Before this interview aired, the snippets that were being used to promote it focused on two points: that Dagan was attempting to slow down Netanyahu’s rush to war and that he recognizes the Iranians as rational actors.
It turns out he has a much more mixed message. Dagan’s is like Gingrich’s “anti-war” message: there’s not much point bombing nuclear facilities when the real goal should be regime change.
As for Iranians being rational actors, Dagan says “maybe not exactly rational based on what I call Western thinking,” and that “they invented what I call the bazaar culture of negotiations.”
In response to the question, why can’t Israel and the world live with a nuclear Iran if they are rational, Dagan’s answer is because Iran is bent on Israel’s destruction. Predictably, Lesley Stahl fails to ask the utterly obvious follow-up question: how could a nuclear-armed Iran risk its own destruction by attacking a much more heavily armed Israel?
Worst of all, Dagan alludes — with a grin — to Israeli support for Iran’s pro-democracy movement. This is plain stupid. What better way is there to undermine the movement than to hint that it’s getting Israeli support.
On balance, I’d say it might have been better if Dagan had maintained Mossad’s code of silence.