|Obama needs to provide real answers to Netanyahu’s arguments – The Washington Post The White House has yet to offer a serious response to the Israeli leader’s concerns.|
The Washington Post Editorial Board has completely jumped the shark with their demand that Obama provide “real answers” to the concerns raised by Netanyahu in his address to Congress yesterday.
Specifically, WaPo editors believe Netanyahu’s charges that 1) the deal being negotiated will not deter Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons; and 2) that the Iranian regime is inherently untrustworthy, evil and intent on destroying Israel. What the WaPo editors fail to grasp is that Netanyahu has never been a part of the talks and has only been briefed on to the extent deemed necessary by the US, Germany, France, Russia, China and UK. The really funny thing is that Israeli intelligence officials who have received the same briefings as Netanyahu seem to have a different opinion about the talks than does the Prime Minister. Now, either the intelligence officials aren’t doing their job or Netanyahu is somehow better at reading intelligence than his own intelligence services.
Surely a quick look into Netanyahu’s track record will demonstrate how deft and skilled he is in the field of predicting future conflicts and digesting intelligence. Surely his Congressional testimony concerning the Iraq War will support his position as an expert on the Middle East and the threats facing Israel. In his 2002 testimony, Netanyahu said:
“There is no question whatsoever that Saddam is seeking and is working and is advancing towards the development of nuclear weapons – no question whatsoever, and there is no question that once he acquires it, history shifts immediately.”
There are two things to never forget when considering Netanyahu’s views of regional threats. First, he is desperately seeking his “Churchill moment”. Second, he has a record of being blinded by his own biases and is never, ever a sober analyst of a situation; he’s a politician seeking a legacy. We should always assess Netanyahu by the Dick Cheney, Sheldon Adelson, Bill Kristol company he keeps. He was an acolyte of theProject for the New American Century’s brilliant “Let’s Invade Iraq because We’ll Get Chocolates and They’ll Get Freedom” plan, and what he’s pushing right now isn’t much better. Sadly, the WaPo editors are far more forgiving of Netanyahu’s own track record of wrongdoing and mistakes, while holding Iran to a much stricter accounting.
When it comes to the character and intentions of Iran, the WaPo editors are far to accommodating of Netanyahu’s reductionist and Manichean worldview. The Israeli Prime Minister wants the world to believe that Iran is nothing more than the incendiary statements they make about Israel; a trick he plays with other regional groups such as Hezbollah, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. To be clear, the Iranian government has and does make absolutely unacceptable statements regarding Israel and these must be condemned without hesitation or equivocation.
Yet to simply dismiss the entire Iranian regime for the unacceptable and incendiary statements it makes is shortsighted. Within Iran there are reformist elements that are fighting against the hardliners who have long vilified Israel. At the current moment, the reformers are able to influence and direct the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. Perhaps what is necessary is to – for the moment – ignore the noise created by the hardliners so as to give the reformers a chance to win the day. If you’re interested in a peaceful resolution, then this is not a significant concession to make. And, if we listen to a wide array of intelligence analysts with serious credentials – rather than the Prime Minister of Israel – then we would understand that in the time it would take for the reformers to win or lose, the Iranians could not have a breakout that results in a nuclear weapon.
Iran is not on the verge of acquiring a nuclear bomb in the next few months and Netanyahu knows that. What Iran is on the verge of is being more fully reincorporated into the international community and raising as a regional power, which threatens Israel’s dominance in the Middle East. That is what concerns Netanyahu, but the WaPo editors fail to grasp that either.
Unfortunately, for the readers of the Washington Post, they have been subjected to the illogical, uniformed and biased views of Jackson Diehl who is far more inclined to give Binyamin Netanyahu a pass for his track record of misreading regional developments, his current position as an embattled politician facing a tough electoral environment and seeking a moment that resonates with the Israeli public, and his megalomanic tendencies.
The fact of the matter is that Netanyahu cannot be a trusted source of criticism or critique of the Iran negotiations and the President of the United States, under no circumstances, is obligated to explain anything to the Prime Minister of Israel or to address his bullshit accusations.