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Submitted by martin on Fri, 26/09/2008 - 17:13

1. "Israel is completely autonomous, which Sean implies"? I think this is yet another of the "implications" which people see in Sean's article but aren't there at all!

Small states are generally not "completely autonomous" from their big allies. Of course Israel "has an interest - not absolute, obviously, but very substantial - in keeping tight with the US".

However, the immediate reason why the Israeli government approached the US on the question of a strike on Iran is (according to the reports in the Israeli press, and they seem plausible) not just general deference, but (a) that Israel needs (or wants) some special military technology from the US for the job; (b) that Israel needs (or wants) US compliance in order to get through Iraqi air space to Iran.

The "policy of presenting itself as unpredictable and likely to react aggressively to the slightest provocation" is called the "madman theory", though there may be a posher name for it. Kissinger used it over Vietnam. Apparently he would tell the Vietnamese: "Of course, I would never be in favour of nuking North Vietnam. But Nixon? He's mad. He might just do it. So watch out".

2. If the URL I found from PR's website doesn't convince you, check out the one that Sacha has posted. Yes, PR upholds Iran's "right" to nuclear weapons. It may also have tactically wanted to avoid a vote on the issue which it thought it would lose at the Hopi conference, but that is a different matter.

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