Obama needs U.S. debate before making pledges to Israel about attacking Iran

Peter Beinart writes: For years now, Israelis have been noisily debating military action against Iran. And their conclusion, according to polls, is that America should do it. That’s somewhat ironic given that self-reliance — never again putting Jewish destiny in non-Jewish hands — is core to the Zionist ideal. But it’s also quite rational: an American strike would likely set back Tehran’s nuclear progress far more than an Israeli one would. And an American strike would not leave Israel as isolated in the world.

The problem is that back here in the United States, we haven’t been noisily debating military action against Iran. Yes, we’ve watched the Israeli debate voyeuristically. Countless pundits have weighed in on whether the Iranian regime would really risk its own survival to end Israel’s, on what Israel’s military capacities really are, on how Iran might strike back. But there’s been much less discussion of whether an attack on Iran is in America’s interest. And that needs to change.

It needs to change because Israel keeps nudging the U.S. closer to war. During his trip to Washington this spring, Benjamin Netanyahu hinted that Israel was close to launching a strike and reportedly urged President Obama to more explicitly pledge military action to prevent Iran from attaining a nuclear bomb. Obama did just that, rejecting a policy of containing a nuclear Iran and telling The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg that his threat to use military action to prevent Iran from going nuclear was not a “bluff.”

Now Israel reportedly is on the verge of attacking yet again and pushing for an even blunter pledge that America will attack, perhaps by next summer. “They are aiming for a specific thing,” former Obama defense official Colin Kahl recently told The Washington Post. “They may be trying to push the Obama administration into a much greater declaration of red lines, an even more declarative statement about the use of force.”

This is nuts. In our political system, presidents are not empowered to promise to launch wars in backroom negotiations with foreign leaders. [Continue reading…]

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1 thought on “Obama needs U.S. debate before making pledges to Israel about attacking Iran

  1. BillVZ

    Americans deserve a real debate about war now!
    “59 percent of them say they’ve heard either “little” or “nothing” about the issue”

    Super pundit Beinart suggests a debate to inform the public about America’s interests on the issue. America’s interests to be presented form an agenda of topics from safety of American troops (that encircle Iran )to how military action would influence global oil prices and the world economy.
    Nowhere do I see any inclusion for investigation or debate about what these particular interests of America might have on the elimination of the life and destruction of the Iranian Nation- including also the same to the other surrounding Nations.
    To include these catastrophic consequences are hardly of interest to Congress the White House and naturally the other DC pundits and the fawning media.

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