Charles Krauthammer

It is an important question to ask because it will not be uncontroversial. It will be argued that the Holocaust Declaration is either redundant or, at the other extreme, provocative.

Redundant, it will be said, because Israel could retaliate on its own. The problem is that Israel is a very small country with a small nuclear arsenal that could be destroyed in a first strike. During the Cold War, both the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. created vast and invulnerable submarine fleets to ensure a retaliatory strike and, thus, deterrence. The invulnerability and unimaginably massive size of this American nuclear arsenal would make a U.S. deterrent far more potent and reliable than any Israeli facsimile -- and thus far more likely to keep the peace.

Would such a declaration be provocative? On the contrary. Deterrence is the least provocative of all policies. That is why it is the favored alternative of those who oppose a pre-emptive attack on Iran. What the Holocaust Declaration does is turn deterrence from a slogan into a policy.

It is, of course, hardly certain that deterrence would work on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and other jihadists. But deterrence would encourage rational Iranian actors, of whom there are many, to restrain or even depose leaders like Ahmadinejad who might sacrifice Iran's existence as a nation in order to vindicate their divine obligation to exterminate the "filthy bacteria" of the Jewish state, "this disgraceful stain (on) the Islamic world."

For the first time since the time of Jesus, Israel is the home of the world's largest Jewish community. An implacable enemy has openly declared genocidal intentions against it -- in clear violation of the U.N. charter -- and is pursuing the means to carry out that intent. The world does nothing. Some, like the Russians, are literally providing fuel for the fire.

For those who believe that America stands for something in the world -- that the nation that has liberated more peoples than any other has even the most minimal moral vocation -- there can be no more pressing cause than preventing the nuclear annihilation of an allied democracy, the last refuge and hope of an ancient people openly threatened with the final Final Solution.

Charles Krauthammer

Charles Krauthammer is a 1987 Pulitzer Prize winner, 1984 National Magazine Award winner, and a columnist for The Washington Post since 1985.

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