Commentary Magazine


Topic: Israeli airstrikes. Vladimir Putin

White House Official: We’re Making Israel’s Decision to Attack Iran “Hard as Possible”

Most pro-Israel president evuh:

“We’re trying to make the decision to attack as hard as possible for Israel,” said an administration official… he suggested that any Israeli strike on Iran before international oil and gas sanctions take effect this summer would undermine the tenuous unity the United States and its allies have built to oppose Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Privately, White House officials say the coalition would explode with the first Israeli airstrike.

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Most pro-Israel president evuh:

“We’re trying to make the decision to attack as hard as possible for Israel,” said an administration official… he suggested that any Israeli strike on Iran before international oil and gas sanctions take effect this summer would undermine the tenuous unity the United States and its allies have built to oppose Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Privately, White House officials say the coalition would explode with the first Israeli airstrike.

The Europeans have been ahead of Obama on the need to take a hard line against Iran, with French President Sarkozy fuming even during the election that Obama was “utterly immature” and spouting “formulations empty of all content.” So it strains credibility that the White House would actually be unable to hold together “the United States and its allies” in the aftermath of an Israeli strike. What does seem likely is that the administration will pretend to be unable to hold together the coalition, simultaneously selling out our Israeli allies and scapegoating them for the sell out. Neat trick.

It’s probably true that Russia would use the attack as an excuse to make mischief, and perhaps more than a little bit of mischief. Putin has repeatedly warned against military intervention in either Syria or Iran. But the Russians are engaged in broad preparations to militarize their border and protect their allies in Syria and Iran, with Putin taking to the pages of Foreign Policy to blandly explain why. That’s one of the many reasons why the reset is functionally over, and why blaming Israel for fracturing a global front seems a little churlish. Not that the White House won’t do it anyway (“make the decision to attack as hard as possible” and so on). But it just all seems a little bit churlish.

Abandoning Israel in the aftermath of a preemptive strike on Iran would be a purely internal decision. It wouldn’t be forced by external diplomatic or military necessities. It’s just something the Obama people are signaling they intend to do. And if you criticize them, then the president and his water carriers on the Jewish left will blame you for everything from eroding the U.S./Israeli relationship to high gas prices.

The IAEA – just this morning – declared that Iran has tripled its monthly production of higher-grade enriched uranium, and that the “agency continues to have serious concerns regarding possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme.” Tick tock.

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