People ask me why I posted the address by Israel’s Prime Minister to the Joint Session of U.S. Congress on my blog and why I went ahead to like it on the Facebook page of my blog. And my answer is simple: journalism is not about reporting only news that I like or that I thought my readers will like. Objective journalism demands that I report every news story as it is to my readers, irrespective of whatever feelings it may elicit, and allow my readers the choice of deciding for themselves what side of the narrative they want to identify with. My job is to keep my readers informed about contemporary socio-political and economic issues facing our world. And to provide the platform for them to debate these issues for the good of the society. Ezeocha Post, by the way, is all about promoting informed debate.
Now if you ask me what I think about Benjamin Netanyahu’s address, I will tell you this: it is a political theatrics that amounted to little other than one politician trying to save his own political career by undermining that of another.
Netanyahu broke protocol by accepting to address the Congress without running it by the White House first. And by so doing, he stretched an already tense relationship between himself and the present White House.
Now if his address to Congress has a chance of influencing U.S. foreign policy position on Iran at it were, his dissing of the White House could have worth a peru. But Netanyahu, a Harvard educated politician who is schooled in U.S. politics, knows better than most people that it is the Oval Office that conducts U.S. foreign policy and not the House Speaker’s office. He knows that. He knows that ONLY President Barack Obama can give him the hawkish foreign policy approach towards Iran that he craves for. Yet he presumably came to address the Congress for something that Congress cannot give him. Why?
That brings us to his real reason for coming to America – Israel’s local politics.
Israel’s next general election is on March 17, 2015. And typical of politicians all over the world who during general elections at home, travel abroad to countries of importance to their domestic audience in order to shore up their credentials, Prime Minister Netanyahu came to the United States to shore up his credentials in order to increase his chances of winning re-election. And there is nothing wrong with that practice. It is unfortunate that he has ideological differences with President Obama. It is equally unfortunate that he had to badmouth President Obama in front of the U.S. Congress and the world so as to score political points in Israel.
That notwithstanding, it is important that we focus our attention to the crux of Bibi’s visit and answer the question below unequivocally:
Does Iranian’s nuclear weapons program pose immediate threat to the state of Israel and is President Obama naïve to believe that he can get any concessions from the Iranians on their nuclear weapons program?
It is a fact that Iranians do not like Israel. It is also a fact that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei have said on many occasions that “the cancerous tumor called Israel must be uprooted from the region.” In other words, that Israel should cease to exist.
One thing is for someone to not like you. Another thing is for the person who does not like you to profess his or her desire to have you uprooted, as in gone with the wind. But when this person that does not like you and who have professed his desire to have you uprooted start developing a weapon that can give him or her the ability to wipe you off the face of the earth, common sense and sanity requires that you act to prevent them from ever acquiring that weapon if you actually want to live. Yes, and without equivocation, Iran’s nuclear weapons ambition is a threat to the existence of the state of Israel and should by all necessary means be nipped in the bud before it is too late.
And there seem to be a general agreement between the White House and Israel on this. Where both departed is on how to put a stop to Iran’s nuclear weapons ambition. The Israelis want a preemptive military attack on Iran’s nuclear weapons facilities as they did with Iraq in the past. President Obama, a typical liberal who still put stock in the sanctity of diplomacy wants to give diplomacy a chance with Iran. But as E.J. Dionne Jr. has shown in his commentary, what the Obama Administration is actually hoping for is a postponement in time of when Iran will have its nuclear weapons and not a suspension of the program. That is all they hope for. They are not in any way under the illusion that diplomacy will deter Iran. They just do not want it to happen on their watch. They want the next president to deal with it. And to the best of my knowledge, that was exactly what President George W. Bush did at the twilight of his administration when Israel ramped up pressure on him to either act or give them the permission to send their air force to take care of business in Iran. George Bush refused to act and refused also to give Israel the permission to do so. Just as it has been widely reported that President Obama not only refused this time to give Israel the blessing to act, but went further to threaten to shoot down Israeli jets if they attack Iranian nuclear facilities. That, people of good conscience, is regretful.
Politicians in these days and times lack courage to do right and stand by right. They are mostly worried about the next election rather than governing. Because it takes balls to govern and governing to a large extent requires making tough choices. Tough choices, which many a times are unpopular and could cost a politician politically at the time he makes them, but which if he eventually makes them and stand by them, in spite of political costs, will pay off for the entire polity in the long run.
We lack politicians of the stature of President Lyndon Baines Johnson, a man of courage, who despite the political costs of signing the Civil Rights Act into law, despised the costs and did what was right but what was very unpopular in those days.
As the world’s sole superpower, the United States will always have a price to pay for its global dominance. It must police the world to ensure stability because it is in its national interest to do so. And it must also protect the interest of its allies. Which in this instance are Israel and the most part of the Middle East from a possible nuclear-weaponed Iran.
Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions dates as far back as the Clinton Administration. From Clinton through George Bush and now to Obama, none of these men has found the courage to preemptively put an end to Iran’s nuclear weapons program because of the political costs. But to govern is not a go merry show. It is tough and it is meant for only men who are ready to sacrifice the petty for the bigger picture. Preemptive war will cost little than postponing the war until your opponent has become as powerful as you are. War at that time becomes an expensive venture.
At this stage in Iran’s nuclear weapons program, to militarily take out Iran’s nuclear weapons facilities will definitely have economic costs for the U.S. because, for starters, the outcome will disrupt shipping corridors through which Middle East oil is shipped to the rest of the world, U.S. in particular. But that is a small price to pay compared to having a mutual assured destruction situation between the U.S. and Iran or between Israel and Iran, or worse of all, having a free rein nuclear-weaponed Iran that will definitely run amok bullying the rest of the Middle East into submission to its will.
I can understand the frustrations of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with President Barack Obama. Both of them belong to the opposite ends of political ideology. Israel’s security situation is a talking point on America’s morning and nightly television shows. But Israel lives the terror. America read about the holocaust in history classes. European Jews who mostly made up the present day Israel lived the holocaust. Obama, or any other U.S. president or citizen for that matter cannot fully appreciate Israel’s concerns regarding this Iranian nuclear weapons ambitions because America does not know what it feels like to be a Jewish state in the Middle East and the associated hatred that comes with that. Israel does!
However, I expect President Obama who is a student of Machiavelli, and who have repeatedly read The Prince, to understand that there is something in the character of the theocratic Iranian state that will make it impossible for them to compromise on their nuclear weapons ambition. Iran is determined to have nuclear weapons and Iran will have nuclear weapons. I have in my past essays alluded to President Obama as one of the smartest president the United States have ever had. But if he expects that diplomacy will work with Iran, then he is as naïve as he is smart.
The only thing that can prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear state is a military action by the United States to obliterate all their nuclear facilities or a blessing by the United States upon Israel to do so.
Do you agree with my conclusion on this matter?
Please join the debate and let your voice be heard.
Let the debate continue…