The Threatening Storm
Stanley Kurtz writes about a new book by Clinton’s chief Iraq expert.
I can only begin to touch on Pollack’s nuanced and well-supported portrait of Saddam, but the point of all this is that Saddam cannot be deterred. Yes, Pollack does believe that the one line Saddam is relatively unlikely to cross is direct and unprovoked attack on Israel or the United States. Although even here Pollack acknowledges important circumstances in which such attacks may indeed occur.
But what Pollack stresses is the terrible danger that, once in possession of nuclear weapons, Saddam will take this as a license to invade Kuwait, and otherwise terrorize the Middle East. The real danger from Saddam’s possession of nuclear weapons is the conviction they will create in Saddam that he can act with impunity in the region, safe in the knowledge that the U.S. or Israel will not dare attack him (for fear of risking nuclear annihilation of their troops).
The frightening scenario described by Pollack, in which Saddam could seize Kuwait and threaten to nuke the Saudi oil fields if we attack, is something I’ve never seen publicly discussed. But as Pollack lays it out, the scenario is all too realistic. A nuclear-armed Saddam taking over Kuwait and threatening Saudi Arabia leaves us with a choice between ceding him control of the world’s oil supply, or of seeing that supply destroyed and contaminated for decades by a nuclear strike, sending the world’s economy into radical shock, perhaps for years.
You might not believe that Saddam Hussein would dare to contemplate such an action, given all the attention now focused on him. Read this book, and I wager you’ll think differently.