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“It remains true that the highest achievements of the art of war are more to be found in the triumph of mind over mind, than in the triumphs of mind over matter.”
F.E. Adcock, The Greek and Macedonian Art of War[i]
In the final analysis, and irrespective of any still-ongoing peace processes, Israel must be regarded by its defenders as an always-beleaguered mini-state, one that can compensate for its irremediable lack of strategic depth only by displaying an appropriate strategic equalizer. For now, moreover, this equalizer must remain what had originally been intended and sought by David Ben Gurion, the country’s first prime minister. This goal, of course, refers to Israel’s nuclear weapons, or, as they are sometimes described metaphorically, “the bomb in the basement”.
This does not mean, however, that the Israeli bomb must remain opaque indefinitely. Rather, at some point, at least, Israel’s nuclear posture will have to be brought out of the country’s “basement,” into the clarifying light, not as an authentication of what everyone already knows to be the case, but instead as part of a conspicuously calculated effort to enhance national deterrence.[ii] To most properly accomplish this soon-to-be required movement away from deliberate ambiguity, Israel’s military planners will first need to build upon the following two-part understanding: (1) any optimal Israeli nuclear strategy must exhibit many complex and intersecting dimensions; (2) such an Israeli strategy must play a suitably important role vis-à-vis certain future adversaries. These anticipated foes should include not only discrete state or sub-state enemies, but also certain assorted hybrid combinations.
There is more. The long-term utility of Israel’s nuclear strategy will need to be considered in certain wholly non-nuclear settings, as well as in more expectedly nuclear ones. Jerusalem will also have to proceed in such matters with a steady and possibly expanding reference to “Cold War II.” To be sure, some form of second Cold War is already underway, and this newest landscape of rivalry between Russia and the United States [iii]
In shaping its developing nuclear strategy, any unmodified continuance of deliberate ambiguity by Israel would make little analytic or policy sense.[iv] Of course, President Trump either wittingly, or in an unintended reaction to certain external expectations, could react to any future Israeli nuclear disclosures by more vigorously pressuring the Jewish State to join the 1968 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). On proliferation matters, however, it must always be remembered that Israel is a distinctly unique case. This sui generis status exists, inter alia, because Israel could never survive indefinitely without Ben Gurion’s essential nuclear equalizer.
Israel’s weapons are not intended for actual war fighting,[v] but only for protracted strategic deterrence. In the carefully considered words of the Project Daniel final report, Israel’s Strategic Future: “The primary point of Israel’s nuclear forces must always be deterrence ex ante, not revenge ex post.”[vi]
There is a distinctly overriding security reason for urging the removal of Israel’s bomb from the “basement.” This reason concerns the complex requirements of maintaining a credible nuclear deterrence posture.[vii] To present such an essential posture (merely having nuclear weapons does not automatically bestow a credible deterrence posture), Israel’s nuclear weapons, among other things, must always appear sufficiently invulnerable to preemptive destruction by would-be adversaries.
These nuclear weapons would also need to be seen as “penetration capable” (recognizably able to hit their intended targets) and “usable” (able to be taken seriously, that is, as a plausibly proportionate[viii] retaliation for certain enemy aggressions). If any of these particular enemy perceptions were absent, Israel’s nuclear weapons might then not be taken with sufficient seriousness to serve as a sustainably credible deterrent. This could be the case, moreover, even though the physical existence and destructiveness of such weapons should appear altogether obvious and unassailable.
For Israel’s nuclear weapons to protect against massive enemy attacks, some of which could be existential in magnitude, Israel now needs to refine, operationalize, and possibly declare certain elements of its strategic doctrine and associated ordnance. Such action would be needed to enhance deterrence credibility along the entire spectrum of major security threats, and also to provide Israel with broad conceptual frameworks from which particular decisions and tactics could be fittingly extrapolated as needed.
In principle, the urgent problems associated with expectedly nuclearizing adversaries should never be addressed by Israel on a case-by-case or purely ad hoc basis. Rather, Israel should stay prepared to fashion its best available response to all still-conceivable nuclear threats within the much broader and more coherent context of antecedent strategic theory. In all fields, including Israel’s nuclear strategy, theory is a necessary net.
