Dave at GR has a great, if short, piece at Ace’s on Netanyahu’s speaking engagement before Congress, and the strategic implications of the Iranian nuclear program.
I’ll leave aside Goldberg’s main argument– he has a fair point that this is a high-risk strategy by Netanyahu– but instead focus on why Netanyahu may feel compelled to pursue this strategy now.
In general, I notice that pieces discussing the Iranian nuclear threat to Israel and the West fail to note the most salient concern: Iran never has to use the Bomb for it to work.
But guess what? Deterrence works both ways: a nuclear Iran will also deter *us*.
via Ace of Spades HQ.
Before the election of Obama, up until 2008, the US policy was generally agreed to be to constrain Iran from producing nuclear weapons, one way or another. That was a generally bipartisan position, though there was a great deal of disagreement as to how to achieve that goal. A unilateral US strike on Iran nuclear facilities? Using Israel as a proxy to strike? Sanctions? Diplomacy?
But the Obama administration approach has never shown any inclination to stopping the progress of Iranian weaponization. They have sought to delay it, but never to stop it.
That leads to the inevitable conclusion that the strategic goal of the Obama administration is, in fact, to deter future US administrations from even the possibility of the use of force in regards to Iran.
One presumes the administration sees this as reducing the risk of future conflict in the region, one less susceptible to US meddling. ‘Tis a myopic outlook, of course. Iran, already emboldened to undertake foreign adventures in Syria, Lebanon and increasingly in Iraq, will surely increase its activities, especially against the Gulf Coast nations. That will almost certainly trigger an arms race, either conventional, or quite possibly nuclear. Saudi Arabia is merely a checkbook away from acquiring a nuclear capability from Pakistan. Does anyone think this would be a prudent foreign policy for the US to pursue, or sit idly by and observe?
There is currently a great deal of hand wringing going on over the supposed usurpation of foreign policy by the Congress, the supposed sole purview of the White House. To subscribe to that view takes a rather superficial reading of the Constitution and of history. Arguably, the Founding Fathers saw a significantly more powerful Congressional role, with the President serving as the point of contact to other nations, in the execution of policies mandated by Congressional legislation. At any event, Congress would not feel so pressed to undermine Obama’s foreign policy if it weren’t so biased against our nation’s best interests.