Skip to main content

The entire rightwing blogsphere is going into apoplexy today at the news that President Obama has refused to meet Israel PM Netanyahu (and thereby appear to lend tacit approval of Israel's increasing militancy with respect to Iran). The neocons, who last promised us a democratic Iraq and dragged us into two endless, bankrupting wars, have now moved to Romney's campaign and we are beginning to hear voices (did someone say "John McCain"?) that decry Obama's foreign policy stance on Iran.

I, for one, am extremely happy that Obama is showing a backbone (AGAIN!!!) and, very much the US President and Commander in Chief, is keeping US policy options open as opposed to writing the extremists in Tel Aviv a blank check and hoping for the best.

Follow me below the pretzel for some observations.

1. The entire premise of the current craze is flawed... It is flawed firstly because the reason radical Islamists want to destroy the State of Israel is so they can presumably give the territory back to the Palestinians. But a nuclear strike by Iran will make that territory uninhabitable thus dispossessing the Palestinians again, this time permanently. Secondly, given the close proximity in which Jews and Arabs live, would Iran use nuclear weapons, knowing full well that the end result will be the death of tens - if not hundreds of thousands of Arabs. Finally, would Iran dare use nuclear weapons on a territory that still contains Islam's third holiest site (the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem)?

But, secondly, let's assume all this is not enough to stop a nuclearly armed Iran. Would Iran dare face an Israeli retaliatory strike? For the fact that Israel possesses nuclear weapons is not an especially big secret. How big a confidence will Iran have in the precision of its weapons? Suppose they detonated over the territory of Syria or Jordan? But even if they more or less hit their targets (and by the way, there is no way Syria, or Jordan or Saudi Arabia or Egypt will emerge unscathed)... will Iran be willing to absorb Israel's precise retaliatory strike, obliterating its cities and its oil fields? For Israels nukes will arrive on Western-issue guided missiles.

Thirdly, though, Israel's attempt to orchestrate a war against Iran is counterproductive if the purpose is to slow down or stop its nuclear program. In an intriguing counterintuitive essay in the May/June issue of Foreign Affairs (pp. 44-53), titled "Botching the Bomb," Jacques Hymans has argued that dictatorships do not have a good track record when it comes to managing the tricky and complex process of constructing a nuclear weapon. The caveat? Don't make them more efficient and patriotic by threatening them with war.

2. Because of the context of the Cold War and Israel's status as a lone ally in a see of Soviet-sponsored Arab regimes, Israel has always perceived itself and its interests somewhat unrealistically. Therefore, the Middle East has come closest to peace precisely when the United States (under the presidencies of Carter and Clinton) put pressure on Israel and forced it to - you know - realize that the other side has interests as well. It always came as a surprise that when you compromise a little, the other side appears willing to give you something in exchange. Conversely, after 8 years of Bush when the US engaged in an Iraq war, to the delight of Israel and when Israel's atrocious treatment of the Arabs was ignored and in some ways tacitly encouraged perhaps -- think of the all those UN resolutions condemning Israel's behavior that were blocked by the US veto in the Security Council -- peace in the Middle East has become more difficult to achieve.

3. Finally. What has the politics of blank checks done to Israel? Jimmy Carter, that favorite pinata for the right wing, has earned the rabid hatred of "conservatives" both in Israel and the US for daring to publicize the plight of the Palestinians. His book, "Palestine: Peace, not Apartheid" paints a truly devastating picture of Israel as a society at war with itself. In inflicting such untold suffering on the Palestinians, Israeli democracy itself is corrupting its very soul... being to others a power of evil, of apartheid and fanaticism is truly shameful given the Jewish people's suffering at the hands of others all through the medieval darkness of Europe and the unspeakable horror of the Holocaust.

Inducing Israel to stop pretending it is a great power and encouraging it to find accommodation with the Palestinians and its neighbors is, in the end, the best guarantee for the long-term survival of the Jewish State.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Yeah! Iran's going to toast both the Jews and the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    caul

    Palestinians, and then run, laughing, all of the way to the bank?

    How does that work?

    There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

    by oldpotsmuggler on Tue Sep 11, 2012 at 08:26:36 PM PDT

  •  It is about (6+ / 0-)

    regime change in Iran.  It has long been the dream of the Neo-cons, as was described in his "Clean Break" strategy
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/...

    It's not conspiracy, it's not even theory.  It was what fueled PNAC, and all those who constructed the Iraq War - Feith, Wolfowitz - remember them?  

    Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

    by KibbutzAmiad on Tue Sep 11, 2012 at 08:31:01 PM PDT

  •  what "nuclearly armed Iran"? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    emidesu, caul

    The US position is it doesn't exist. But if Romney were elected it would exist. The neocons were not right about there being no genuine threat from qaeda, that it was Iraq's wmd's. Because of the foreign partnerships of the neocons it gets fairly close to treason.