Only those who cast, therefore, “will catch.”[ix]
In this theoretical framework, strategy will need to be developed in a dialectical format. From Plato’s era onward, dialectical thinking has required the disciplined asking and answering of certain intersecting questions. It follows that to optimally shape its indispensable strategic doctrine, Israeli planners should promptly address the following core questions:
Shall Israel begin to openly identify certain general elements of its nuclear arsenal and nuclear plans? If so, how?
Would it be in Israel’s best security interest to make certain others aware, at least in general terms, of its nuclear targeting doctrine; its retaliatory and counter-retaliatory capacities; its willingness under particular conditions to preempt; its willingness under particular conditions to undertake nuclear reprisals; and its corollary capacities for ballistic missile defense?[x] If so, to what extent?
Simple enemy awareness of an Israeli bomb can never automatically imply that Israel maintains a credible nuclear deterrent. If, for example, Israel’s nuclear arsenal were vulnerable to enemy first-strikes, it might still not persuade certain enemy states to resist attacking the Jewish State. Similarly, if Israel’s political leadership were perceived to be unwilling to resort to nuclear weapons in reprisal for anything but unconventional and expectedly exterminatory strikes, these enemy states might also not be suitably deterred.
If Israel’s nuclear weapons were seen as uniformly too large, too destructive, and/or too indiscriminate for any rational use, deterrence could fail. And if Israel’s targeting doctrine were seen as too predominantly “counterforce,” that is, targeted exclusively or even primarily, on enemy state weapons, together with certain supporting military infrastructures, would-be attackers might not anticipate sufficiently high expected costs. They might, in consequence, not be successfully deterred.
A presumptive counter-force targeting doctrine, however, could also be damaging to Israel, because it could enlarge the apparent probabilities of nuclear war fighting. Always, Israel’s nuclear weapons should be oriented toward deterrence, and not to any actual conflict. With this in mind Israeli planners and leaders (in stark contrast to the now-ongoing nuclear military planning being operationalized in Pakistan) have likely opted not to build or deploy tactical/theatre nuclear forces.
If Israel’s targeting doctrine were judged to be too predominantly counterforce, enemy states could so fear an Israeli first-strike that they would then consider more seriously striking first themselves. This more-or-less reasonable scenario would represent, in effect, a preemption of the preemption, an ironic situation, a danse macabre wherein the intended object of “anticipatory self-defense”[xi] (the proper legal term for any permissible preemption) would itself strike “defensively.”
The dialectical dynamics of such strategic calculations are bewilderingly complex. In this connection, aware of counter-city/counterforce options and implications, Israel’s leaders should quickly determine the most favorable means and levels of any prospective nuclear disclosure. How shall enemy states best be apprised of Israel’s targeting doctrine, so that these particular adversaries could be deterred from all forms of both first-strike and retaliatory strike action?
To ensure the long-term survival of Israel, it can never be sufficient that Israel’s enemies merely know that the Jewish State has nuclear weapons. They must also be convinced, always, that these atomic arms are sufficiently secure and operationally usable, and that Israel’s designated leadership is determinedly willingto launch them in recognizable response to certain first-strike and/or retaliatory aggressions.
To prevent catastrophic war in the Middle East, enemy states should never be allowed to assume that Israel could be massively attacked with impunity.
Always, therefore, Israel’s strategic doctrine must aim at strengthening nuclear deterrence. Jerusalem can meet this unassailably key objective only by convincing enemy states that any first-strike attack upon Israel would always be irrational. More precisely, this means successfully communicating to all relevant enemy states that the expected costs of any such strike would always exceed the expected benefits. Of course, substantially different forms of strategic persuasion will need to be used in the case of assorted sub-state or insurgent group adversaries. And within this distinct or separate category of foes, Israeli planners will need to make further careful assessments of expected adversarial rationality.
