Sunday, January 25, 2015

Notes on GOP congressional venture into U.S. foreign policy: "Counting nuclear warheads in the public interest"

Although the Israeli government neither confirms nor denies that it possesses nuclear weapons, it is generally accepted by friend and foe alike that Israel is a nuclear-armed state—and has been so for nearly half a century. The basis for this conclusion has been strengthened significantly since our previous estimate in 2002, particularly thanks to new documents obtained by scholars under the US Freedom of Information Act and other openly available sources.1 We conclude that many of the public claims about the size of the Israeli nuclear arsenal are exaggerated. We estimate that Israel has a stockpile of approximately 80 nuclear warheads for delivery by two dozen missiles, a couple of squadrons of aircraft, and perhaps a small number of sea-launched cruise missiles.

Since the late 1960s, every Israeli government has practiced a policy of nuclear opacity that, while acknowledging that Israel maintains the option of building nuclear weapons, leaves it factually uncertain as to whether Israel actually possesses nuclear weapons and if so at what operational status. Since the mid-1960s, this policy has been publicly expressed—and recently reaffirmed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu—as the phrase “We won’t be the first to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East” (Netanyahu, 2011).

This statement is widely seen as a deception, because it is a long-held conclusion among governments and experts that Israel has produced a sizable stockpile of nuclear warheads (probably unassembled) designed for delivery by ballistic missiles and aircraft. Common sense dictates that a country that has developed and produced nuclear warheads for delivery by designated delivery vehicles has, regardless of their operational status, introduced the weapons to the region. But Israeli governments have attached so many interpretations to “introduce” that common sense doesn’t appear to apply.

Counting nuclear warheads in the public interestBulletin of the Atomic Scientists January 1, 2015 7185-90

While I would expect President Obama not to try to squelch dissent as did our previous President, I can use my reasoning to figure out even the smallest note of disapproval indicates the GOP is overstepping it's Constitutional authority. This is a common sense conclusion and I just want to point out that the stakes are high in this regard following Israel's latest use of it's technology of warfare. Again, these are common sense conclusions. Congress does not belong in foreign policy especially in nuclear arms talks.