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There is an obvious question here: why? Why is the Obama Administration so intent on stopping an Israeli attack on the Iranian nuclear facilities?
There are three answers. The first is ideological, the second political, the third electoral.
First, the ideological. President Obama believes that he is a global leader, and that in order to be viewed as a global leader, he must play “honest broker” between America’s allies and her enemies. That means that if Israel has covert nuclear weapons, Iran might as well have them too – for the sake of fairness, you understand. Obama has made every effort throughout his tenure to reach out to Islamists across the Middle East, from Tunisia to Libya to Iraq to Egypt to Afghanistan – and he has succeeded in empowering Islamists to attack Western interests across the region. In Obama’s “world citizen” view, this is a good thing: if America is willing to subsume her own interests in favor of the interests of others, Obama believes, such international altruism will bear the fruits of peace.
Second, the political. There is something bizarre about using the Defense Department as a leak-source for anti-Israel activity. Typically, the Arabist State Department is all too happy to undermine Israel; the Defense Department, which works closely with the Israelis, is the friend of Israel in the room. But Obama has a political problem: he’s seen as weak. That means he must use the Defense Department as a tool for his pusillanimous foreign policy. Ripping the steel out of the Defense Department’s spine has become a mission for the Administration; if Obama can get the Defense Department to fall in line behind him, he can look the hawk while playing the dove.
Finally, the electoral. Wonder why Panetta said Israel might attack in April, May, or June? Why not July, August, September? The answer’s obvious: Obama is hoping to delay an Israeli strike for several months. If it does happen close to the election, he’ll back Israel’s play to make a stab at the Jewish vote in Florida. It would create a rally-round-the-flag situation for many Americans close to November 6 – a perfect storm for Obama.
All of these considerations undoubtedly came into play. Only one consideration did not: the safety and security of America’s strongest ally in the Middle East. That was a minor matter for Obama and his cronies. After all, when you’re president of the world, what does a few hundred thousand Jews matter here or there?
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