Between NIS 10 and 11 billion were used in preparations for an attack that was never meant to happen. This incredibly expensive and ultimately failed political maneuver should be the focus of the next election.
Unless Netanyahu is crazier than is commonly assumed, Israel will not attack Iran in the near future. Until quite recently, Netanyahu stubbornly claimed that Israel must attack Iran before the 2012 U.S. presidential elections. This was a calculated attempt by Netanyahu to put pressure on Barack Obama and advance the chances of Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney.
This attempt at psychological warfare utterly failed: Obama, ice-cold, didn’t blink; he referred to Netanyahu’s demands as “background noise,” and adamantly refused to change his position. He left Netanyahu with no choice but to go to his Canossa, the UN General Assembly, and to make a retreat speech there. The bomb and fuse drawing (“this is the bomb, this is the fuse…” – possibly the lowest point ever reached by an Israeli prime minister) devoured all the attention – and camouflaged the only important part of that speech. Netanyahu announced that he postponed his threat to attack Iran to the spring or summer of 2013. Anything can happen until then – and as it looks, Netanyahu will dismiss the Knesset and go to elections before that time.
So Netanyahu’s attempt at a nerve war failed. Now we must ask how much it cost us. Let’s begin with the intangibles: How much damage will Israel suffer from a president who has to consider its prime minister to be a political rival or, at the least, an ally of his political rivals? How much damage will Israel take in U.S. liberal opinion, and actually in the mind of any American patriot, when the American public will begin to understand that Israel is no ally, but at best a cross the U.S. has to bear?
Obama’s former Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, told Obama last summer that Israel is “an ungrateful ally.” As part of the shadowboxing between the U.S. administration and the government of the country it funds and arms, Gates also said recently that neither Israel nor the U.S. has the military capability to stop the Iranian nuclear plan, and that such an attack would only hasten it. The first part is not new – Gen. Dempsey said as much back in August. The second part, however, may indicate that a faction in the...Read More