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Existential Consequences: US, Iranian Nukes & Israel

An article in the New York Times was originally headlined "U.S. Persuades Israel That Iran's Nuclear Threat Is Not Imminent." The New York Times smartly reconsidered that phrasing and altered the headline to read "U.S. Assures Israel..."

"Persuades" is a strong term, as its usage presumes insight into the thinking and minds of Israel, her government and her defense command. It is a leap to say that the United States government has persuaded. It is more appropriate to say only what we know, which is to say that the United States government - or parts of it - have "assured" Israel. That much we can measure without psychological presumption. However wise the headline alteration, the opening paragraph does still read that the United States has "persuaded Israel that it would take roughly a year -- and perhaps longer" to develop a nuclear weapon.

As to the veracity of the assertion that Iran is a year off from a nuclear device, or perhaps more, that's probably about right. Furthermore, Israeli intelligence and the IDF almost certainly know the details behind it as well or better than the United States.

It is highly unlikely that the United States intelligence services are educating Israel on the nature or condition of the Iranian threat or its nuclear program. It is, however, highly likely that the United States political establishments are pleading with Israel - or perhaps using stronger, more forceful language - in order to control how the Jewish state reacts to the emergence of Iran's progressing nuclear gambit.

It is not lost on Israel that even the optimistic outlook of a year brings an intensely compacted margin of error than previous estimates in the past which initially gave a decade or more in Iranian nuclear weapons development prediction. Those years are gone.

And for Israel, the margin of error carries existential consequences. Ponder that soberly for a moment. For anyone, including top echelons of governance, believing that America has "persuaded" Israel is both naive and foolishly presumptive from the relative personal safety of distant shores.

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