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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Obama's real problem

Noah Pollak points out, correctly in my view, that from the Obama administration's perspective, the problem isn't Iran: It's Israel.
The president is perfectly capable of muddling through the nuclearization of Iran. What would create huge problems is an Israeli strike. Obama would have to use the military to keep the Strait of Hormuz open. The “Arab street,” which he has worked so hard to befriend, would burn him in effigy from Algiers to Islamabad. The Zionist-Crusader axis would be denounced around the world. “Optics” are very important to Obama, quite more so than substance, and he would look as though he had completely lost control of the Middle East (which would be true). And once again, the world would descend into the kind of brutal struggle for power that is not supposed to happen during the Obama Era.

Yes, this is the real problem — the Israelis and their dangerous, rigid feelings of insecurity. So in my estimation, expect to see a major effort by the administration to keep the Israelis, not the Iranians, in check. It’s the logical thing to do.
Will Netanyahu stand up to that effort and do what needs to be done? Until the 'settlement freeze,' I would have answered "yes" to that question. Now I'm answering "maybe."

But in the long run, Israel cannot survive with a nuclear Iran, and there will be a lot of pressure within Israel on Netanyahu not to let it happen.


At 4:42 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Either Netanyahu will get the job done or he will be shown the door for someone who will attend to it. The freeze was supposed to give Israel freedom of action on Iran and if Netanyahu can't deliver on a quid pro quo in exchange for such a painful sacrifice, he has no business remaining Prime Minister. In short, its not really Obama's problem; its Netanyahu's problem. He had better act fast - and soon.


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