In all cases, and without any exception, Israel’s strategic doctrine must convince prospective attackers that their intended victim has both the willingness and the capacity to retaliate with nuclear weapons. Where an enemy state considering an attack upon Israel were somehow unconvinced about either or both of these fundamental components of nuclear deterrence, it could then still choose rationally to strike first. This decision would depend, at least in part, upon the particular value it had originally placed upon the expected consequences of any such attack.
Regarding willingness to retaliate, even if Israel were, in reality, fully prepared to respond to certain enemy attacks with nuclear reprisals, any residual adversarial failure to actually recognize such preparedness could still provoke an attack upon Israel. Here, misperception and/or errors in information could quickly immobilize Israeli nuclear deterrence. It is also conceivable that Israel would, in fact, simply lack the willingness to retaliate, and that this damaging lack of willingness would be perceived correctly by enemy state decision-makers. In this very worrisome case, Israeli nuclear deterrence would plausibly be immobilized, not because of any confused signals, but rather because of signals that had not been aptly distorted.
Regarding capacity, even if Israel were to maintain a substantial arsenal of nuclear weapons, it is essential that enemy states always believe these weapons to be distinctly usable. This means that if a first-strike attack were ever believed capable of sufficiently destroying Israel’s atomic arsenal and associated infrastructures, that country’s nuclear deterrent could conceivably be immobilized. To best guard against any such perilous eventuality, Jerusalem would be well-advised to continue working closely at improving all viable and affordable submarine nuclear basing options.[xii]
Even if Israel’s nuclear weapons were configured such that they could not be destroyed by an enemy first-strike, enemy misperceptions or misjudgments about Israeli vulnerability could still bring about the catastrophic failure of Israeli nuclear deterrence. A further complication here concerns enemy state deployment of anti-tactical ballistic missiles, deployments which could sometime contribute to an affirmative attack decision against Israel, by lowering the attacker’s own expected costs.[xiii]
The importance of usable nuclear weapons must also be examined from the standpoint of probable harms. Should Israel’s nuclear weapons be perceived by a would-be attacker as uniformly too high-yield, or city-busting weapons, they could also fail to deter. In certain circumstances, successful nuclear deterrence could even vary inversely with perceived destructiveness, at least to a point. This does not mean that Israel should ever incline toward a nuclear war-fighting doctrine (it assuredly should not), but only that it must always be aware of possibly subtle or eccentric decisional correlations between successful nuclear deterrence, and enemy perceptions of nuclear destructiveness.[xiv]
This brings us back to the over-all central importance of Israeli strategic doctrine. To the extent that this doctrine was to identify certain nuanced and graduated forms of reprisal – forms calibrating Israeli retaliations somewhat to particular levels of provocation – any disclosure of such doctrine could enhance Israeli nuclear deterrence. Without such disclosure, Israel’s enemies would be kept guessing about the Jewish State’s probable responses, a condition of persistent uncertainty that could positively serve Israel’s security for a while longer, but, at one time or another, could also fail altogether.
It is time for one final observation, one already familiar to Israeli strategic planners. All nuclear deterrence is contingent upon an assumption of enemy rationality. This means that in calculating deterrence, an enemy must always be assumed to value its continued physical survival more highly than any other preference, or combination of preferences. Where this assumption might be unwarranted,[xv] all deterrence bets could be off, and the would-be deterrer’s own survival would likely depend upon certain apt forms of preemption, and/or ballistic missile defense – that is, BMD displaying a near-perfect reliability of intercept.
In the persisting matter of a nuclear Iran, a still-future peril that intersects synergistically with a broad variety of corollary terror threats in the region,[xvi] Israel will soon have to decide whether that country could sometime be animated more by Jihadist visions of a Shiite apocalypse,[xvii] than by the more usual strategic considerations of national survival. This portentous prospect, one wherein Iran could effectively emerge as a suicide-bomber in macrocosm, is more-or-less “improbable,”[xviii] but it is still not inconceivable.
