For 20 years the Israeli prime minister has been demanding the U.S. and the world put a stop to Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and that’s exactly what Obama delivered. And no, there won’t be any consequences for the public fight with the American president.
It has become somewhat of a trope in recent months to warn of the damage Benjamin Netanyahu has done by so openly and directly working to oppose the Iran deal, the flagship foreign policy achievement Barak Obama’s legacy. Most of those warnings, however, can be attributed to either wishful thinking or veiled politicking surrounding the deal itself.
Benjamin Netanyahu is a political mastermind. The Israeli prime minister may have made some faulty assumptions and made questionable moves in the United States, but the consequences have never approached anything of substance. In fact, nearly every move he has made regarding Iran in recent years has resulted in an achievement.
Benjamin Netanyahu has been pushing the United States to do something about what he then termed an imminent threat of a nuclear-armed Iran for two decades. In a 1996 speech to a joint session of Congress, then Prime Minister Netanyahu implored the United States to assemble and lead an international effort to put a stop to Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. He has made similar speeches at any and every opportunity ever since.
Domestically, Netanyahu has used the Iranian threat to craft and perpetuate a brilliant and resilient political career based almost entirely on fear-mongering (periodically substituting the Palestinian threat when timely or expedient). He made the Iranian nuclear threat a mainstay of his Mr. Security political persona, which has helped him become Israel’s second-longest-serving prime minister. (If Netanyahu manages to stay in office for three more years, he will surpass David Ben-Gurion.)
The threat of war
Internationally, Netanyahu has demanded the world take action for years upon years, warning of a second Holocaust. When that didn’t work, he added his own threats into the mix: that Israel would unilaterally attack Iran. If you don’t stop Iran from getting the bomb, Netanyahu told the world, I will.
And so it was for the good part of the past decade. As I wrote a few weeks ago:
And the war mongering worked. Part of Barak Obama’s appeal in the 2008 elections was his promise to go down the warpath, instead pledging to give diplomacy a try...Read More