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Friday, May 29, 2009

Obama in Netanyahu’s Web

The third imperative is for Obama to shift from what Nader Mousavizadeh of the International Institute for Strategic Studies recently called a “mix of rhetorical innovation and policy continuation” to new thinking on Iran freed of carrot-and-stick redundancy.
This must begin with Iran’s pride and insecurities — a medium-sized power facing the world’s superpower — and almost certainly envision as an endgame a “non-zero option” where Iran retains an intrusively monitored, limited pilot uranium enrichment program while jettisoning its unacceptable rhetoric and troublemaking to become part of a new regional security arrangement.
Netanyahu talks a lot about the “existential threat” from Iran. The United States faces a prosaic daily threat: Many more young American men and women will die in Iraq and Afghanistan over the next several years if no Iranian breakthrough is achieved.
Obama must remind Israel of that. He should also tell Bibi that the real existential threat to Israel is not Amalek but hubris: An attack on Iran that would put the Jewish state at war with Persians as well as Arabs, undermine its core U.S. alliance, and set Tehran on a full-throttle course to a nuclear bomb with the support of some 1.2 billion Muslims.


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