Credo quia absurdum. “I believe because it is absurd.” Israel should never construct its overall strategic doctrine upon such an eccentric mantra, but it also ought not ignore this potentially insightful paradox.
In the end, this means a core responsibility to plan carefully for long-term nuclear deterrence of a rational nuclear Iran, but also to make simultaneous preparations for dealing with an already nuclear Iran that might sometime value certain religious preferences more highly than physical survival. By definition any such residual preparations would have to include viable plans for threatening to obstruct those particular Islamic religious values that Tehran could then value even more highly than any other national preference, or, indeed, any combination of such preferences.
In terms of nuclear deterrence, irrationality is not the same as madness. If properly understood, even an irrational national adversary could be deterred. For Israel, going forward, this means a more precise and obligatory understanding of Iran’s expected ordering of religious (Shiite Islamic) preferences. Over time, similar understandings may also need to be fashioned regarding Saudi Arabia, Egypt, or even Turkey.
As for any eleventh-hour Israeli resort to preemption or “anticipatory self-defense,”[xix] it would need to be undertaken sometime before Iran became operationally nuclear.[xx] For the moment, this starkly alternative option to long-term nuclear deterrence remains logically possible, but also manifestly unlikely. In strategic terms, at this plainly late stage, the expected costs to Israel of any defensive first-strike would quite plausibly exceed the expected gains. At the same time, Israel would be hard pressed, especially after the July 14, 2015 Vienna Agreement (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA) to argue convincingly, ex post, for the permissibility of such a strike.
Finally, in fashioning its developing nuclear strategy, Israeli planners will need to factor in to their calculations the expanding prospect of a new Cold War, and – together with this contextual prospect now in mind – the likelihood of certain hybrid wars against various state/sub-state adversaries. In any such mixed-actor conflicts, the deterrent effectiveness of Israel’s nuclear strategy and doctrine could plausibly be different from what it would be against exclusively state or sub-state enemies. In those wars directed against an exclusively sub-state or terrorist foe, e.g. Hezbollah, however, it is unlikely that Israel’s nuclear strategy could play any meaningfully direct role.[xxi]
There does exist, however, a very infrequently mentioned intersection between sub-state terrorist actions against Israel, and certain nuclear strategy infrastructures. Here, the connection concerns more-or-less plausible risks to Israel’s nuclear reactor complex at Dimona. Already, in 2014, this facility came under missile and rocket fire from Hamas. Still earlier, in 1991, Dimona had been attacked by state-enemy Iraq.[xxii]
It follows that although Israel’s nuclear strategy is not apt to have any tangibly direct effects upon terrorist adversaries, these adversaries might nonetheless exert assorted and deleterious effects upon Israel’s most critical nuclear reactor. In this connection, it is also worth noting, more specifically, that any Palestinian statehood ensuing from protracted Palestinian terrorism could further exacerbate major security threats to Dimona, and that Israel’s nuclear strategy might at that point prove both relevant and useful. To the extent that Israel’s nuclear strategy serves to enhance U.S. security in the region – and this extent could be very far-reaching indeed – any such prospective success against a new state enemy called Palestine would be welcome not only in Jerusalem, but also in Washington.[xxiii]
What emerges from this comprehensive assessment of Israel’s nuclear strategy is a clear and persisting expectation of region-wide complexity amid chaos. This expectation means an utterly core obligation, for Israel, to continuously think of its nuclear strategy as an emergent struggle of mind over mind, rather than mind over matter. To be sure, Israeli strategists will still have to keep up with assorted regional power balances, multiple orders of battle, and changing correlations of forces, but now, looking ahead, Jerusalem will also need to heed bewilderingly complicated forms of theoretical calculation and dialectical thinking.[xxiv]
In the end, Israeli strategic planners must prepare to understand their vital diagnoses of existential threat, and their corresponding remedies, within the ceaselessly bewildering context of a global state of nature. As originally understood by the seventeenth century English philosopher, Thomas Hobbes, this condition of nature defines a system of interactions without any “common power;” hence, a configuration of planet-wide lawlessness.[xxv] Moreover, noted Hobbes, already back in the seventeenth century, within this global state of nature, “…the weakest has strength enough to kill the strongest.”
