In the spring of 2012, when I wrote The Last Israelis, I thought the pessimistic premise of my cautionary tale on Iranian nukes was grounded in realism. I had imagined a U.S. president who passively and impotently reacted to Iran's nuclear ambitions, leaving it to tiny Israel to deal with the threat. But something far worse is happening: The Obama administration is actively making it harder for Israel to neutralize Iran's nukes and more likely that Iran will develop a nuclear arsenal.
Obama's desperately eager posture toward the smiling mullahs has doomed any negotiation to failure by signaling the U.S. fears confrontation more than anything else. Obama's pathetic approach to the world's most pressing national security threat also makes U.S. military action virtually impossible from a public relations and diplomatic standpoint because it promotes the naive idea that more diplomacy will resolve what a decade of talking hasn't. And as long as the Iranians are "talking," world opinion will also oppose an Israeli military strike—so naturally Iran will find ways to keep talking until it's too late for Israel to act.
Obama has been downright duplicitous toward key Mideast allies. When in campaign mode or speaking to Israel supporters, Obama emphatically rejected containment as a policy option for dealing with Iranian nukes. But he's now taking steps that effectively make containment the only option available (while repeating the same empty reassurance that he has Israel's back and won't be duped by the smiling Iranians).
And despite repeated assurances from Secretary of State John Kerry that "no deal is better than a bad deal," the current Geneva talks appear headed towards precisely that: a bad deal that leaves Iran with the very nuclear breakout capability that a diplomatic "solution" was supposed to prevent.
On the other hand, after Obama's weak response to Syria's crossing of his "red line" against the use of chemical weapons, the threat of U.S. force against Iranian nukes lost all credibility, making it even harder to change Iranian nuclear behavior without force. So containing the mess produced by weak negotiations is really all that's left of Obama's Iran "strategy."
Only epic ineptitude or anti-Israel hostility no longer checked by reelection considerations can explain Obama's moves on Iran. And the stakes couldn't be higher for the rest of the world. After all, if Iran is the world's biggest state sponsor of terrorism without nuclear weapons, what will terrorism look like once Iran goes nuclear? And there are already hints of the nuclear proliferation nightmare that will follow Iran's nuclearization: Saudi Arabia has Pakistani nukes already lined up for purchase. Remarkably, Obama has known this since 2009 and apparently doesn't care about that consequence any more than he does about Israel's security. How else to explain his acceptance of the dreadful Geneva proposal granting Iran a nuclear weapons capability?
Exacerbating an existential threat against Israel is bad enough, but Obama has been an abysmal ally in other respects. Despite being history's most aggressive president to punish leakers (except when they make him look good), Obama's administration has repeatedly leaked sensitive Israeli information that could have easily provoked a Syrian-Israeli war. Obama summarily dumped a decades-long alliance with Egypt (that is also key to Israeli security) over some Egyptian state violence that is dwarfed by the decades-long brutality and terrorism of the Iranian regime now enjoying Obama's overzealous courtship. And Obama's image as a multilateralist who subordinates U.S. interests to higher principles has been exposed as a fraud following reports that he knew the U.S. was spying on close European allies (contrary to his denials).
As if Israel didn't face enough threats and challenges, it must now survive the Obama nightmare until he's out of office in 38 months. With Israel isolated like never before, thanks to Obama, the stark choices facing Israel's leadership are unimaginably difficult. With roughly 75 times more territory, 10 times as many people and two times as big an economy, Iran is a Goliath compared to Israel and has repeatedly threatened to destroy it. So what does David (Israel) do now that Obama's perfidy has been exposed? If the neighborhood bully is bigger than you, has threatened you and is reaching for a bat, do you preemptively attack him before he gets the bat and becomes even more dangerous?
Noah Beck is the author of The Last Israelis, an apocalyptic novel about Iranian nukes and other geopolitical issues in the Middle East.
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