makers to defer reflexively to Israeli security assessments, and to replicate Israeli tactics, which, as the war in Lebanon last summer demonstrated, can turn out to be counter-productive."

Power also advocates that America send armed military forces, "a mammoth protection force" and an "external intervention", to impose a settlement between Israel and the Palestinians. (That, of course, is consistent with Obama's idea of bombing allies and having tea with terrorist enemies.)

Power appears to support slashing, if not eliminating, military aid to Israel (surrounded by 300 million people who wish to destroy her) and giving it to the Palestinians, whose charters (whether the Hamas or Fatah version) advocate the destruction of Israel.

Barack Obama appeared with Al Sharpton at a meeting of Sharpton’s National Action Network in April 2007. There he endorsed Sharpton and his organization as follows: “Reverend Sharpton is a voice for the voiceless, and a voice for the dispossessed. What National Action Network has done is so important to change America, and it must be changed from the bottom up.”

Remember the original Crown Heights Riots? (Unfortunately, news reports indicate that the riots may yet again occur soon.) In his eulogy at the funeral, the Rev. Al Sharpton made statements regarding "diamond dealers" and commented "it's an accident to allow an apartheid ambulance service in the middle of Crown Heights." In addition, a banner displayed at the funeral read "Hitler did not do the job." And Obama PRAISED this guy?

Barack Obama solicited and accepted the endorsement of MoveOn.org. MoveOn.org’s record includes the following:

MoveOn.org exercised editorial control in favor of anti-Semitic and anti-Catholic hate speech at its now-disgraced Action Forum. The hate speech included an outright blood libel of Jews, denigration of Catholics as pedophiles, accusations that Evangelical Christians participated in voter fraud, racist comments about prominent African-Americans, and 9/11 conspiracy theories.

Before the Senatorial Primary in 2004, some of Obama's Jewish supporters took offense that Obama had not taken the opportunity on a campaign questionnaire to denounce Yasir Arafat or to strongly support Israel’s building of a security fence.

He attempted to adjust the matter: In an e-mail message, Obama blamed a staff member for the oversight, and expressed the hope that “none of this has raised any questions on your part regarding my fundamental commitment to Israel’s security.”

Ali Hasan Abunimah, the co-founder of Electronic Intifada, met with Obama during the same time period when Obama told him: “I’m sorry I haven’t said more about Palestine right now, but we are in a tough primary race. I’m hoping that when things calm down I can be more upfront.”

Don't trust the man, Rabbi. He says the PC things he needs to say to win votes. Don't trust him.

Tzvee said...

I see what you say and yet I trust Obama. Go figure.

John D. Enright said...

Throws up hands to the sky in exasperation!

bryce said...

Some tears, too.

renford said...

Regardless of whether one believes the Oslo Accords were a success or failure and regardless of the reason why one takes one position or the other, it is my view that Jimmy carter’s policies, while he was president, promoted the security of the State of Israel while the policies of George W. Bush have not. From personal discussions with Israelis, from reading their papers and watching their news shows, it appears to me that this is also the view of quite a few Israelis among them Avrom Burg, Yosi Beilin and Yuli Tamir to name a few. Naturally, when some of these politician share power in a coalition, they are sometimes required to speak out of both sides of their mouths. This is because they are bound to show support for the kinds of agreements to which the article by Reuven Pedatzur refers.

I believe the proper approach should be to acknowledge that there is a double standard regarding nuclear weapons and to educate those who will listen on the reason for its necessity. This probably would work better than insulting the intelligence of nations that have no particular allegiance and could just as easily support Israel as a Moslem state or both.