Tag Archives: Iranian Nuclear Program

Target Iran: A War of Choice or Necessity?

Obama’s Failed Foreign Policy Has Everyone Spinning

There’s a mountain of activity, editorials, blog posts, opinion pieces & think tank rhetoric exploding outward this week regarding Iran. With Obama’s signature foreign policy of engagement crashing & burning, and no direction in sight the spinners are out in force at every level.

American envoys, like Admiral Mullen, Kerry, even VP Biden are & have been shuttling to Israel to hold off any Israeli strike. Sec. Clinton jetted off to Latin America, doing whatever it is she does to unsuccessfully rally for sanctions. On the media front, articles galore delegitimizing strikes as a possible solution..

None of it is on the level

If it were, there would be a credible strategy put forth to counter the military option. But as we’ve seen, the refined fuel blockade combined with IRGC sanctions are nowhere to be found, if anything deadlines which passed months ago are only pointing to sanctions many more months away. Those sanctions are neither a given nor are the odds very good either.

Clearly, the Obama administration is stalling for time, waiting for the Iranian nuclear bomb to become a reality because the President like so many before me have claimed, is rather weak. He was weak on tough engagement, weak on supporting regime change in Iran, and now he’s weak on stopping the Iranian nuclear drive. If he weren’t, the multiple US House & Senate resolutions for fuel sanctions now sitting in drawers nearly a year would have been long ago realities, instead they are blocked by the Administration at every turn..

There are basically three courses open to the Obama administration with respect to Iran. It can do the Full Leverett (drop all pretense of hostility toward Iran and engage them on all issues in the hopes of a grand bargain); it can pursue the course it’s on now, a slow roll of diplomacy towards possible sanctions and international condemnation of Iran that probably won’t alter their nuclear progress; or it can start a war with Iran, which may or may not fully stop their nuclear program but would open the door to a host of consequences, most of them negative.

In contrast to their neoconservative critics, the Obama administration, including senior figures in the military, apparently sees the “hard realities of the world” as mitigating against starting a third war in the Greater Middle East – even if it means conceding some nuclear weapons capability to Iran. Of course, the administration can’t publicly acknowledge this, and so they have pursued the diplomatic and sanctions track, to demonstrate that they are least trying to address the problem.

“Hard Realities of the World”

That above is ‘realism school of thought’ euphemism for weakling, its testament to the overblown Iranian rhetoric. In reality Iran is the weak link, a regime forced to beat its own peoples to remain in power who’s unending glorious pronouncements of strength do little to buttress the fact that the only outlet they have is terror. So far so good, they seem to have terrorized the Obama administration into submission. Unfortunately for him, the American public is a different story..

“Do not even think about bombing Iran,” wrote Michael O’Hanlon and Bruce Reidel in yesterday’s Financial Times.  Pointing out that the US has two unpopular and unfinished wars in the region already, and that the damage from any military strikes on the Islamic Republic would be unlikely to do enough damage to its nuclear program to justify the military and political cost, and also that Iran would have many opportunities to retaliate against US interests in the region, they urge President Obama to take this option off the table completelyLiving with a nuclear Iran won’t be fun, but it’s better than the alternatives, so let’s start making plans for the inevitable.

I actually agree with O’Hanlon and Reid that military strikes against the Iranian nuclear program aren’t likely to get us anywhere good, but that doesn’t mean we can stop thinking about them. Sixty-one percent of Americans asked called Iran’s strength a ‘critical threat’ in a Gallup poll last month;  an additional 29 percent said the Iranian threat was ‘important.’  With 90 percent of the public feeling threatened by Iran — at a moment when nothing special was happening — it’s not clear to me that domestic politics will allow the Obama administration to steer clear of hostilities with Iran even if it wants to. [...]

The Israel Factor

It is worth noting that many of those advocating strategies of retreat are the same people who so boisterously argued for engagement, their track record leaves much to be desired. They argued for shelving the military option before engagement, that worked well as we’ve seen. Now they argue for shelving the military option after engagement.. One begins to suspect their true goal is not solving the Iranian nuclear riddle – But merely shelving the military option at all costs. Good luck with that.

All these pundits may want to stack the shelves & put things in drawers, but those same ‘Hard Realities of the World’ are also in operation in Israel. Here those realities tend to be even harsher than they appear in the local American think tank, filled with lazy chairs & academic tenures. Obama may be trying to stall, his advisers may even think he’s succeeding. Kerry quipped in Israel this week how the US & Israel are on the same page. But he was speaking in the language of fuel sanctions which Israelis understand.. So far, it’s a dialect Obama seems to be unable to comprehend.

A War of Choice or Necessity?

So are we all really on the same page? It doesn’t look like it, but sooner rather than later we are all going to find out. I suspect those flimsy locks on the military engagement drawers won’t stop Israel from doing whatever it deems necessary. Therein lies the rub, those opposed to using every tool in the arsenal cast this as a war of choice, just like Iraq they might argue.

Sadly they are gravely mistaken in my opinion. Here in Israel where the threat is seen a existential in every way – Stopping Iran’s drive for nuclear weapons is a war of necessity, not choice. If Obama keeps stalling and we start shooting, the Iranians themselves will force the President to quickly realize just how wrong many of his advisers often are. With American support for Israel at record highs, and anathema for Iran in similar territory - He may not have that luxury of choice, if or when Iran attacks American interests.

