Obama, Israel, and Iran

What to do about Iran's nuclear weapons development program is the major issue that will be discussed during the meeting in Washington on Monday between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. Both men agree that Iran cannot be allowed to develop and possess nuclear weapons because the results for the Middle East in general and the United States and Israel in particular would be catastrophic. Israelis are especially threatened because there is no doubt whatsoever that Iran's first order of business after acquiring nuclear weapons would be to attack Israel with them in an effort to wipe the country off the map, to remove it from the face of the earth. That is a given and the Israeli's know it.

They also know that the only way to stop an attack from happening is to keep nuclear weapons out of Iran's hands in the first place, that military intervention is the only way to do it, that the chances of Obama launching a preemptive strike are non-existent, that they will have to launch a preemptive strike themselves or suffer terrible consequences including millions of Israeli deaths and the very real possibility that their country will be destroyed and cease to exist and that time is running very short. It is a very simple proposition for the Israelis. Kill or be killed. If they want to survive they have to attack and they have to succeed.

A preemptive Israeli strike is something Obama doesn't want because it would reflect very badly on his failed policies, his lack of leadership, his inability to control or even influence events in the Middle East, his antipathy towards Israel, his sympathy for the Islamic world and his general ideological bent. That is something he cannot afford in this election year because it would cost him a large number of votes, which in turn could keep him from getting re-elected.

In order to buy time and get him through the election in November Obama is going to do everything he can to convince Netanyahu and the Israelis not to launch a preemptive strike, including making promises we know he won't keep. He is already trying to convince the Israelis and the Iranians, both of whom know better, that he cannot be bluffed and he may even go so far as to threaten Netanyahu and the Israelis in some way. Netanyahu for his part cannot allow himself to be charmed or bullied and has to make it very clear that he will not depend on Obama and that he will not take the Israeli military option off the table because Obama wants him to...his loyalty and responsibility is to Israel and Israelis, not to Obama and he has to remain steadfast in his resolve. For diplomacy's sake he can keep the reasons to himself but steadfast he must be.

Israelis have learned through bitter experience that Obama can indeed be bluffed because they have been watching Iran (and many other enemies of America and Israel too for that matter) call his bluff for years. Should they trust Obama this time around in spite of his history and character and ideology?

Absolutely not. Not if they want to survive that is.

Trust Obama? No one else does, so why should they.