To the delight of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi
Livni, an international coalition has coalesced around Iran's nuclear
In his remarks Tuesday in Los Angeles before the delegates to the United
Jewish Communities' General Assembly, Olmert explained his enthusiasm. First
he stated, "America's leadership in preventing Iran's nuclearization is
indisputable and unequaled. I just met my good friend, a true friend of
Israel, President George W. Bush in Washington..His determination to prevent
this most serious of developments is unquestionable. But America must have
the support of the international community if we are to successfully defuse
this mortal threat."
So from Olmert's perspective, it is America's responsibility not Israel's to
prevent Iran from acquiring the means to destroy Israel. At the same time, he
accepts that the US will take no action against Iran without first receiving
permission from the French, Russians, Chinese and the Arabs.
Olmert then explained that the Arabs have to agree to let the US protect
Israel. As he put it, "A coalition of moderate Arab countries can and must
unite their common interest in preventing Iran from undermining stability in
the Middle East. This coalition must struggle against the dangers of radical
Islam that manipulate the very source of Islam itself."
For her part, Livni told the crowd in California that there is little doubt
that the nations of the world will shortly unite to prevent Iran from
achieving nuclear capabilities. As she put it, "If the promise of 'Never
Again' is more important than the price of oil, then the time for
international indifference and hesitation in the face of the Iranian threat
has long passed."
Livni then explained that she is eager to give Judea and Samaria to the
Palestinians and is working to "brand" Israel as a place where it is fun to
live. She concluded by recommending that American Jews invite Israeli Nobel
laureates to visit their communities.
In sum, our Foreign Minister is certain that the international community
will act against Iran because it means it when it says it thinks that the
Holocaust was a bad thing more than it means it when it says, "Fill it up
with unleaded." Moreover, as far as Livni is concerned, the world will
protect Israel because the Olmert government is so eager to render Jerusalem
and Tel Aviv defenseless by surrendering Judea and Samaria Palestinian
Aside from that, Livni trusts that the world will protect the Jews because
thanks to her we have UN forces protecting Hizbullah on our northern border
and we're rebranding ourselves to let the international community know that
Jews are both good at science and really fun to drink with.
To their credit, Olmert and Livni are correct to say that today an
international coalition made up of the US, the EU and some of the Arabs is
forming around Iran. But what binds the members together is their collective
opposition to taking any effective action to prevent Iran from acquiring
Standing next to Olmert in the White House Monday, Bush limited his remarks
on Iran to expressing his hope that the international community would agree
to economically isolate Iran. International support is necessary because
Iran's chief targets the US and Israel don't have the legitimacy to
act. As he put it, "My attitude is let's work in concert to convince the
government [of Iran] that it's not just the Israeli voices speaking, or the
United States' voices speaking, but there's a lot of other voices saying the
exact same thing."
There is no doubt that isolating Iran internationally would be a welcome
development. But there can also be no doubt that isolating Iran will not
cause it to end its nuclear weapons program. This is particularly true if
that isolation involves approving the European draft resolution for mild
sanctions against Iran in the UN Security Council. In the best case
scenario, the most sanctions can do is make it more difficult for Iran to
reconstitute its nuclear program in the aftermath of an Israeli military
attack on its nuclear installations.
Each of the sides of the "Do-nothing-against-Iran" coalition has its own
reasons for not lifting a finger.
Bush's interpretation of the Democrats' victory in last week's Congressional
elections convinced him not to act against Iran. Starting with his press
conference last Wednesday where he announced Secretary of Defense Donald
Rumsfeld's replacement by Robert Gates, Bush has made absolutely clear that
as far as he's concerned, he lacks the political strength domestically to
carry out a successful operation.
In one of his recent daily calls for Israel's destruction, Iranian President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad offered Europe a Faustian bargain. He promised to leave
Europe alone if the Europeans abandon Israel. On Monday, British Prime
Minister Tony Blair accepted his offer. In a speech before the London's Lord
Mayor's annual banquet, Blair explained that success in Iraq and in Iran is
contingent on Israel making concessions to Palestinian and Lebanese
terrorists and to the US and Europe making concessions to Syria and Iran.