Looking ahead, the greater the extent of worldwide nuclear proliferation, the closer our world will come to resemble a true Hobbesian condition of nature. With such an ominous and plausible expectation, Israel’s particular nuclear strategy will become not only increasingly relevant to the country’s security, but also utterly indispensable.[xxvi] It only remains to be seen whether Israel’s responsible military thinkers and planners will actually be up to the extraordinary task.
[i] Adcock was speaking expressly about the Greek art of war, but his wisdom here still applies more generally to present day considerations of warfare, especially nuclear war planning.On December 22, 1995, Prime Minister Shimon Peres told the Israeli press that Israel would be willing to “give up the atom” in exchange for “peace.” Later, on December 11, 2006, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert publicly offered a very similar exchange. Bt these disclosures were intentionally vague, and cannot now be considered adequate for current purposes of enhancing Israel’s nuclear deterrent.Depending upon the precise manner in which Cold War II actually unfolds, Israel’s overall security position could become more or less stable. Recalling the primacy of theory in the development of Israel’s strategic posture and doctrine, the expansion of Cold War II necessarily implies a world system of steadily expanding bipolarity. For early writings by this author on the world-stability implications of bipolarity versus multipolarity, see: Louis René Beres, “Bipolarity, Multipolarity, and the Reliability of Alliance Commitments,” Western Political Quarterly, Vol. 25, No. 4., December 1972, pp. 702-710; Louis René Beres, “Bipolarity, Multipolarity, and the Tragedy of the Commons,” Western Political Quarterly, Vol. 26, No. 4., December 1973; pp. 649-658; and Louis René Beres, “Guerillas, Terrorists, and Polarity: New Structural Models of World Politics,” Western Political Quarterly, Vol. 27, No.4., December 1974, pp. 624-636.
[ii] See: Louis René Beres, Looking Ahead: Revising Israel’s Nuclear Ambiguity in the Middle East, Herzliya Conference Policy Paper, Herzliya Conference, March 11-14, 2013 (IDC, Herzliya, Israel). See, also: Louis René Beres, “Changing Direction? Updating Israel’s Nuclear Doctrine,” INSS, Israel, Strategic Assessment, Vol. 17, No.3., October 2014, pp. 93-106.
[iii] For assessments of the expected consequences of nuclear war fighting, see, by this author: Louis René Beres, Apocalypse: Nuclear Catastrophe in World Politics (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980); Louis René Beres, Mimicking Sisyphus: America’s Countervailing Nuclear Strategy (Lexington, Mass., Lexington Books, 1983); Louis René Beres, Reason and Realpolitik: U.S. Foreign Policy and World Order (Lexington, Mass., Lexington Books, 1984); and Louis René Beres, ed., Security or Armageddon: Israel’s Nuclear Strategy (Lexington, Mass., Lexington Books, 1986). Most recently, see: Louis René Beres, Surviving Amid Chaos: Israel’s Nuclear Strategy (New York, Rowman & Littlefield, 2016).
[iv] See Israel’s Strategic Future: Project Daniel, The Project Daniel Group, Louis René Beres, Chair, Ariel Center for Policy Research, ACPR Policy Paper No. 155, May 2004, Israel. See also: Louis René Beres, “Israel’s Uncertain Strategic Future,” Parameters: Journal of the U.S. Army War College, Vol. XXXVII, No.1, Spring 2007, pp. 37-54; and Louis René Beres, “Facing Iran’s Ongoing Nuclearization: A Retrospective on Project Daniel,” International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, Vol. 22, Issue 3, June 2009, pp. 491-514. Still, there are identifiable circumstances wherein calculated threats of revenge could effectively bolster Israeli nuclear deterrence. In these circumstances, Israel’s core objective would not be vengeance per se following any particular failure of deterrence, but rather deliberate utilization of the “Samson” factor, as a deliberate strategy to enhance nuclear deterrence.
