Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Nuclear Nudniks

Aren't these vintage graphics oddly compelling? This is an early Jerusalem-centric view of the world, mapped in 1581 by Heinrich Bunting at the height of the Reformation. It shows three continents of the Old World split by the seas, but connected by Jerusalem as the hub. The Red Sea looks like a bleeding gash between Africa and Asia. [Click on map to enlarge it.]

A similar shape recurs below, in the Universal Nuclear Radiation sign, a three-bladed radiation danger symbol, developed nearly 400 years later at the University of California Radiation Laboratory in Berkeley.

The threat of Jewish nukes seldom makes headlines in the west these days. But an Islamic A-bomb, first developed in Pakistan, set off serious jitters, and as the atomic ambitions of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran advance, nuclear jihad looms.

Even though everyone assumes that high-tech Israel can drop the Big One at will, official nuclear policy in the Promised Land is “deliberate ambiguity.” The military won’t indulge in atomic saber-rattling, perhaps because they can depend on the US to do it for them. (Be alert for the bland American code: “all options are on the table.”)

Any Middle Eastern atomic arsenal continues to be ardently protected by euphemism. Israel’s top brass still waffles about the country’s "strategic infrastructure and deterrent capability"-- even though in 1998, Shimon Peres famously admitted that Israel built its "nuclear option: not in order to have a Hiroshima but an Oslo." In other words, the threat of nuclear annhilation by Israel is to enforce treaties, and won’t be wielded as a weapon of mass destruction. That is, if Israel actually has one. It's a bit disingenuous.

In a country the size of New Jersey, surrounded by foes, the potential of radiation blowback is so deadly that restraint should prevail. But few would trust Iran to exercise the same caution. Under Ronald Reagan, the nuclear faceoff with Moscow triggered existential angst but ultimately promoted peace through MAD - Mutually Assured Destruction. But it is a risky, no-blink stance. Cold war is not for hotheads.

Israel is said to have acquired nukes with French assistance and perfected the technology around 1965. Since then, the military has stockpiled at least 82 warheads plus several nuclear submarines. Mordechai Vanunu, a scientist who was sacked from a plant at Dimona in the Negev Desert, blabbed to London’s Sunday Times in 1986 that Israeli had capacity to build up to 200 nukes, to be delivered by Jericho missiles. (For this he was kidnapped by Mossad, tried for treason and jailed for 18 years, more than half in solitary confinement.) Arab governments, which pored over Saddam’s purported nuclear recipes when they were posted briefly on the Internet this year by less-than- astute Bush supporters, accuse the West of holding double standards on nuclear proliferation.

Some even argue that if Iran were to obtain nuclear know-how, it would correct the non-conventional weaponry balance in the Middle East. This is quite a different take from Jerusalem’s David and Goliath foreign policy narrative. Maybe it is all a matter of perspective. From every which way, it's scary.


heifer said...

Well forget about nuke ambiguity, folks. Robert M Gates, the Mach 2 replacement for Rumsfeld in Bush's new Department of Defence, outed us. Suprise suprise. Israel definitely has the A-bomb.


Anonymous said...

We will have every Hizbollah women fucked by dogs.
We will send Phallus of ours into ass of All priests moslems.
We will have Khamenei and Rafsanjani and Ahmadinejad and Khatami and Akbar Ganji fucked by a great penis Of donkey and whale .
We will fuck all foreign government which help mullah.
کیر سگ تو کس ننه سید اولاد پیغمبر و کس ننه خود پیامبر اسلام.
کیر خوک تو کس ننه امام حسین.
کیر خر تو کس ننه شیعیان.
صلوات: الله و کیر خر تو کس ننه محمد و آل محمد.
This is a beautiful cultural message for you.