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Israel is Not the Threat, Mr. Obama. Iran is.

April 4, 2012 11:27 am 3 comments

President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meet in the White House on March 5, 2012. Photo: White House photo.

The Obama administration appears to be conducting an organized campaign of public pressure to stop Israel from attacking Iran’s well-developed nuclear-weapons program. So intense is this effort, and so determined is President Obama to succeed, that administration officials are now leaking highly sensitive information about Israel’s intentions and capabilities into the news media.

The president’s unwillingness to take preemptive military action against Tehran’s nuclear efforts has long been evident, notwithstanding his ritual incantation that “all options are on the table.” Equally evident is his fixation to ensure that Israel does not act unilaterally against Iran, a principal reason why Washington’s relations with Jerusalem are at their lowest ebb since Israel’s 1948 founding.

Indeed, the only conclusion to be drawn from Mr. Obama’s actions and rhetoric is that he fears an Israeli military strike more than he fears Iran achieving nuclear-weapons capability.

Current and former Obama advisers have repeatedly contended that a satisfactory negotiated outcome is possible, one where Iran will continue to develop a “peaceful” nuclear capability under international monitoring. How they can cling to this belief after years of Iran deceiving the International Atomic Energy Agency, going so far as to demolish buildings and excavate and remove thousands of cubic yards of rock and soil to try to conceal traces of radiation, is hard to fathom. Nonetheless, Team Obama still believes that Iran’s military-theocratic regime is capable of holding Pandora’s box but never opening it.

Equally disconcerting, administration officials, past and present, argue that a nuclear-capable Iran can be contained and deterred. Although Obama himself insists that containment is not his policy, I believe that assertion is true only in a limited sense: It is not his policy today. It is his policy for tomorrow, his Plan B, after the current sanctions and diplomacy fail to stop Iran. This is perhaps even more delusional than dreaming about Iran benignly pursuing “atoms for peace.”

Deterrence against the Soviet Union worked precariously and unnervingly at times, with some very narrow escapes from catastrophe, only because of a confluence of calculations between Washington and Moscow. There is no realistic prospect that Tehran’s religious autocracy will develop the same calculus of caution.

Still worse, even if Iran could be contained and deterred, there will undoubtedly be wider proliferation in the Middle East once Iran achieves nuclear weapons. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton herself has said that a weaponized Iran certainly means that Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, and perhaps others will seek their own nuclear capabilities. Thus, in a relatively short period, five to 10 years, there could be half a dozen or more nuclear-weapons states in the region.

Accordingly, stopping Iran from getting nuclear weapons in the first place must be America’s top priority. The prolonged failures of diplomacy and sanctions have brought the United States to the point where, realistically, there are only two alternatives: Either Iran’s mullahs get the bomb, or someone stops them militarily beforehand. This is the dilemma that leads Obama to pressure Israel against even thinking about the second alternative.

Three years of merciless private pressure against Israel having obviously failed to extract a commitment not to use force, the Obama administration looks to have determined two months ago to go public.

The first salvo was Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s assertion that Israel might well strike Iran between April and June of this year. Nothing like letting the target know when to expect the attack.

Next came leaks to an author at Foreign Policy magazine’s Web site that Israel had secured basing rights from Azerbaijan, on Iran’s northern border, for possible use during a campaign against Tehran’s weapons program.

Launching strikes just a few hundred miles away from several likely targets – such as the Isfaham uranium conversion facility and the Natanz uranium enrichment plant – rather than having to attack from domestic airfields would give Israel both enormous tactical surprise and a critical leg up logistically.

One can assume with some confidence that Iran was not focused on the risk of Israeli bases in Azerbaijan, so hearing about it from US administration sources is a gift almost beyond measure. And one can also confidently assume that if that leak is not enough to make Israel bend its knee, more public revelations directed by the White House are only a matter of time.

Even now, Obama advisers could be revealing additional information to other governments behind closed doors. Perhaps we could ask Dmitri Medvedev.

Not only is this not the way to treat a close ally facing an existential challenge, it is directly contrary to America’s national interests. Israel is not the threat, Mr. President: Iran is.

John Bolton, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, served as US ambassador to the United Nations in 2005-06.

This article originally appeared in the Christian Science Monitor.


