Goldberg on Israel-Iran: First Reactions and the Coming Debate

By J.J. Gould
You might expect a story on the prospects and implications of Israel attacking Iran's nuclear facilities to make for a compelling read, particularly with Jeff Goldberg writing. And indeed: Jeff's cover piece for The Atlantic's September issue -- now available on newsstands or in your mailbox -- is already grabbing a lot of attention.

Joe Klein at Time:

I've just finished reading Goldberg's piece about the possibility of an Israeli, or U.S., attack on Israel .... It is terrifying ... and excellent."

Steve Clemons, in a lengthy response at The Washington Note, writes that, while his "gut instinct pulls a different direction than Goldberg's," the story is a "must-read":

What Jeffrey Goldberg has put out for us is an early treatment of what may be Barack Obama's "Cuban Missile Crisis" moment -- in which tensions are high, in which many in the room on all sides are engaged in extreme brinkmanship ....

At Foreign Policy, Flint Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett, though taking issue with Jeff's overall assessment, call his reporting "exemplary." Outside the Beltway's Doug Mataconis refers to Jeff's piece as a "well-written, must read." At Politico, Ben Smith calls it "big" and "scary." And (UPDATE) Fred Kaplan, at Slate: 

Jeffrey Goldberg's article in the latest Atlantic, on whether Israel will (or should) attack Iran's nuclear facilities in the coming months, is the best article I've read on the subject--shrewd and balanced reporting combined with sophisticated analysis of the tangled strategic dilemmas.

Whatever you think should be done about the Iranian program to build an A-bomb (and Goldberg describes his own position as one of "deep, paralyzing ambivalence"), read his piece before thinking about it much more.

Max Fisher rounds up initial reactions on The Atlantic Wire.

Stay tuned:

This coming Monday, we'll kick off a debate series on the issues raised in Jeff's article, with Elliott Abrams (Council on Foreign Relations); Nicholas Burns (John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University); Patrick Clawson (The Washington Institute for Near East Policy); Reuel Marc Gerecht (Foundation for Defense of Democracies); Marc Lynch (The George Washington University); Gary Milhollin (Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control); Karim Sadjadpour (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace); Robin Wright (United States Institute of Peace); Jeff himself; others here at The Atlantic -- and, we hope, you.

Looking forward to your comments.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2010/08/goldberg-on-israel-iran-first-reactions-and-the-coming-debate/61349/