I think that if we do this alone we’ll dig ourselves into a hole we won’t know how to get out of
I think that if we do this alone we risk the alliance with our only true friend in the world – a superpower at that.
If we do this alone at a time when the entire Arab world is in flux we’ll be playing into the hands of the Arab street
Forget what the rulers say in private [that they would love us to hit Iran]
The street will be turned against us by those very same Arab rulers who privately hope we go it alone. That way they get to see their two main enemies bloody each other: Israel and the Shiite Iran.
If we do this alone, the Arab states will get their own nuclear weapons, and they’ll blame our aggression for it, not the Iranians.
If we do this alone we’ll take the heat off Bashar Assad – at a critical moment in time – just as the world is focused squarely on his barbarity
If we do this alone we’ll go to war with Hezbollah, Iran and possibly Syria.
But if nobody stops Iran from going nuclear then they could provide Hezbollah and Bashar with the protection they need.
So we face an existential choice: Go it alone and stay alone, or do it together with the world, and stay with the world.
There is no question sanctions have failed. Further sanctions won’t have the time to work before the Iranians can complete their weaponisation program.
Striking Iran’s nuclear facilities must be done. Of that there is no question in my mind. Now there is only the military option. The question is: who does it and when?
When also depends on who.
If we do it alone, it has to be real soon, before the Iranians can bury their facility in Qom under layers of mountain that our bombs can’t get to.
If it’s the Americans then there is still time. Perhaps 6 months to one year.
But if we do it alone, without the Americans, we might not get the job done, and we’ll most likely be facing a war on all fronts for a very long time.
If we do it alone we’ll probably only delay the Iranians by a few years, during which time the world will be a different place.
We’ll be quartered at every diplomatic arena. We’ll be burned at every stake. Boycotted at every market. We’ll face war on every front.
The Iranians will rebuild, and possibly with overt Russian, Pakistani, North Korean and Chinese help.
After the Iranians rebuild, what’s to say we can hit them again? What’s to say the Russians and Chinese won’t help them get a nuclear bomb even quicker?
What’s to say the Russians and Chinese won’t place their own forces to protect the shiny new Iranian reactors?
Will we hit them again then?
The sad truth is that we cannot face the whole world alone. Israel’s initial position on Iran remains the correct one:
Iran is the world’s problem and Israel must not be at the visible forefront of this struggle.
We need the Americans on our side. Period.
So the question is, how to get the Americans to commit to striking Iran’s nuclear facilities?
By ratcheting up the rhetoric and beating the drums of war, as our government is doing now?
I’m already hearing voices of Americans saying: Okay, go ahead, let’s see you do it.
If we make it absolutely clear to the Obama administration that if we do not get a clear guarantee that he or Romney will do the job, and soon, then we will do it – why not just tell them that in private?
Why is this all out in the open? Why are there daily leaks and counter-leaks?
It’s out in the open because there is clearly no common ground between Jerusalem and Washington on this.
It’s out in the open because the two sides have obviously not been able to find the middle path.
Neither side is willing to commit. Each has his valid reasons.
The Americans won’t promise to take out Iran’s nuclear program. And even if they did make this promise, what’s to say they’ll keep it?
I do not know how America will react to a unilateral Israeli attack on Iran.
Chances are they will not be happy about it, and will be loathe to support us all the way if and when things get very hairy and the world turns against us.
If Russia and China turn, firmly, convincingly, ominously against us – will Washington back us up?
I don’t think even the Americans know at this point what they’ll do if we go it alone, against their express wishes.
Will they send in the cavalry to support us if we need them? Possibly. Or they might make do with less, doing just enough to make their deep displeasure felt. Will they pull our asses out of the fire if we land in the fire?
What if an Israeli strike sets off a regional war? And what if the Americans are dragged into it, at a time when their entire posture is to wrap up their two Mideast wars?
If we go it alone, how much are we risking our alliance with America? That’s a question that, to my mind, is just as important as how long we can knock the Iranian program back by.
So where does that leave us?
It leaves us with Bibi.
Such a huge leap of faith for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It goes against everything he believes in, everything he was raised on.
On the one hand, he has been entrusted with the safety and survival of the people of Israel. It’s true that Israel should not outsource its security.
But on the other hand, our long-term security is based, not just on keeping Iran from getting nuclear weapons, but just as importantly, on keeping our alliance with America strong and honest.
This is the balance the Bibi must strike.
Strike Iran now, alone, without American support, and risk losing the most strategic alliance we have, and all that entails?
Or wait, continue covert sabotage, and work together with the Americans, who have stated unequivocally that it is their policy not to allow Iran to become a military nuclear power?
I say wait. Hit Iran with everything we’ve got short of sending over fighter jets. Do whatever is still left in the arsenal besides from launching a massive aerial assault.
Coordinate with the White House. Continue building an international coalition. Continue trying to convince the American public that Iran is their problem too.
But Bibi’s dilemma is a poignant one, one that resonates with all Israelis, and Jews everywhere.
The fear is that the Americans won’t come through.
The fear is that when the proverbial sword is at our throats, when the Iranians can put together a bomb, when it is too late for our bombs to have the desired effect, that the Americans will balk.
Then we can definitively say that the Americans do not have our backs.
And if the day comes when we can definitely, unequivocally, say that the Americans do not have our backs, that they abandoned us on the field of battle at the moment of truth,
Then it is undeniable: we will be truly and utterly alone in a hostile world,
No friends, no allies, just us against the world.
If that day comes, an Iranian nuclear weapon is the least of our worries.