“Don’t Like That Israel Has the Bomb? Blame Nixon.”
Foreign Policy, September 12, 2014
“In the summer of 1969, Richard Nixon’s administration was absorbed in a highly secret debate: how to address the diplomatic, strategic, and political problems posed by Israel’s emergent nuclear weapons program. Leading those discussions were senior Defense Department officials who believed that a nuclear-armed Israel was not in U.S. interests — it would dangerously complicate the situation in an already dangerous region, they argued. … Despite the arguments for strong pressure on Israel, Nixon took the opposite path. … Moreover, Nixon endorsed Rabin’s suggestion to leave the issue for his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir a few weeks later. … [T]he Israelis did not need to worry about a confrontation, as Meir would learn personally when she met with Nixon in September. At that meeting, which left so far almost no public paper trail, the two leaders made a secret deal that tacitly recognized the undeclared reality of nuclear Israel: The United States would accept Israel’s nuclear status as long as Israel did not acknowledge it publicly. Today, 45 years later, that secret understanding is still the foundation for nuclear relations between the United States and Israel. This policy has never been confirmed by either side — and both countries abide by its fundamentals, regardless of whether the tacit agreement is outmoded and inconsistent with international nonproliferation interests.”
Quickie Analysis: An interesting article, based on recently declassified documents published today, about the debate that took place — and didn’t — in the US over Israel’s nuclear ambitions.