  •  Noam Chomsky explains (5+ / 0-)

    Iran is not the real threat in the Middle East. Chomsky wrote a great piece for Alternet that is a must read. It is called, Noam Chomsky: Why America and Israel Are the Greatest Threats to Peace

    Here are a few excerpts:

    Like its patron, Israel resorts to violence at will. It persists in illegal settlement in occupied territory, some annexed, all in brazen defiance of international law and the U.N. Security Council. It has repeatedly carried out brutal attacks against Lebanon and the imprisoned people of Gaza, killing tens of thousands without credible pretext.

    Thirty years ago Israel destroyed an Iraqi nuclear reactor, an act that has recently been praised, avoiding the strong evidence, even from U.S. intelligence, that the bombing did not end Saddam Hussein’s nuclear weapons program but rather initiated it. Bombing of Iran might have the same effect.

    Iran too has carried out aggression – but during the past several hundred years, only under the U.S.-backed regime of the shah, when it conquered Arab islands in the Persian Gulf.

    And this is actually not the first time Iran has engaged in nuclear development. It was supported for doing so under the Shah:
    Iran engaged in nuclear development programs under the shah, with the strong support of official Washington.
  •  Diarist misses an important point. (4+ / 0-)

    If Iran gets nuclear capability, the danger to Israel - and to the US - is that it would hand off a nuclear bomb to a terrorist group. A nuclear bomb loaded on a truck in the middle of Tel Aviv or New York City would achieve the twisted goal of a militant Islamic group. Consider that Iran has a long history of supplying groups like Hisbollah and could quite likely orchestrate murder by proxy of the Big Satan and the Little Satan.

    For Israel, the danger of Iran getting nuclear weaponry is existential - here today, gone tomorrow. Natanyahu is faced with that dilemma and must deal with it forcibly, overcoming international squabbling  

    •  Pakistan has a nuclear bomb (5+ / 0-)

      and was hiding out Bin Laden....the posession of a nuclear bomb by an Islamic state...does not make that state suicidal...it means however, that maybe the state can keep itself from being taken over by another nuclear state.....

      "Fear is the Mind Killer"--Frank Herbert

      by vmm918 on Tue Sep 11, 2012 at 09:19:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Pakistan has not made repeated threats to (5+ / 0-)

        wipe out Israel, Iran does. When it comes to a life or death situation, any and all threats have to be taken very seriously.

        Is your comment that  

        maybe the state can keep itself from being taken over by another nuclear state
        an innuendo that Israel has plans to use nuclear weapons to attack another state. If so, way off base.
        •  Oh yes it has! If wiki is right that is. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SCFrog, caul, poco

          From Wikipedia:

          n the 1980s, Israel is said to have planned, with or without Indian assistance, a possible attack on Pakistan's bomb capacity. However, this plan was withdrawn when Pakistan threatened to Nuke out Tel Aviv in case of Any Air Venture against it's Nuclear Installations.
          Which means Pakistan's nuclear capability acted as a deterrence against a possible Israeli attack.

          Having said that, I am not in favor of any nuclear-armed state in the world and support nuclear non-proliferation.

          •  Your hearsay evidence is pretty weak. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            auapplemac, volleyboy1

            What is factual is the Israeli bombing of the Iraq nuclear facility in Osirak in 1981. With this bombing Israel has made it clear that it has no plans to take over another nuclear armed country, but will not tolerate the threat of another publicly announced enemy in the Middle East.  

            •  Again read what Noam Chomsky wrote (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              amitxjoshi, caul

              to find out who the real enemy of the ME is:

              Like its patron, Israel resorts to violence at will. It persists in illegal settlement in occupied territory, some annexed, all in brazen defiance of international law and the U.N. Security Council. It has repeatedly carried out brutal attacks against Lebanon and the imprisoned people of Gaza, killing tens of thousands without credible pretext.

              Thirty years ago Israel destroyed an Iraqi nuclear reactor, an act that has recently been praised, avoiding the strong evidence, even from U.S. intelligence, that the bombing did not end Saddam Hussein’s nuclear weapons program but rather initiated it. Bombing of Iran might have the same effect.

              The entire piece is here:

              http://www.alternet.org/...

              Just as a bombing initiated Saddam nuclear weapons programs there is a grave possibility it can do the same in Iran as Chomsky asserts.