  • I want freedom, truth and the right to be a Christian without having to fight my own government and muslims.
    How about you?
    Now is the time to stand up for our country and speak. That time will soon come to an end if you remain quiet and say nothing or do nothing. Join me and re-post or share. Get the word out before you have to get your gun out.
    This country needs change and I am talking about Obama and his UN. NWO. Puppet cronies.
    Everyone is in such a big hurry to replace BO. that they are willing to accept the bones the UN throws them. And that includes Newt and Romney, both RINOs and both UN. NWO. (New World Order) puppets, republican style. They are no more than UN. NWO. replacements for BO. They are set up specifically to carry on the UN. agenda of moving the USA towards the UN. socialist NWO. Other than titles (Republicans) they are no different than the Democrats. They carry the same agenda. (THEY ARE RINOs) As a nation we DO NOT NEED A RE-RUN OF OBAMA REPUBLICAN STYLE.
    This election is not about Romney or Newt. It is about saving the country and its Constitution or losing it. If we do not work and vote for a President who will work for the US. and its Constitution which protects us from and against the UN. Fed. and NWO. We can kiss the country good bye. You will have no rights.
    If the country goes broke its sovereignty and Constitution gets flushed down the toilet and you are left with a socialist, aka communist NWO.
    It is time to vote for the country and not for the UN. Fed. or NWO. and get rid of their puppets embedded in our government.
    I for one have no desire to be “a good NWO. Citizen” as Newt has speculated. Is Romney care any better than Obama care? Both are puppets for the NWO and UN.
    Presently you and your family have a Bill of rights and Constitution. That alone protects you from those who would pass bills in the nature of NDAA. robbing you of all due process of law.
    It is past time to protect that Constitution and your rights (or) consider becoming “a good NOW citizen” with no rights.
    The Fed. the UN and the NWO has to go and the only politician that stands against them is Ron Paul.
    While I may not agree with everything R. Paul stands for I do agree on the main points.
    Point is, (Unless we get rid of the Fed, the UN and the NWO. and its puppets we as a nation are done for).
    We as a country are broke and hurting.
    History does not have to repeat itself if people will wake up, get up and work for their country and it’s Constitution.
    It is time to stop being a suckered for the pretty boys and the press that promise change and give you socialism (aka.) communism or progressives. We need to get rid of the weeds and pull out its roots or we are back in the same mess again. Protect your Constitution and your Bill of rights.”
    A vote Ron Paul is a vote for freedom. A vote for anyone else is a vote for the UN. and a socialist NWO.
    If you agree please share and re-post.

    Our government is now run by the UN. Look up names of those elected officials who belong to UN organizations and are following UN. mandate, (agenda 21). Vast tracts of BLM (Beau row of Land Management) or what use to be public lands are being closed now as a result. Land that is owned by the state and public has become the property of the Feds and the UN.
    Most water and ocean and fishing rights come under the authority of the CFR. (Counsel of Foreign Relations) Fed. agencies like the Forest Service and EPA are UN. Mandated and force on the people by under the table closed door legislations. More laws we know nothing about until you get clobbered by them.
    And on it goes. The intent is that eventually there will be no private property ownership The Socialist NWO which is UN. will see to it through our elected officials. The land and its resources belong to the state, not the people. (Communism)
    Ron Paul is the only person left that I can see who is legit and will work to protect Constitution rights. I have no regrets or sorrow about what I posted. As a Christian and follower of Christ I look at the mess this country is in and unless freedom is restored we will all suffer. A vote for Ron Paul is a vote for freedom. A vote any other way is a vote for a socialist NWO.

  • John Bolton for president!

  • Dealing with Iran anxiety (Ynet)

    The problem with this sociological analysis is that if a group of people suffers from a collective state of denial reinforced by tribal/nationalistic groupthink then all the members of that group may not be able to come up with the correct solution to the existential threats facing that group. They are so stuck in a limited frame of reference they can’t think outside of the box. The same phenomenon is presented in the 1997 film “The Cube”. So this report is dangerous because it somehow sanitizes and perpetuates this dangerous level of denial. BTW, there is a solution to the current Iran/West imbroglio…

    All parties to attend a reconvened NPT Conference in Jerusalem by the end of 2012.

    P.S. In the movie, the main person who solves the problem and leads the way is the mathematician. As all the readers will be aware a Rubik’s Cube can always be solved in twenty moves, no matter what the configuration, if the right algorithm is in place.

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