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Striking Syria when the real danger is Iran

By Louis René Beres
As the world’s attention focuses on still-escalating tensions in Syria, Tehran marches complacently to nuclear weapons status, notably nonplussed and unhindered. When this long-looming strategic plateau is finally reached, most probably in the next two or three years, Israel and the United States will have lost any once-latent opportunities to act preemptively.

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Ancient manuscripts and modern politics

By Louis René Beres
Oddly, perhaps, there are striking similarities between Western Epicureanism and Eastern Buddhism. Even a cursory glance at Lucretius, On The Nature of Things, reveals a characteristically “Buddhist” position on human oneness and human transience. Greek and Roman Stoicism, too, share this animating concept, a revealing vision of both interpersonal connectedness and civilizational impermanence.

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Geography, chronology, and Israel’s survival

By Louis René Beres
Modern science has spawned revolutionary breakthroughs in the essential meanings of space and time. Still, such major breakthroughs in human consciousness remain distant from the often overlapping worlds of diplomacy and international relations. This disregarded distance is dangerous, and, potentially, catastrophic. In the Middle East, especially, there is ample room for needed reconciliations between science and diplomacy.

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Israel’s urgent strategic imperative

By Louis René Beres
It is hard to understand at first, but Israel’s survival is linked to certain core insights of the great Spanish existentialist philosopher, Jose Ortega y Gasset. Although he was speaking to abstract issues of art, culture, and literature, Ortega’s insights can be extended productively to very concrete matters of world politics.

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Error, metaphor, and the American road to war

By Louis René Beres
For too long, sheer folly has played a determinative role in shaping US military policy. Before Washington commits to any new war or “limited action” in the Middle East, it would be prudent to look back at some of our previous misjudgments.

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Israel’s strategic nuclear doctrine: ambiguity versus openness

By Louis René Beres
Israel’s nuclear posture is always closely held. This cautious stance would appear to make perfect sense. But is such secrecy actually in the long-term survival interests of the Jewish State? The answer should be based upon a very carefully reasoned assessment of all available options.

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Empathizing toward human unity

By Louis René Beres
According to ancient Jewish tradition traced back to the time of Isaiah, the world rests upon thirty-six just men — the Lamed-Vov. For these men who have been chosen and must remain unknown even to themselves, the spectacle of the world is insufferable beyond description. Eternally inconsolable at the extent of human pain and woe, so goes the Hasidic tale, they can never even expect a single moment of real tranquility.

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The essential human foundations of genocide

By Louis René Beres
“In the end,” says Goethe, “we are creatures of our own making.” Although offered as a sign of optimism, this insight seems to highlight the underlying problem of human wrongdoing. After all, in the long sweep of human history, nothing is more evident and palpable than the unending litany of spectacular crimes.

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A Sisyphean fate for Israel (part 2)

By Louis René Beres
Today, Israel’s leadership, continuing to more or less disregard the nation’s special history, still acts in ways that are neither tragic nor heroic. Unwilling to accept the almost certain future of protracted war and terror, one deluded prime minister after another has sought to deny Israel’s special situation in the world. Hence, he or she has always been ready to embrace, unwittingly, then-currently-fashionable codifications of collective suicide.

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Money and politics: A look behind the news

By Louis René Beres
In the final months of a presidential election campaign, the prevailing political talk, amid an ambience of cynicism and indignation, turns unhesitatingly to money. American voters understand that economics and politics remain interpenetrating. Whatever happens in either one of these seemingly discrete realms, especially when money is involved, more or less substantially impacts the other.

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A Sisyphean fate for Israel (part 1)

By Louis René Beres
Israel, after President Barack Obama’s May 2011 speech on “Palestinian self-determination” and regional “democracy,” awaits a potentially tragic fate. Nonetheless, to the extent that Prime Minister Netanyahu should become complicit in the expected territorial dismemberments, this already doleful fate could quickly turn from genuine tragedy to pathos and abject farce.

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Occupy Wall Street, Adam Smith, and the Wealth of Nations

By Louis René Beres
“Eat the rich.” This palpably unappetizing sign can still be seen at certain Occupy Wall Street demonstrations. Although obviously silly at a literally gastronomic level, the uncompromising message’s sub-text remains deeply serious. Above all, it reaffirms the steadily hardening polarities of growing class warfare in the United States. Plainly, America’s Edenic myth of “equality” continues to unravel before the sobering and relentless statistics of a continuously-entrenched plutocracy.

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On the need for an avant-garde in strategic studies

In an important work of contemporary philosophy and social science, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Thomas S. Kuhn articulates the vital idea of “paradigm.” By this idea, which has obvious parallels in the arts, Kuhn refers to certain examples of scientific practice that provide theoretical models for further inquiry: Ptolemaic or Copernican astronomy; Aristotelian dynamics; Newtonian mechanics, and so on. At any given moment in history, we learn, the prevailing paradigm within a given discipline defines the basic contours of all subsequent investigation.

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Democracy as distraction

By Louis René Beres
In our American republic, democracy is allegedly easy to recognize. We the people seek change and progress via regular presidential elections. Every four years, proclaims our national mantra, electoral politics offer us the best form of human governance. If only we can choose the right person, we will be alright. How could it be otherwise?

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Fears and celebrations

By Louis René Beres
Once each year, on my birthday, I look closely in the mirror, much more closely than on ordinary days. Each year, I grow more apprehensive, of the unavoidable ebbing away of life, of the lingering loneliness that has come ever so incrementally with the death of others, of the gnawing obligation as a husband, father and grandfather to stay alive myself, and of the utterly certain knowledge that there is nothing I can ever do to meet this “responsibility.”

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Israel and Iran at the eleventh hour

Professor Louis René Beres and General John T. Chain (USAF/ret.)
In world politics, irrational does not mean “crazy.” It does mean valuing certain goals or objectives even more highly than national survival. In such rare but not unprecedented circumstances, the irrational country leadership may still maintain a distinct rank-order of preferences. Unlike trying to influence a “crazy” state, therefore, it is possible to effectively deter an irrational adversary.

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