Saturday, August 11, 2012

Memo to Netanyahu: Back off on threats to strike Iran's nuclear facilities before November

The Yedioth article said, without citing sources, that some government advisers in Israel and the United States believed a pre-November strike might “embarrass Obama and contribute to Romney’s chances of being elected.” (From Dan Williams' piece in Globe and Mail, exerpted below)

This is a clear case of Netanyahu going too far, in any covert attempt to sway the American electorate in the direction of his preferred candidate. Not finding Obama "perfectly suitable" does not mean that he is, or has been, or would be an ineffectual executive in the White House. Furthermore, rattling the sabres on behalf of Romney would, in effect, bring hard power so much to the fore in American foreign policy, and link the arms of the right wing, including Israel and the Tea Party, effectively ending the Obama era of sensitive, restrained and collaborative foreign policy, implemented both professionally and courageously by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Attempting to create a climate for increased sanctions against Iran is one thing, but an Israeli military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities would surely bring the U.S. into the fray, and that would be more heinous than the theme of the movie, "Wag the Dog" in which U.S. involvement in a foreign conflict was portrayed to deflect criticism away from a U.S. president in deep trouble at home.
While Israel is, and has always been, an ally and a protected state, under U.S. foreign policy (and Obama has done nothing to erode her privileged position), and while Iran's commitment to the development of fissionable material, whether for energy or for military purposes plus her entanglement in the Syrian conflict are both very disturbing to most observers, there is no justification for Israel to open military hostilities against Iran in a deliberate ruse to secure the election of a Republican presidential candidate as her (read Netanyahu's) way of securing additional power and influence in the White House and in the Congress of the United States.
Such a move is not only insulting to the American people, in even contemplating that such a motive would not become uneqivocally clear to the electorate; it is also blatantly provocative of what is becoming an increasingly complex, delicate and disturbing set of forces unleashed in the region. Obama's steady, sure and restained hand on the tiller of American foreign policy has, for the past three-plus years gained both him and the country an earned reputation of calm, detached, yet engaged influence, respected in the many theatres of foreign affairs that are currently bubbling on the many elements of a very large stove.
As most media reports indicate, if Obama were to run in most world capitals, he would win the election hands down.
It is only in the U.S., in the parochial, paranoid, and quite disturbed back rooms of the neo-con cabal of Tea Party members of Congress, the right wing media, and the cigar-filled rooms of the bank-rollers who fund the PAC's in support of Romney who want less government, fewer taxes on the rich, and quite literally a removal of the meagre safety net for the poor, while at the same time also wanting an increased military deployment of hard power, that Obama is seen as a force for evil. And most people in the world prefer the U.S. to deploy 'soft power' in its role as the only super power still operating on the world stage. This neo-con cabal represents not more than 10% of the American electorate, but, in cash flow and contributions to the Romney campaign, they are a virtual Niagara Falls of green-backs, prompting some of the most deceptive political ads in presidential campaign history.
Memo to Natanyhu: Back off with the pugilistic rhetoric that threatens both Iran directly and Obama indirectly. The world needs another Obama term, in spite of your personal political preference for a second round of George W. Bush-type policies, attitudes and politics. We certainly do know what that was like, and the world cannot afford another dose of that medicine.

Israel wants to attack Iran before U.S. vote: Israeli report Israel wants to attack Iran before U.S. vote: Israeli report
By Dan Williams, Reuters, in Globe and Mail, August 10, 2012
Israel’s prime minister and defence minister would like to attack Iran’s nuclear sites before the U.S. election in November but lack crucial support within their cabinet and military, an Israeli newspaper said on Friday.
The front-page report in the biggest-selling daily Yedioth Ahronoth came amid mounting speculation – fuelled by media leaks from both the government and its detractors at home and abroad – that war with Iran could be imminent even though it might rupture the bedrock ties between Israel and the United States.
“Were it up to Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak, an Israeli military strike on the nuclear facilities in Iran would take place in the coming autumn months, before the November election in the United States,” Yedioth said in the article by its two senior commentators, which appeared to draw on discussions with the defence minister but included no direct quotes.
Spokesmen for Prime Minister Netanyahu and Mr. Barak declined to comment.
Yedioth said the top Israeli leaders had failed to win over other security cabinet ministers for a strike on Iran now, against a backdrop of objections by the armed forces given the big tactical and strategic hurdles such an operation would face.
“The respect which in the past formed a halo around prime ministers and defence ministers and helped them muster a majority for military decisions, is gone, no more,” Yedioth said. “Either the people are different, or the reality is different.”
Israel has long threatened to attack its arch-foe, seeing a mortal menace in Iranian nuclear advances and dwindling opportunities to deal them a blow with its limited military clout. Washington has urged Israel to give diplomacy more time.
The war talk is meant, in part, to stiffen sanctions on Tehran – which denies seeking the bomb and says its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes – by conflict-wary world powers. Israel and the United States have publicly sought to play down their differences, the latter saying military force would be a last-ditch option against Iran.
A Reuters survey in March found that most Americans would support such action, by their government or Israel’s, should there be evidence Iran was building nuclear weapons – even if the result was a rise in gas prices.
But U.S. President Barack Obama, seeking re-election in November, has counselled against what he would deem premature Israeli unilateralism. He recently sent top officials to try to close ranks with the conservative Mr. Netanyahu.
Mr. Obama’s Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, an old friend of Mr. Netanyahu who casts himself as a more reliable bulwark for Israeli security, also visited Jerusalem last month.
The Yedioth article said, without citing sources, that some government advisers in Israel and the United States believed a pre-November strike might “embarrass Obama and contribute to Romney’s chances of being elected.”

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