In This Review

Israel's Nuclear Dilemma
Israel's Nuclear Dilemma
By Yair Evron
Cornell University Press, 1994, 312 pp.

One of Israel's leading strategic thinkers joins an important discussion with an eminently sensible book that asks how nuclear weapons will affect Middle East politics and how Israel should deal with its undisclosed option. Evron sees proliferation of nuclear weapons in the Middle East as a grave development. He is skeptical of those who draw parallels between the seeming stability of the superpower nuclear balance and what would occur in the Middle East if several powers possessed nuclear weapons. He has little patience with those in Israel who have urged greater reliance on a declared nuclear option for deterrence purposes. This, he believes, would make further proliferation inevitable.

He sides with those who would maintain an ambiguous option for purposes of last-resort deterrence and to counter any nuclear weapons that might end up in the hands of other regional powers. But if ever faced with the choice of abandoning nuclear weapons as the price for a nuclear-free Middle East or keeping nuclear weapons in a region of similarly armed neighbors, Evron contends that Israel would be better off without nuclear weapons.