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Thursday 22 Feb 2018 | 00:08 | SYDNEY
Thursday 22 Feb 2018 | 00:08 | SYDNEY

Israel must lead



29 August 2008 14:19

Certainly the chances that Israel will adopt unilateral nuclear disarmament are slim, but not for the reasons Hugh White mentions.

I agree that such an Israeli gesture could only come in the context of an Iranian decision to back away from its nuclear program, and this in turn is likely only if there is rapprochment with Washington. By why does that have to mean that Washington would need to extend its nuclear umbrella to cover Tehran, as Hugh suggests? I doubt it will require anything so radical, or even that a US-Iran 'grand bargain' is necessary. Libya, after all, settled for much less. Is Iran really so different?

The main reason I am pessimistic that Israel will try this gambit is domestic. I'm no expert on the Israeli political and bureaucratic system, but I imagine there would be tremendous institutional resistance to an idea like this. The nuclear deterrent also enjoys widespread popular support in Israel.

As always, what's needed to turn an unlikely idea like this one into reality is visionary leadership. Israel needs a Reagan.

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