Somewhere today I saw a headline that said something to the effect that Netanyahu was coming to the U.S. to deliver an “ultimatum” to President Obama. He apparently is demanding Obama promise to attack Iran at some precise point when Israel believes it must be done. Can you believe this? Can you believe that some leader from anywhere (in this case Israel) has the audacity and arrogance to deliver an ultimatum to the President of the United States? As the Israeli tail has been wagging the U.S. dog for years, and as the U.S. Congress is blindly on the side of Israel, I guess Netanyahu is arrogant enough to think he can dictate to the President of the U.S.
It is entirely possible, of course, that the headline was unnecessarily exaggerated, and that although that may be what Netanyahu has in mind it need not have been phrased in precisely that way. But there would seem to be little doubt that Obama will be pressured to assure Israel that if the proper moment comes the U.S. will not hesitate to attack Iran. I sincerely hope Obama will not cave in to this pressure.
First, our own intelligence agencies universally agree that Iran is not developing a nuclear bomb. Second, contrary to what Israel and Israeli supporters in the U.S. would like us to believe, even if Iran did have such a bomb they would not be an existential threat to Israel, nor would they even remotely be a threat to the United States. Third, contrary to what some would like us to believe, Iranians are not a bunch of stupid Arabs with no thoughts in mind other than destroying Israel. They are neither stupid nor Arabs, and they did not say they wanted to “wipe Israel off the map.” Fourth, there is no way that Iran can be kept from having the” ability” to make a nuclear bomb, short of the genocide of the entire Iranian population. There are dozens of countries who already have the ability to make such a bomb. Fifth, the Iranians deny they are even trying to make a bomb, and there is no evidence they are trying to make one. To unilaterally attack Iran would be a war crime, just as our attack on Iraq was a war crime. Iran is not a threat to the U.S., not really a threat to Israel, and certainly not a threat to the entire world as the hawks would like us to believe.
Israel apparently believes that if they do not bomb the Iranian nuclear plants soon the possibility of destroying them will disappear as they will be so far underground as to make an attack on them impossible, at least without U.S. involvement in such an enterprise. They also believe that as Syria, an Iranian ally, is presently involved in the equivalent of a civil war this makes Iran more vulnerable than it would otherwise be. Thus they want Obama to make a commitment to bomb the Iranian plants if they themselves cannot do so. In other words the U.S. is supposed to do the Israeli’s bidding whether or not it is in our best interest to do so, the tail wagging the dog.
There is no evidence Iran is trying to produce a bomb. Even if it were to produce one there is no reason to believe they would use it against either Israel or the United States. They have every right under international law to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes and as far as we know they are not enriching it to the point where it would be sufficient to make a bomb. Obviously they might develop the know-how to enrich it further, and probably will, given the fact they are surrounded by countries like Israel that already have such bombs. But having the know-how cannot be prevented by bombing their facilities now. That would at best simply slow them down a bit. Israel and the U.S hawks that support them seem to believe the consequences of attacking Iran would not be disastrous, just, I guess, as the consequences of attacking Iraq would be minimal, with Iraq paying for the “war,” it would be a cake walk, and etc., etc. But at best the consequences would be international condemnation, probably thousands of deaths, untold misery for hundreds of thousands, and at worst would be a disaster of monumental proportions. All of this because Israel thinks they may develop the capacity for someday making a bomb, and presumably committing national suicide by using it if they had it. In fact, Israel knows better and is not really worried about such a scenario. They do not want the balance of power in the Middle East to change and are banking on the fact the U.S. does not want that either. They want to continue being the only nation in the area to have nuclear weapons and to be able to continue their presently unchallenged genocidal treatment of the Palestinians, including their theft of Palestinian lands and water.
Obviously President Obama is in an extremely difficult position. He can either give in to the Israeli demands, and thus allow the situation in the Middle East to continue as is, and be accused of being an Israeli lap dog by those opposed to “war” with Iran, or he can say “no” and be accused of being weak and impotent when it comes to Iran. He will lose no matter what he does and those who want eternal war and more killing, and more wealth for the military/industrial/political complex, will most probably drive him out of office, or at least spare no effort to do so. I think he should say “no,” loud and clear even though it may well spell the end of his Presidency.
This is an absolutely decisive moment in the history of the Middle East. The perennial impasse having to do with Israeli/Palestinian affairs could be solved once and for all and the stage could be set for a permanent solution. It is past time for someone with the authority to do so to make it clear to Israel they cannot continue their colonial, genocidal, unconscionable, and criminal ways any longer. The only person with the authority to do this is the President of the United States. Obama would go down in the history of the world as one of the greatest U.S. Presidents of all time, a martyr to peace in the Middle East and, in fact, to a more peaceful world in general. Giving up the Presidency would be worth it a thousand times over, millions of innocent lives would be saved, trillions of dollars saved, untold misery avoided, and a new program of international relations made possible.
It's not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what's required.
Sir Winston Churchill