[v] This argument pertains not only to prospectively direct nuclear threats to Israel (e.g., a still-nuclearizing Iran), but also to certain threats of nuclear war elsewhere in the world – that is, to threats that do not pertain specifically to Israel. For a discussion of these circumstances, with specific reference to North Korea and Pakistan, see: Louis René Beres, “On the Eve of New Atoms,” The Washington Times, September 28, 2016.
[vi] As used here, “proportionality” does not refer to precise jurisprudential definitions under the law of war, or the law of armed conflict, but rather to the ordinary strategic meanings of more-or-less equivalent destructiveness.
[vii] This metaphor is attributable to the German poet, Novalis, and cited by Karl Popper as epigraph to his The Logic of Scientific Discovery (New York: Harper & Row, 1959).
[viii] Even today, however, Israel may need to think of defense as a residual or somewhat secondary security protection. Recalling Sun-Tzu’s ancient The Art of War: “Those who excel at defense, bury themselves away below the lowest depths of Earth. Those who excel at offense move from above the greatest heights of Heaven. Thus, they are able to preserve themselves, and attain a complete victory.”
[ix] For in-depth examination of “anticipatory self-defense” with particular reference to Israel, see, by this author: Louis René Beres, Surviving Amid Chaos: Israel’s Nuclear Strategy (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016), 167 pp.
[x] See, on these options: Louis René Beres and Admiral (USN/ret.) Leon “Bud” Edney, “Israel’s Nuclear Strategy: A Larger Role for Submarine Basing,” The Jerusalem Post, August 17, 2014; and Professor Beres and Admiral Edney, “A Sea-Based Nuclear Deterrent for Israel,” Washington Times, September 5, 2014. Admiral Edney served as SACLANT, NATO Supreme Allied Commander, Atlantic.
[xi] On pertinent issues of ballistic missile deployments, by Israel, see: Louis René Beres and (MG/IDF/res.) Isaac Ben-Israel, “The Limits of Deterrence,” Washington Times, November 21, 2007; Professor Louis René Beres and MG Isaac Ben-Israel, “Deterring Iran,” Washington Times, June 10, 2007; and Professor Louis René Beres and MG Isaac Ben-Israel, “Deterring Iranian Nuclear Attack,” Washington Times, January 27, 2009.
[xii] Israeli preparations for nuclear war fighting need not be considered as a distinct alternative to nuclear deterrence, but rather as essential or even integral components of nuclear deterrence.
[xiii] In this connection: “Do you know what it means to find yourselves face to face with a madman?” inquires Luigi Pirandello’s Henry IV. “Madmen, lucky folk, construct without logic, or rather with a logic that flies like a feather.”
[xiv] One such threat could stem from future Iranian or Syrian transfers of certain nuclear technologies to Hezbollah. Already, for several years, Israel has struck preemptively within Syria to prevent certain conventional weapons transfers to the enemy Shiite militia. See, for example: Louis René Beres, “Striking Hezbollah-bound Weapons in Syria: Israel’s Actions Under International Law,” Harvard National Security Journal, Harvard Law School, August 26, 2013.
[xv] See Andrew Bostom, “Iran’s Final Solution for Israel: Persian Shiite anti-Semitism is Deep Rooted and Points to Genocide,” National Review Online, February 10, 2012. Important to note, here, is the direct eschatological nexus established between the individual Jew (microcosm), and the Jewish State (macrocosm).
[xvi] This word is enclosed by quotation marks because it is technically impossible to ascertain the true probability of unique events. In pertinent mathematics and statistics, probability judgments must always be based upon the determinable frequency of past events. Still the best treatment of problematic probability estimations in strategic thinking is Anatol Rapoport, Strategy and Conscience (New York: Schocken Books, 1964), pp. 323.
[xvii] The right of self-defense, both anticipatory and post-attack, is a “peremptory” or jus cogens norm under international law. See: Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, May 23, 1969; entered into force, January 27, 1980. The customary international law right of anticipatory self-defense has its modern origins in the so-called “Caroline Incident,” which concerned the unsuccessful 1837 rebellion in Upper Canada against British rule. Following this landmark incident, the serious “threat” of armed attack has generally been accepted as sufficient cause for appropriate defensive action. Now, further, in the nuclear age, it stands to reason that this anticipatory right should be greater than ever before.
