Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Bibi Channels His Inner Dubya
Forget for a moment the unprecedented breach of protocol of one head of state showing up another head of state on the latter's native soil; forget also the obvious political duplicity of an ineffectual Speaker who can't even control his own conference, let alone govern. Forget all that.
Here's the question all of Benjamin Netanyahu's supporters need to answer: where is your plan for preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon? Since we all agree that a nuclear Iran is not acceptable, how do you propose to stop them?
And by the way, just saying "no" is NOT a viable answer. Seriously, I mean it. This isn't some time out you're giving your kid when he acts up. This is a sovereign country with almost 80 million people. I'm fairly certain telling them "no" will have zero impact.
So, now that no is off the table, let's go one by one through all the plan Bs.
Reinstate sanctions? Go ahead, try. One, it won't stop them from continuing their enrichment program; and two, they'll simply trade with China and Russia. Fancy that, Iran trading with our number one economic rival AND our number one military rival. Two disasters for the price of one.
A preemptive strike? Unfortunately, the centrifuges that Iran has are spread out over a wide area of the country. It would be a practical impossibility to destroy all of them. A military strike would have the effect of strengthening the hold the Mullahs have over the population.
Invade the country? Right, just like we did with Iraq. How'd that turn out? Oh yeah, not very well. More than a trillion dollars was spent over the course of a decade and more than a hundred thousand lives were senselessly sacrificed. Mission accomplished!
No, like it or not, the only option that has any chance of succeeding is the one on the table. It's not only supported by the Obama Administration, but by Europe. It isn't perfect by any means and the Iranians will no doubt try to push the envelope. That's why it's important to monitor them and make sure they comply with any agreement put in place. It won't be easy, but then negotiating never is.
Despite what his supporters would have you believe, Bibi is not his generation's Winston Churchill; what he really is is a Jewish George W. Bush. He's a neocon's wet dream and a nightmare for the rest of the world. Let's not forget that this was the same Benjamin Netanyahu who, in 2003, addressed Congress as a private citizen in support of the Iraq War. He was wrong then and he's wrong now.
If there's one lesson the United States should've learned by now it's that toppling a regime is easy; the hard part is installing a functioning government in its place. Enabling Netanyahu on this fool's errand would be catastrophic. It would place this country into yet another no-win scenario. At a time when the Middle East is already badly destabilized - thanks in no small part to our own meddling - the last thing we should be doing is making things worse.