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Pre-emptive stike on Iran would be folly for Israel - by S Fareed Zakaria

We are hearing a new concept these days in discussions about Iran — the “zone of immunity.” The idea, often explained by Ehud Barak, "Israel’s defense minister, is that soon Iran will have enough nuclear capability that Israel would not be able to inflict a crippling blow to its program.

In fact, while the specifics are fresh, this is not a new strategic concept at all. Nations have often believed that they face a closing window to act, and almost always such thinking has led to disaster. The most famous example was Germany’s decision to start what became World War I. The German General Staff believed that Russia — its arch-enemy — was rearming on a scale that would soon nullify Germany’s superior military strength. The Germans believed that within two years — by 1916 — Russia would have a significant, and perhaps unbeatable, strategic advantage. As a result, when turmoil began in the Balkans in June 1914, Germany decided to act. To stop Russia from entering a zone of immunity, Germany invaded France (Russia’s main ally) and Belgium, which forced British entry into the war, thus setting in motion a two-front European conflict that lasted four years and resulted in more than 37 million casualties.

Now, I am not suggesting that an Israeli attack on Iran would have anything close to these consequences. But I am suggesting that it is profoundly short-sighted to base a major decision — to go to war — on narrow technical considerations like windows of vulnerability. Many in Washington in March 2003 insisted that America could not wait for nuclear inspectors to keep at their work in Iraq because the United States faced a closing window — the weather was going to get too hot by June and July to send in U.S. forces. Washington rushed into a badly planned military invasion and occupation in which soldiers had to endure combat in Iraq for nine long and very hot years."

""Hopefully the US and the EU have made very clear to Israel to bury any plans they might have to attack Iran unilaterally, and advised them they would cut off all financial support and aid that is coming to them, vital to their survival, if they act alone, or by "fait accomplis" on this issue.""

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