Walk V-e-e-e-e-r-y Softly . . .
This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.
A military confrontation with Iran over its atomic bomb program is “far more likely,” the Wall Street Journal is predicting this morning after what the Journal characterizes as the “fiasco” of the deal between Iran, Brazil and Turkey. The pact will take the Iranian stock of uranium and move it to Brazil and Turkey, away from American supervision. They would get back a smaller amount of enriched uranium from elsewhere. Our Benny Avni reports that it has left American maneuvers at the United Nations in limbo, and the Journal reckons it makes “irrelevant” 16 months of President Obama’s “diplomacy” and concludes, “Israel will have to seriously consider its military options.”
Sage advice, as one expects from the Wall Street Journal. The only thing these columns would add is that the best thing for Israel to do at this point would be to say nothing. This is a sense we’ve had of the situation for some time, that there’s been too much warning and threatening — and not only from Israel. Iran has been well-warned by everyone from Israel to the French. No more palaver in the United Nations. No more announcements of preparatory military exercises, of which there was a spate a year or so ago. Better now to heed the words of Theodore Roosevelt about walking softly and carrying a big stick.
This is the way it happened with the reactor Saddam Hussein was building in Iraq. Israel didn’t telegraph it’s intentions, it’s preparedness to use force. One day Iraq had a nuclear reactor, the next day it didn’t. Everyone is saying that Iran’s program will be much more difficult to degrade than Iraq’s was. But the principle is the same. Menachem Begin, whose formative military command experience was underground, didn’t say anything until after the deed was done. And even then he didn’t say much, though for a few brief weeks there was a tempest of indignation from foreign chancellories and editorial rooms. “There won’t be another Holocaust in history,” was all Begin would say. “Never again.”