[xviii] The Israeli precedents for any such preemption, of course, would be Operation Opera against the Osiraq (Iraqi) nuclear reactor on June 7, 1981, and, later (and far lesser known) Operation Orchard against Syria on September 6, 2007. In April 2011, the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed that he bombed Syrian site in the Deir ez-Zoe region of Syria had indeed been a developing nuclear reactor. Both preemptions were lawful assertions of Israel’s core “Begin Doctrine.”
[xix] Hybrid warfare, of course, could involve disparate sub-state enemies exclusively. For example, according to Ehud Eilam, “Hamas and Hezbollah remain Israel’s greatest hybrid enemies, as they are capable of mounting tactical operations such as lethal ambushes and raids, which characterize guerrilla warfare, and, like conventional armies, also possess firepower in the form of thousands of rockets that can hit the Israeli rear.” See his “The Struggle against Hamas/Hezbollah: Israel’s Next Hybrid War,” Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs, Vol. 10, No.2., July 2016, p.1.
[xx] See Bennett Ramberg, “Should Israel Close Dimona? The Radiological Consequences of a Military Strike on Israel’s Plutonium-Production Reactor?” Arms Control Today, May 2008, pp. 6-13.
[xxi] In this regard, Israel’s Operation Opera and Operation Orchard likely saved the lives of a great many U.S. and allied soldiers during the multilateral conflicts Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom. Both of these life-saving operations, moreover, were also legally permissible and even law-enforcing, although the UN Security Council, in Resolution # 487 on June 19, 1981, wrongly chose to condemn the preemptive attack on Osiraq. Even before the nuclear age, Emmerich de Vattel took a strong position in favor of anticipatory self-defense. The eminent Swiss scholar concludes, in his The Law of Nations (1758): “The safest plan is to prevent evil, where that is possible. A nation has the right to resist the injury another seeks to inflict upon it, and to use force and every other just means of resistance against the aggressor.” Vattel, in the fashion of Dutch scholar Hugo Grotius (The Law of War and Peace, 1625) drew upon ancient Hebrew Scripture, and expressly Jewish Law.
[xxii] One pertinent area of such complicated assessment must be hybrid war, especially (1) whether the nuclear and conventional spheres of engagement ought to remain integrated or operationally separate and discrete; and (2) whether such conflict would involve Israel as a recipient of hybrid warfare, or as its recognizable initiator.
[xxiii] This actual condition of anarchy stands in stark contrast to the juri
[xxiv] sprudential assumption of solidarity between all states in the presumably common struggle against aggression and terrorism. Such a peremptory expectation (known formally in international law as a jus cogens assumption), is already mentioned in Justinian, Corpus Juris Civilis (533 C.E.); Hugo Grotius, 2 De Jure Belli Ac Pacis Libri Tres, Ch. 20 (Francis W. Kesey, tr., Clarendon Press, 1925)(1690); Emmerich De Vattel, 1 Le Droit Des Gens, Ch. 19 (1758).Recalling Hobbes discussion of “nature” in Chapter XIII of Leviathan, “war” obtains even when there exists no “actual fighting.” War, therefore, need not consist of any ongoing belligerencies, but only “in the known disposition thereto, during all the time there is no assurance to the contrary.” Here, Hobbes’ stipulated definition of war is essentially identical to what we usually mean today by “cold war.” Also interesting, and in the same chapter of Leviathan, Hobbes indicates that the global state of nature is in fact the only condition wherein such a state has ever really existed: “But though there had never been any time wherein particular men were in a condition of warre one against another; yet, in all times, Kings, and Persons of Soveraigne authority, because of their Independency, are in continual jealousies, and in the state and posture of Gladiators; having their weapons pointing; and their eyes fixed on one another….which is a posture of War.”