Is Obama willing to defend US sovereignty?
Benjamin Netanyahu is set to select Avigdor Lieberman as his foreign minister. Lieberman might not be barred from entering the United States but I doubt that he’ll be honored with photo-ops getting a warm greeting from President Obama. As for Netanyahu’s national security adviser, Uzi Arad, he’s unlikely to enjoy much face-to-face contact with his American counterparts since at this time the former director of research for Mossad can’t visit the US. He’s currently barred from entering the country through the use of a statute that prevents entry to people who may seek “to violate any law of the United States relating to espionage or sabotage.”
Meanwhile, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi during a visit to the US took the opportunity to reiterate that the IDF must prepare itself for a military attack on Iran.
If the IDF follows Arad’s advice, given two years ago, this is what UPI reported we can expect:
Israel should threaten to strike “everything and anything of value,” he said.
Should Israel threaten to hit their leadership? Yes. Their holiest sites? Yes. Everything together? Yes, Arad recommended.
Obama and Secretary Clinton (and her sidekick Dennis Ross) can reiterate the obligatory “all diplomatic avenues must be pursued,” but there’s one diplomatic weapon they need to wield soon — before it’s too late: they need to make explicit the position of the United States in the event that Israel decides to act unilaterally.
Would Israeli officials make reckless threats if they didn’t feel assured that in the event of a military engagement between Israel and Iran the US would resolutely stand next to its ally — even if the Jewish state had chosen to act unilaterally?
Their bluster surely rests on their confidence that no administration in Washington has the guts to ever tell them their on their own.
Unless Obama changes that perception, there is a real danger that the US will be dragged into another war, against the will of the American people and its government.
The Israelis need to be shown a red line. If that doesn’t happen, the gravest national security decision to impact the United States will be one in which the US government chose to have no voice.
Many of us familiar with Moldavian affairs see Lieberman as something of a gangster. While Netanyahu was probed for embezzlement by the Israeli police some time back, I do not think him as a gangster as well. I always suspected that Lieberman doesn’t really care much about Israeli policies, given his frequent attraction to East Europe’s darker side, like a strange moth attracted to darkness. So I suspect that– with Israel such an economic wreck and an exhausted killer– Netanyahu realizes that if there is to ever be ANY Jewish state he has to integrate the Palestinians with Israel’s economically– economy more his concern throughout his career than Greater Israel. To my mind, this postponement of political issues while dealing with the sorry economic state of the region, opens new perspectives. Israel would never be wanted in NATO or the EU but, for better or worse, it is a member of the Middle East. It is there considered by many a criminal– but who isn’t? Since Netanyahu is a big strong and straight man, he does not suffer from Ben Gurion’s -Laron-type midget “mensch” complex and does not feel a need to compensate for shortness by insulting his neighbors and pretend that Israel is an outpost of White America. Netanyahu, like Sharon, deep in his secret conversations, sees Israel as a Middle Eastern state that, even under Bill Clinton, could not survive as an eternal fetus on an American $ placenta. He is enough of an economist to know that the $ placenta is now shriveling, given the economic anemia of its source, the US Treasury. Unlike past campaigns, this time he was seeking the votes of Israelis, not only of rich American Jews. The man has a lot of flaws– but is in no way the kind of gangster that Lieberman has proven to be in East Europe, according to very many familiar with him. On the plus side, like Sharon, Netanyahu is brave– even a daring gambler– and very practical. His life as a Sharon Cabinet member taught him quite a lot: mainly, that time is short for both the Prime Minister and Israel. So he will avoid this long Jabotinkyite Zionazi lebensraum route that Sharon took– the old soldier then hoping to slip around everybody to end his life as the great Mideast peace maker. Sharon’s stroke is something Netanyahu carries as a constant reminder of Fate’s fast clock…so was his own repeated short stay in the Premiership. So I would say that he starts out at the same start line as Obama, sprinting to an economic unity with the Palestinians so that they can appreciate the benefits of peace in such a small and barren land as Palestine. ONLY THEN WILL THEY APPROACH THE TWO STATE SOLUTION. All my experiences with both sides warn me not to be deafened by the screaming and blinded by the spitting from both sides. For in the end MONEY TALKS and respect makes people overcome hate in such a desperate situation. Yes, its all very complicated and will start out with very polarized positions. In the end, Israelis and Palestinians both want peace and Palestinians want very much for their children what Israelis provide for theirs. Do not look at how both sides start out now….do not give up either as time is of the essence for both. Shalom-Salam may be at hand….Lieberman is besides the point if only because the US is broke and so are the Israelis and Palestinians. And then, he really is not an Israeli, he’s an East European who came there hoping to do better than he did in the old USSR.