              Furthermore read this piece from Robert Dreyfuss

              Perhaps most important, nearly all military analysts, in Washington and in Israel itself, believe that even an all-out Israeli attack on Iran would only not eliminate its ability to produce a nuclear weapon—as stated last week by Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, who said: “I think that it’s a fair characterization to say that they could delay but not destroy Iran’s nuclear capabilities.” Worse, as Israel knows, an attack would solidify the power of hawks in Iran’s government.
              http://www.thenation.com/...
              A strike on Iran won't happen for the following reason (same source):
              By attacking Iran—even in the midst of a US election campaign—Israel would risk angering and alienating Washington, its main patron, in a manner likely to forever change the US-Israeli relationship for the worse. Second, with nearly the entire Israeli national security establishment strongly opposed to striking Iran, Netanyahu and Barak would isolate themselves politically, collapse their own government, and perhaps propel a much more dovish coalition into power. Third, striking Iran would trigger devastating counterattacks from Tehran and its allies, including the well-armed Hezbollah movement in Lebanon, leading to hundreds, if not thousands, of Israel civilian casualties. Fourth, already isolated internationally, Israel would turn itself into a global pariah, a kind of rogue state blamed for the consequent skyrocketing of oil prices, economic carnage and a reverberating military conflict in and around the Persian Gulf that could roil the region for a decade or more.
    •  Unlikely (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ignatz uk, caul

      Above all a portable nuclear device requires a level of technological sophistication that does not come automatically with nuclear capability. Wouldn't some circles in the Pakistani military love to nuke Delhi or Mumbai by proxy?....

      But... funding Hezbollah and providing arms is one thing... handing over a nuclear weapon to a bunch of unpredictable loose canons is quite another... Hezbollah would not do anything anonymously... they would love to take credit ... which means that Iran would be identified as the supplier right away... with all attendant consequences.

      But also... can Iran guarantee that whoever gets the suitcase nuke will use it as promised? And if not - where might it end up?

  •  Pakistan's threats were and still are as to India (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shawn Russell, too many people, caul

    which also has nuclear weapons and doesn't like Pakistan much either.

    The problem with Nos' comment is that Israeli governments, not necessarily the people themselves, have been calling this threat and that one 'existential' for a very long time, and using the threat to justify conduct that no other country would be tolerated  if it did.

     At this point, what they apparently want done is something existentially bad to Iran and its civilians as well. In order to make Iranian nukes existential, you do in fact have to assume that Iran would destroy its own most sacred religious spaces, and such, as the diary indicates, and nobody has demonstrated they are willing to do that, and take all of those Palestinians with them in the process.

     And the point about Iran circulating nukes to terrorists is also tricky, because North Korea has not been subjected to the same conduct even as it distributed nuclear knowhow to Pakistan and others. The question as to why North Korea is treated one way, and Israeli government insists that Iran, which does not yet even have nukes, should be treated another is one which requires an answer before trying to bomb a country hundreds of miles away from Israel into the stone age.

     But we all react as if an Israeli pol calling something 'existential' forgives all sins and bad judgement, and all effects on the various non Jewish persons as to whom such governments hold those views.

  •  My guess is this is all electoral posturing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    caul

    October 2013 is when the next Israeli elections are scheduled, but IIRC there's a good chance Netanyahu could call them early.

    I think US and Israeli neocons are just coordinating their positions and doing a bit of fearmongering and demonizing at the same time. A person can believe that Iran is an existential threat but our glorious leaders certainly do not, and that isn't the reason for all the rattling of sabres.

    Any fule kno the position on Iran has more to do with their decades of impolite resistance against US empire than any real existential threat to anyone.    Incidentally, those who think that AIPAC secretly run US foreign policy are paranoids looking for dark explanations that are, apart from anything else, simply unnecessary - we hate Iran all of our own accord, we don't need the Israelis to hate them for us.

    There is a strange mutual dependence between the hardline extremists in Iran, US and Israel, we have to rely on the fact that they also see this relationship and don't do anything crazy to upset it.

    One last observation: Anything Iran's crazies want to do to Israel: well again, they want it all of their own accord, not to help the Palestinians.  There is no pan-Arab caliphate across the Middle East in anyone's future plans.

    I am not my sig line

    by ignatz uk on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 01:51:17 AM PDT

    •  True dat: (0+ / 0-)
      There is a strange mutual dependence between the hardline extremists in Iran, US and Israel, we have to rely on the fact that they also see this relationship and don't do anything crazy to upset it.
      Each needs a handy demon to justify their paychecks.

      Thump! Bang. Whack-boing. It's dub!

      by dadadata on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 05:21:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If Netanyahu so desperately wants to meet with him (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    caul, dadadata

    then he can amend his own schedule. They're not in town on the same day and why should the President move his schedule around just to suit him? I knew the right wing would have rabid fits over this non-issue the minute I heard about it.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site