Global debate rages over the true nature of the regimes in control of
and Israel : are these essentially peaceful but insecure regimes or are they extremist regimes looking for an opportunity to launch a war? Rhetoric and tactics on both sides can easily be interpreted as evidence of the latter. Each accuses the other of being evil incarnate, threatening the safety of the whole world. Iran
To judge the issue, rather than starting from thoughtless assumptions about mad mullahs, Zionist conspiracies, or opponents who are 10 feet tall, one should take the following default position: all societies share certain concerns. Regimes--sometimes being composed of fairly small, regimented groups—may well vary considerably more than the societies they lead. Nevertheless, start with the assumption that regimes share the concerns of their societies. Then, and only then, look for unique features to explain behavior that cannot be explained on the basis of the default assumptions.
Much of the behavior of societies and the regimes that lead (or control) them is explicable in terms of the following rather obvious model: humans want security, independence, and influence. To what extent do these three general factors motivating human suffice to explain the foreign policy positions of the Israeli and Iranian regimes?
Ex. 1 Israeli Efforts to Undercut U.S.-Iranian Accommodation
Such an accommodation would enhance Israeli security and preserve its independence. Indeed, by minimizing the threat to
Something is missing. The model is useful in disconfirming the idea that all Israel wants is security, but clearly a factor omitted from the model needs to be identified: for some reason, it seems that the Netanyahu regime would find very distasteful a Mideast characterized by mutual accommodation, lowered tensions, declining utility of military force, and relative equality among leading countries competing through diplomatic and economic means. Why? Is not this the ideal situation for a small, ethnically distinct country?
The reason seems to be that the Iranian challenge to
A real U.S.-Iranian accommodation will cover many issues. Even on the nuclear issue, the obvious way forward is to establish a set of standards to be applied to all regional countries.
To the degree that any Israeli regime is committed to the expansionist vision of a religiously-pure Greater Israel, it will foment enmity. The explanation for Netanyahu’s efforts to sabotage