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Tehran’s Nuclear Program and Genocidal Threats to Israel: Where Should Israel Go From Here?

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Iran’s nuclear weapons program remains a growing and potentially existential threat to Israel. Understood jurisprudentially, the threat is literally genocidal. This article establishes a strategic dialectic from which a suitable Israeli strategic doctrine could be derived and operationalized. Key issues discussed include a Palestinian state (in context of the socalled “Road Map”); enemy rationality; enhanced Israeli nuclear deterrence; counter-city versus counter-force nuclear targeting options; improved ballistic missile defense; the “Samson Option;” escalation dominance; and possible Israeli preemptions. The article concludes that Israel’s leaders should promptly recall that their country confronts a nuclearizing Iran within a still-anarchic, “Westphalian” system of international relations and international law. National survival in such an inherently self-help system will now require adequate and expanding military emphases on all forms of self-defense, including anticipatory self-defense.

Keywords: Israel; Palestinian state; conflict; nuclear weapons; strategic doctrine

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7459/pc/16.1.03

Affiliations: Purdue University

Publication date: January 1, 2009

More about this publication?
  • Political Crossroads is a bi-annual, international, refereed journal which, since 1990, publishes critical and empirical scholarship in political science and international relations. Its areas of focus include global security, terrorism, national identity, migration and citizenship, and the politics of resources and trade.
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