Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Transparency Is a Two-Way View

Israeli critics of Iran's alleged lack of nuclear transparency would have a very strong case if Israel were not itself the world's master at nuclear obfuscation. "Plausible deniability," albeit now a bit long in the tooth, has been Israel's official nuclear policy for decades; too cute by half, Israeli leaders amuse themselves by pretending that "don't ask, don't tell" is a legitimate policy for the region's only nuclear power (if we define Pakistan as being out of the region).

If the IAEI is concealing information that would show or even suggest Iranian deception, then it is undermining its critical role as a neutral agency working for the interests of mankind and it should be forced to amend its ways. But Israel has no grounds for complaints until it amends its own ways and starts working for a non-nuclear Mideast rather than Israeli nuclear hegemony.

Mideast nuclear transparency would be a goal worth striving for. The lack of transparency on the part of both Israel and Iran provoke widespread distrust and stimulate destabilizing armament efforts by antagonists. Transparency could offer a basis on which to negotiate a stable regional national security agreement. Israel could make history and seize the initiative (not to mention the high moral ground) by realizing that you can look through a transparent window from both directions.

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