Then the question inevitably becomes – Does America want to strike on its terms, or Iran’s?

Divergence on Iran: Obama Needs to Play Catch-up With Americans; As Usual

He’s President of The United States of America, Not MoveOn.Org

 New polling out confirms previous American attitudes on Iran & reveals yet another core issue on which the President is seemingly off the mark compared to his constituents, the American people. But first, the previous numbers relating specifically to striking Iran militarily.

In May I posted about Rasmussen polling which showed American support for Israel vs Iran was going up, in contrast to the harsh tones coming out of the Obama Administration relating to Israel..

With the screws ever tightening between Washington & Jerusalem and Obama looking to seemingly squeeze the Jewish nation, Americans polled show increasing support numbers for their ally Israel facing an Iranian threat. Rasmussen reports a fairly dramatic 7% poll lift for Israel since last summer on the question of military force, and the USA coming to assist Israel should we be forced to strike..

Forty-nine percent (49%) of Americans say that if Israel launches an attack against Iran, the United States should help Israel. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 37% believe the United States should do nothing while just 2% believe the U.S. should help Iran. Last summer, just 42% said the United States should help Israel while 46% said the nation should do nothing.

Sixty-four percent (64%) of Republicans say that the U.S. should help Israel as do 50% of those not affiliated with either major political party. A plurality of Democrats (44%) say that the U.S. should do nothing. [...]

On the question in general of American priorities, again our allies showed strong predilection for stopping Iran, and not just for Israel’s sake. Americans polled previously viewed Iran as the number one foreign policy threat to the United States of America specifically due to the nuclear threat.

Stopping Iran is considered by American voters top priority, and this informed public has come to the realization it may be up to its ally Israel should other efforts fail. If that is the case, Israel requires both American moral support & assistance which numbers show are forthcoming overall from our American friends on the military front.

Sixty-six percent (66%) of all voters now say that preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons is more important than preventing war between Iran and Israel. That’s up fourteen percentage points from 52% last July.

Just 23% now say preventing war between Iran and Israel is more important than stopping Iran from getting nuclear weapons

Iran is racing ahead toward nuclear weapons.

With Obama’s Administration lording & linking Palestinian issues over Israel as a pre-requisite for assisting its ally, these numbers and American opinion are crucial. If we are forced to strike, the chances of success are magnified exponentially with our ally’s quiet assistance. Israel has already made major concessions in the quest for peace under Netanyahu, but to date we have not seen Obama become more forceful on Iran despite the glaring failures apparent to all with his much hyped ‘engagement strategy’.

New Numbers Show Americans Again Standing Up to Iran – Where is Obama?

On the topic of averting strikes through strong non military means involving sanctions or fuel blockades, Americans speak out loudly in overwhelming numbers leaving the President in their dust & significantly out to lunch for months now. The Israel Project has new polling out which confirms trends seen previously via Rasmussen’s polling.

New Bipartisan Poll on Iran

According to a new poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and commissioned by The Israel Project:

• 81 percent of American voters believe Iran is a serious threat to U.S.
• Two-thirds support proposal to “prevent any company doing business in the United States if that company provides Iran with refined petroleum.”

Washington, D.C. – A new bipartisan poll (Word document, PowerPoint) commissioned by The Israel Project (TIP) shows that an overwhelming number of Americans (81%) believe that Iran poses a serious threat to the United States, and that the international community should prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons (86%).

Further, Americans agree (84%) that “even with all the problems the nation faces here at home, we must still work hard to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons.”

TIP Founder Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi noted that, “While we may be mired in a recession and focused on the nation’s health care debate, there is no lack of concern among Americans about the potential threat posed by a nuclear Iran.”

Among possible approaches to deal with Iran, Americans favor a combination of approaches — supporting opposition groups in Iran that are working for democracy and human rights (86%), initiating direct talks between the U.S. and Iran (76%) and expanding UN economic and diplomatic sanctions (81%).

Most interesting was the two-thirds support given by Americans to a proposal to “prevent any company doing business in the United States if that company provides Iran with refined petroleum.” [...]

Indeed, it appears that for Americans – Whether it be strong upped sanctions & possible fuel blockades; or supporting Israel if it feels the need to avert an existential Iranian nuclear threat.. The support is there and often overwhelmingly so.

As I posted previously, there are Senate & House bills proposed which allow the President to implement precisely these forms of sanctions awaiting Obama’s go ahead. They have been sitting around since April in the drawer.

Meanwhile, pressure is brought to bear on Israel as opposed to on Iran?

This has been the case for 7 months now despite the evident failures this strategy has produced. Why is the American President so divergent from the American people on these issues? What has he been waiting for?

Obama made so much of former President Bush’s inability to admit he was wrong while out on the campaign trail. Yet the not so new any longer American President shows a surprising amount of ego & arrogance when he has to date exhibited.. More of the same.

When do we get to see Mr. Gibbs stand up at the podium and tell the American people & the rest of the World that the President’s engagement strategy has to date  failed, and that instead of blindly appeasing Iran; the President is going to try appeasing the American people a bit instead?