Events are fast pushing Israel toward a pre-emptive military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities That strike could well fail. Or it could succeed at the price of oil at USD 300 a barrel, a Middle East war, and American servicemen caught in between.
President Obama can’t outsource matters of war and peace to another state. So why is the Obama administration doing everything it can to speed the war process along?
At July’s G-8 summit in Italy, Iran was given a September deadline to start negotiations over its nuclear programs. Last week, Iran gave its answer: No.
Instead, what Tehran offered was a five-page document that was the diplomatic equivalent of a giant kiss-off. It begins by lamenting the «ungodly ways of thinking prevailing in global relations» and proceeds to offer comprehensive talks on a variety of subjects: democracy, human rights, disarmament, terrorism, «respect for the rights of nations» and other areas where Iran is a paragon.
Conspicuously absent from the document is any mention of Iran’s nuclear program, now at the so-called breakout point, which both Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his boss Ali Khamenei insist is not up for discussion.
What’s an American president to do in the face of this nonstarter of a document?
What else, but pretend it isn’t a nonstarter. Talks begin Oct. 1.
All this only helps persuade Israel’s skittish leadership that when President Obama calls a nuclear-armed Iran «unacceptable» he means it approximately in the same way a parent does when fecklessly reprimanding his misbehaving teenager.
That impression is strengthened by Mr. Obama’s decision to drop Iran from the agenda when he chairs a meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Sept. 24. By Defense Secretary Robert Gates publicly opposing military strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities; and by Russia’s announcement that it will not support any further sanctions on Iran.
In sum, the conclusion among Israelis is that the Obama administration won’t lift a finger to stop Iran, much less will the «international community». So Israel has pursued a different strategy, in effect seeking to goad the U.S. into stopping, or at least delaying, an Israeli attack by imposing stiff sanctions and perhaps even launching military strikes of its own.
Thus, unlike Israel’s air strike against Iraq’s reactor in 1981 or Syria’s in 2007, both of which were planned in the utmost secrecy, the Israelis have gone out of their way to advertise their fears, purposes and capabilities. They have sent warships through the Suez Canal in broad daylight and conducted widely publicized air-combat exercises at long range. They have also been unusually forthcoming in their briefings with reporters, expressing confidence at every turn that Israel can get the job done.
Source: Comment in Wall Street Journal.