Powered by WebAds

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Roger Cohen begs Netanyahu not to 'stymie' Obama

New York Times columnist Roger Cohen, who once insisted that Iranian Jews hate Israel and love the Mullahcracy, is begging Prime Minister Netanyahu not to spoil President Obama's reelection bid by attacking Iran during the campaign. In the process, Cohen actually makes a pretty good case for why Israel should attack Iran this spring or summer.
Netanyahu is tempted to bomb Iran in the next several months to set back its opaque nuclear program and — despite a call from Obama last Thursday and messages from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta — has declined to reassure the United States that he will not. Several factors, Iranian and American, incline Netanyahu to move soon.

The first is the Israeli judgment that Iran is close to “irreversibility” in its pursuit of the various elements — from uranium enrichment to trigger mechanisms — needed for a nuclear warhead. The start of enrichment at the Fordow underground facility near Qum intensified these concerns, as has Iran’s bellicose tone in response to threatened oil sanctions.

Then there is the American political calculus. An Israeli strike a few months before the U.S. election in November would stymie Obama. He would be in no position to express anger given the clout of the pro-Israel lobby, the important Jewish vote in Florida and the fulsome support any Israeli bombing would get from the Republican contender — probably Mitt Romney.

By contrast, a re-elected Obama would, as a second-term president, have room to mark his displeasure if Israel was to go it alone. Because awareness is growing that Obama could indeed win, these considerations carry weight in Jerusalem.

Netanyahu has always portrayed himself as the man standing between Iran and a bomb. A hawk, he has a taste for the dramatic. Israel, in such issues, has already gone it alone once, when it bombed a Syrian nuclear facility in 2007. At this stage, the U.S. and Israeli triggers appear distinct — with Panetta saying “our red line to Iran is, do not develop a nuclear weapon” whereas the Israelis see irreversible nuclear capability as unacceptable even if a weapon is not being made. In that discrepancy lurks danger.
There's one item that Cohen should have added to the political calculus here - perhaps he's not aware of it. The perception here in Israel is that as dithering and ineffectual as Obama has been for the last three years, he would be even worse in a second term, feeling no obligation to protect Israel. That perception makes it all the more likely that Netanyahu will strike Iran before the US election.

Perhaps if we didn't feel that Obama is so hostile to us, things would be different.

But all in all, Cohen makes one heck of an argument for an Israeli attack on Iran before November 2012. I hope Bibi is listening.

Labels: , , ,


At 1:48 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I totally agree with your point of view.

At 3:12 PM, Blogger Empress Trudy said...

What is more interesting to me is that the state now controls the media and gives it its orders. The NYT is (since even before Obama) is a fully functioning arm of the White House. The main media outlets in the US are essentially State Media. Similarly MSNBC is now openly a part of the Obama campaign. Whether you agree with their politics or not it should worry someone that major media outlets now serve exclusively the aims and goals of the government, whomever that government is. And to be fair the NYT was a Bush lapdog in the prior administration even lying under oath to protect them.

At 3:14 PM, Blogger Empress Trudy said...

And yes, stupid American Jews who prostrated themselves at Obama's feet to get him re elected, well let's just say that day one of his lame duck presidency he'll hand the Jews up to Iran on a platter. And when he does, they are so craven, so deluded that even then they will cheer.

At 8:09 PM, Blogger Findalis said...

There is even another argument is that Obama is holding back on Iran in order to give himself an October Surprise.

An attack on Iran a week before the election just might bring Obama the re-election.

If Netanyahu were to attack in the Spring or Summer he would be denying to Obama that last push.

For Israel that would be a win-win situation.


Post a Comment

<< Home