Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Mini-Cuban Missile Crisis in the Mideast

When George Bush goes literally dumb, something must be afoot. At yesterday’s news conference, he talked about Iraq, Iran and North Korea, but refused any comment on Israel’s bombing of possible nuclear targets in Syria.

Former Prime Minister, now Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed such a strike this week based on suspicions that North Korea was exporting weapons materials to Israel’s neighbor, much as Soviet Premier Khruschev did to Cuba in 1962.

The American response back then was a blockade (more politely, quarantine) of further shipments and intense diplomacy that resulted in the Soviet Union’s removal of the weapons.

Israel historically has opted for more direct action, bombing an Iraqi plant in 1981 and making clear it would consider possession of nuclear weapons by Iran a threat to its existence.

Bush’s refusal to comment is understandable, but more puzzling is the continuing drumbeat by Cheney and his disciples for preemptive action against Iran by the U.S.

Don’t they trust Israel to do that particular dirty work for them?

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