We’re not smart enough.
Sorting through the drafts of US/Iran possible agreements to keep Iran nuclear free, it’s difficult to credit one side or another: either the agreement, should it come to fruition, leads to a ten year period of stasis, which would be a good start, or it enables Iran to do what it wants regardless of international sanctions.
Actually, we have to come down on the administration’s side because the message, as delivered by Benjamin Netanyahu, came from Benjamin Netanyahu, a man who subsequently tossed over the traces, jumped ship, demonstrating not only his political savvy and will but also his consienceless ability to lie.
Worse, at the conclusion of the recent Israeli election, Netanyahu was totally unafraid to buy votes by scaring his electorate twice, once in the name of security and a second time in the name of keeping hordes of Arabs from crossing into Israel to vote for his opponents. Both worked.
Now, to be honest, while none of this is admirable, it is notable that here is a leader who will do anything to stay in power, anything to get his way, or – partially – his country’s way. It does make one wonder whether he would be as driven were he a real peace-maker. It makes “leading from behind” look even less effective than it has been.
On the other hand, what we’re witnessing in Israel is the power of one man to run, or ruin, his nation.
And certainly to betray people around the world who want peace in the Mid-East as much as Netanyahu had previously sworn he wanted.
Netanyahu’s approach to maintain the balance of power reeks of past centuries. But in the past, his presumptive czarist approach would have caused war.
Certainly it might have caused this country to change its tunes. If we’re not mistaken, for we listened to the speech he gave to Congress, he boasted that Israel didn’t need American money or arms, that it could defend itself entirely.
When the Egyptian spring brought the Muslim Brotherhood to power, the U.S. announced a decision to hold back 90 per cent of Egypt’s annual stipend. 90 days later, Morsi was out, the Army was back in (for good or ill), and Egypt was being rewarded once more. This may not be the best state of affairs, but it is better than the Muslim Brotherhood.
So here is an opportunity to say to Mr. Netanyahu, O.K., swell. You’re on your own. Do it, and call us if you need us sometime.
What we’ve recently lost between the two countries is Trust. Not easily won. Too easily lost.
Now Netanyahu is on television with Andrea Mitchell, sounding sweet and reasonable, misunderstood, and reasonable. Nuts.
Let us know when you need something, bud. We’ll consider it.