In the New York Times Magazine this morning, an instance of what the Times, on occasion, still does better than anyone else: a comprehensively reported and beautifully written piece on a subject of genuine importance.
The most frightening paragraphs you'll read today:
Barak [Ehud Barak, the Israeli defense minister] went on: “The moment Iran goes nuclear, other countries in the region will feel compelled to do the same. The Saudi Arabians have told the Americans as much, and one can think of both Turkey and Egypt in this context, not to mention the danger that weapons-grade materials will leak out to terror groups.
“From our point of view,” Barak said, “a nuclear state offers an entirely different kind of protection to its proxies. Imagine if we enter another military confrontation with Hezbollah, which has over 50,000 rockets that threaten the whole area of Israel, including several thousand that can reach Tel Aviv. A nuclear Iran announces that an attack on Hezbollah is tantamount to an attack on Iran. We would not necessarily give up on it, but it would definitely restrict our range of operations.”
At that point Barak leaned forward and said with the utmost solemnity: “And if a nuclear Iran covets and occupies some gulf state, who will liberate it? The bottom line is that we must deal with the problem now.”
He warned that no more than one year remains to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weaponry.
Will Israel attack Iran? Can it afford not to do so?