The Worst-Kept Secret: Israel's Bargain with the Bomb

The Worst-Kept Secret: Israel's Bargain with the Bomb

by Avner Cohen
     
 

"Israel has made a unique contribution to the nuclear age. It has created---with the tacit support of the United States---a special "bargain" with the bomb. Israel is the only nuclear-armed state that refuses to acknowledge its possession of the bomb, even though its existence is common knowledge throughout the world. It only says that it will not be the first to

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Overview

"Israel has made a unique contribution to the nuclear age. It has created---with the tacit support of the United States---a special "bargain" with the bomb. Israel is the only nuclear-armed state that refuses to acknowledge its possession of the bomb, even though its existence is common knowledge throughout the world. It only says that it will not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons to the Middle East." "The bomb is Israel's collective unmentionable---the nation's last great taboo. This bargain has a name: in Hebrew, it is called amimut, or opacity. By adhering to the bargain, which was born in a secret deal between Richard Nixon and Golda Meir, Israel has created a code of nuclear conduct that encompasses both governmental policy and societal behavior. The bargain has deemphasized the salience of nuclear weapons, yet it is incompatible with the norms and values of a liberal democracy. It relies on secrecy, violates the public right to know, and undermines the norm of public accountability and oversight, among other offenses. It is also incompatible with emerging international nuclear norms." Author of the critically acclaimed Israel and the Bomb, Avner Cohen offers a bold and original study of this politically explosive subject. Along with a fair appraisal of the bargain's strategic merits, Cohen critiques its undemocratic flaws. Arguing that the bargain has become increasingly anachronistic, he calls for a reform in line with domestic democratic values as well as current international nuclear norms. Most ironic, he believes Iran is imitating Israeli amimut. Cohen concludes with fresh perspectives on Iran, Israel, and the effort toward global disarmament.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780231136983
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Publication date:
10/15/2010
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
416
Product dimensions:
7.40(w) x 11.80(h) x 1.17(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Avner Cohen is a senior fellow at the Washington Office of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies. He has published on subjects as varied as nuclear proliferation and nuclear history, political theory, skepticism, and Israeli history. He is the author of Israel and the Bomb and the coeditor of Nuclear Weapons and the Future of Humanity and The Institution of Philosophy.

Columbia University Press

Table of Contents

Preface

Acknowledgments

Introduction: Amimut as a National Nuclear Bargain

Abbreviations

1 The Birth of Amimut 1

2 The Case for Amimut 34

3 Israel's Nuclear Path: The Key Decisions 56

4 The Infrastructure of Amimut 88

5 The Citizenry: The Taboo Keepers 121

6 The Democratic Cost of Amimut: The Impact on the Citizenry 147

7 The Democratic Cost of Amimut: Governance 171

8 Domestic Reforms 203

9 Iran, the Fissile Materials Cutoff Treaty (FMCT), and Beyond 214

10 Toward a New Bargain 241

Epilogue 259

Notes 265

Bibliography 333

Index 357

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