I have a reoccurring nightmare of my family in Bursa being evaporated into gas by an Israeli nuclear attack. I know this is not entirely rationale, but who ever said dreams were grounded in reason? I return to this blog entry of mine for meditation and prayer until I can sleep again.
When I wrote this I took a very extreme position regarding Israel and nuclear weapons. While what follows may have some hyperbole, it does contain some truths. I think it is difficult to consider a nuclear armed state in a political climate as volatile as the Middle East. The best case scenario is no nuclear weapons in the world, but this is a difficult proposition. So without further ado:
From the Wikipedia article on Mutually Assured Destruction:
“To continue to deter in an era of strategic nuclear equivalence, it is necessary to have nuclear (as well as conventional) forces such that in considering aggression against our interests any adversary would recognize that no plausible outcome would represent a victory or any plausible definition of victory. To this end and so as to preserve the possibility of bargaining effectively to terminate the war on acceptable terms that are as favorable as practical, if deterrence fails initially, we must be capable of fighting successfully so that the adversary would not achieve his war aims and would suffer costs that are unacceptable, or in any event greater than his gains, from having initiated an attack.”
– President Jimmy Carter in 1980, Presidential Directive 59, Nuclear Weapons Employment Policy
“Nuclear use would be catastrophic.”
– 1981, the Soviet General Staff
The old Bible and Qur’an story of David and Goliath is often used as a metaphor for the modern Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Many Americans tend to think of Israel as David and the Muslim world of the Middle East as Goliath . However many Middle Easterners think about the old story a different way, in their eyes the Israeli state is like Goliath and the Palestinians are David. Citing American Jewish and evangelical Christian support  for providing advanced weaponry (e.g. nuclear weapons, F-22, etc.) to Israel as a Jewish-American conspiracy. For example, before 9/11 many Turkish people supported Israel. Today, an increasing amount speak like anti-Zionists perhaps partly due to changes in American foreign policy. Cursing the likes of Ayn Rand as a Jewish-American conspiracy. This seems immoral.
There is no Jewish-American conspiracy. Humanity is just fallen. Today, the Israeli Jews have American weapons and the Palestinians have rocks and weapons smuggled from other Middle Eastern countries . Thus, the asymmetric body count for each exchange. As a Turkish-American, I can understand both sides of the conflict. The modern state of Israel faces immense pressures from many surrounding countries. For a while, Israel has been able to maintain exclusive power over the Middle East via its immense nuclear and conventional arsenal. One day, a country like Iran might get the atomic bomb and the balance of power might shift. For an interesting and inciteful application of Mutually Assured Destruction (M.A.D.) Theory to the Middle Eastern conflict I highly recommend reading the article entitled “Why Iran Should Get the Bomb” by professor Kenneth N. Waltz of Columbia University. For the opposite position, I recommend reading “Ari Shavit’s Countdown: Former Minister Ephraim Sneh Fears Another Hiroshima” by Ari Shavit. These two articles, represent the two logical extremes in the Iranian nuclear weapons discussion.
Just as Islamophobia exists in America, anti-semitism exists in in the Middle East. Both attitudes are problematic, as they represent racism, and fan the flames of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Peace belongs in a war zone. Perhaps God is calling me to learn Arabic and Hebrew as part of my studies to earn a Master of Divinity degree at Princeton Theological Seminary to promote peace in Israel? Since I am paying for it, I would like to do something with my degree that actually matters. Working in the American church is low on the list for a number of reasons. I would prefer to work in the Middle East, my true home. I do not care about biblical Hebrew as much as reading modern Hebrew. I want to be able to read the graffiti of Israeli settlers on Palestinian land. Conversely, I want to be able to speak Arabic to understand the spiritual nihilism that leads to someone become a suicide bomber. I dream of being able to build relationships and promote peace in this area of the world. It would be cool to work for peace in Ramallah, the West Bank, or the Gaza strip. There was a time not too long ago when, under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, Jerusalem was a place where Jews, Christians, and Muslims lived together in peace. I believe that in time, the Israeli nuclear dominance will erode and majority Muslim nations will acquire nuclear weapons. When that happens, Israel may face pressure to become one nation or there may be a threat of a nuclear war. As Turkey did with the Gaza flotilla, Islamic solidarity between Iranians and Palestinians may, if Iran is able to obtain a nuclear weapon, lead to military pressure being exerted by Iran onto Israel. This is obviously a speculation, but given the postulates of M.A.D. it is not entirely unreasonable. I have faith that Jews and Muslims will integrate together as the Blacks and the Whites did in the Southern United States in the 1960’s  and in South Africa in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s . The question is, “How many will have to die for that to happen?”
For further reading on this complex topic (aside from the Bible and the Qur’an) I recommend reading the following five texts and books.
Lastly, I encourage you to read my recent related blog post for a better articulation of why I think absolute pacifism is the only way Homo sapiens can survive the next few centuries in Earth.
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