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Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Time will tell

Josh Block apparently believes that if he wishes them away, the confrontations between Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Obama White House will be over. He goes so far as to say that their end is a victory for AIPAC over J Street.
The Obama administration's approach began to shift in the fall of 2011, when the threats facing Israel began to come into stark relief. The Palestinians were refusing to negotiate with Israel, even indirectly, and consistently rebuffed Obama's private entreaties to return to the table. The International Atomic Energy Agency declared Iran's nuclear scientists were engaged in work that cannot be related to "anything other than a nuclear explosive." And Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak worried that Tehran was approaching a "zone of immunity" in pursuit of nuclear weapons capability.

After nearly 36 months of public disagreements with Israel, Obama stepped to the podium at the U.N. General Assembly and turned a symbolic page, delivering an address candid in its appraisal of Palestinian failure and generous in its appreciation for Israel's security needs -- and its consistent efforts in pursuit of peace.

"Israel, a small country of less than eight million people, looks out at a world where leaders of much larger nations threaten to wipe it off of the map," the president said. "The Jewish people have forged a successful state in their historic homeland. Israel deserves recognition. It deserves normal relations with its neighbors. And friends of the Palestinians do them no favors by ignoring this truth, just as friends of Israel must recognize the need to pursue a two-state solution with a secure Israel next to an independent Palestine."

It appeared that reality, experience, and the uncooperative nature of Israel's adversaries and enemies had trumped the White House and its allies' "confrontation" theory. To many in the mainstream pro-Israel community, this was a welcome change in the administration's tone and, in some cases, its policy.
Barry Rubin even believes that the US has now committed to either going to war with Iran or backing an Israeli operation if Iran 'obtains' a nuclear weapon.
What a lot of people are going to miss is not that Israel now thinks Obama is reliable but that it knows he has now locked publicly into a major commitment. If Israel ever were to attack an Iran on the verge of getting nuclear weapons, how is Obama going to bash Israel for doing so? In effect, then, Israel has traded patience for freedom of action.

Obama laid out a very clear chain of events. If and when Iran obtains a nuclear weapon then the U.S. government will support an attack by Israel on Iranian nuclear facilities. It might even join in with such an attack.

This is a commitment that cannot be retracted. It will apply whether Obama wins or loses the election. It will apply if he changes his mind. Some will see his action as heroic; others will see it as reckless. But it makes no sense to see it as false or to nitpick about his precise definition of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons.
Sorry guys, but you're missing another event that is scheduled to take place on November 6, 2012. That's what's motivating Obama. There's still no trust. But Obama realizes he cannot be reelected while he is in open confrontation with Israel - a country whose popularity in the US is at an all-time high. There is absolutely nothing that indicates that things won't go back to 2009 - or worse - after the election if Obama (God forbid) wins.

What could go wrong?

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