High Stakes Poker

Dear Members and Friends,

 

Over the past weeks, some of the strongest, provocative statements were made from Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta and Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak regarding a potential conflict with Iran over its nuclear quest. To that provocation, Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, made counter threatening statements involving military strikes and action against U.S. Forces, Israel, and allies in the region, including closing the gulf of Hormuz. The escalation of these threats at a public and global level caused the President of the United States, Barack Obama, to deescalate the situation by making specific remarks on Iran in an a pre-game NBC interview before the Super Bowl.

 

“I don’t think that Israel has made a decision on what they need to do. I think they, like us, believe that Iran has to stand down on its nuclear weapons program. Until they do, I think Israel rightly is going to be very concerned, and we are as well”. President Obama went on to say that diplomacy remained the “preferred option” and that administration officials “don’t see any evidence” that Iran had the intentions or capabilities to attack the United States. When asked about possible U.S. military action, President Obama stated in firm resolution, “I have been very clear that we’re going to do everything we can to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon and creating an arms race, a nuclear arms race, in a volatile region.”

 

This series of highly publicized proactive statements can been seen either as real intention to put forward a military solution, whether it be from Israel, the United States, or both countries or it can be seen as a tipping point of diplomatic pressure along with current sanctions to deny a nuclear-capable Iran. No matter what unfolds, whether there is a military conflict or a diplomatic solution, active deployed and robust missile defense by the United States, Israel, and our allies in the Persian Gulf region is absolutely necessary to create stability and prevent conflict now and in the future. An effective and equally robust missile defense is also absolutely required for the protection of Europe and the protection of the homeland of the United States.

 

Secretary Panetta stated clearly, “the consensus is that, if they [Iran] decided to do it, it would probably take them about a year to be able to produce a bomb and then possibly another one to two years in order to put it on a deliverable vehicle of some sort in order to deliver that weapon.” Iran has shown and continues to show through its military industrial base, deployments, and defense expenditures that its primary deliverable¬†vehicles for force projection outside the country are ballistic missiles. Iran continues to invest in, research, and test long-range, intermediate-range, and space ballistic missile capability. Iran continues to deploy close to a thousand ballistic missiles, as they rely solely on them for military force projection against enemies that they perceive would threaten to attack Iran.

 

Deploying robust, layered missile defense systems in this region is part of doing everything we can in this volatile region.

 

For in this game of high stakes diplomatic poker, when the cards are called and all the chips are in, we as a nation, as a friend of Israel, and as a world cannot afford to bluff. There are just too many millions of lives at stake.

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