The fact that Blair made this speech four days after the Director General of
the MI5 Eliza Manningham-Buller said that today thirty terror plots are
being planned in Britain; that future threats could involve chemicals and
nuclear devices; that young British Muslims are being groomed to become
suicide bombers; and her agents are tracking some 1,600 suspects, tells us
just about everything we need to know about Europe's interests. The fact
that he made a similar statement to the Iraq Study Group, which led by
former secretary of state James Baker III is planning on recommending that
the US sell out Israel and appease the Iranians and Syrians, tells us
everything we need to know about how Europe feels about the US hope to
isolate not attack Iran.
There is little doubt that the Arab states would prefer a non-nuclear Iran.
But the Arabs have no intention of preventing Iran from acquiring such
weapons. To the contrary, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia
now want to build their own nuclear reactors. Iran's program serves as a
justification for Arab A-bombs.
The implication of the coalescence of this new coalition is inescapable.
Despite Olmert and Livni's breathless protestations to the contrary, no one
will take action to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. No one will
block the prospect of Israel's annihilation.
It is worthwhile to consider why this is the case if only to bring
reality to the attention those directly entrusted with ensuring Israel's
The Bush administration is today in a state of strategic disarray. According
to historian John Lewis Gaddis in his book "Surprise, Security and the
American Experience", one of the strategic assumptions that underlay Bush's
decision to order the invasion of Iraq was the predicted psychological
effect the campaign would have on regimes like Iran. In his words, "The
purpose was as much psychological as military: to eliminate individuals,
gangs and regimes who commit or support terrorism, but also to intimidate
those who might be thinking about doing so."
Unfortunately, the psychological effect was dependent on a clear US military
victory in Iraq. After the initial push to Baghdad and the overthrow of
Saddam's regime, America's ability to defeat the insurgency was increasingly
dependent on political will. That will in turn was heavily influenced by the
level of international support America's actions enjoyed. The Europeans
refused to back the Iraqi campaign and their antagonism prevented the US
from undertaking the kind of aggressive counter-insurgency measures -
particularly operations inside Syria and Iran that act as bases for the
insurgency - that were necessary to win the conflict decisively.
As time passed, the lack of European support caused an erosion of domestic
US support for the Iraq campaign. It was the cumulative effect of that
erosion of domestic support that brought about the Republican defeat last
The EU opposes US operations in Iraq, and indeed its member states have
become hotbeds of anti-American prejudice for various reasons - one of which
At base, the Europeans perceive themselves as powerless dilettantes. As
such, they assume that their hostility will make little impact on the US and
that America will eventually win the war against the global jihad regardless
of what they think. This being the case, from their perspective, nothing is
to be lost in the long run, and much is to be gained in the short run from
abusing the benevolent US and appeasing the violent jihadists. Moreover,
France in particular would like for the US to emerge from the war victorious
but weakened, much as Britain emerged from World War II.
While the Arabs oppose Iranian regional and pan-Islamic hegemony, they
believe they will deter Iran from attacking them by acquiring nuclear
capabilities. Moreover, an Iranian nuclear strike against Israel would serve
several Arab interests. First, as long as Israel exists, Iran will
concentrate on Israel and leave the Arabs alone. Second, if Iran attacks
Israel with nuclear weapons, either Israel or the US will likely launch a
devastating counter-strike that will significantly weaken the Teheran
regime. Although awash in glory for its destruction of Israel, Iran would be
in no position to assert control over the now nuclear-armed Arabs whose
"Jewish problem" it solved.
But no matter, our leaders tell us. We should just think happy thoughts like
they do. In Olmert and Livni's world, Israel won the war in Lebanon this
summer; UNIFIL forces are good for the Jews; and Hizbullah - which is now
working to overthrow the Lebanese government - has no interest in renewing
its war against Israel. The government sees no reason to prevent 1,500 PLO
terrorists from Jordan from marching into Gaza with their guns and their
families. Olmert and Livni welcome the prospect of releasing thousands of
terrorists from prison in order to "strengthen" PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas,
and they are eager to hand Judea and Samaria over to Abbas not because doing
so will help Abbas, but because it would good for Israel. As Livni put it
this week, we want to hand over land because otherwise the so-called peace
process will stagnate and "Stagnation is not in our interest and it is not
Our jovial government justifies its decision to do nothing to prevent
Ahmadinejad from acquiring the means to keep his promise to destroy the
Jewish state by incessantly claiming that someone else is willing and able
to pay the price to defend us.
The people of Israel must not be seduced by the blindness and empty promises
of our leaders. All efforts must be made to sideline these incompetent,
self-serving bumblers and replace them with responsible leaders as quickly
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