After Jewish voters gave unprecedented support to a Republican-Conservative candidate in a Special Election to fill a congressional seat, Democrats have been busy “setting the record straight” on the Obama Administration’s relations with Israel. Even Independent Senator Joe Lieberman joined the campaign to promote the Obama Administration as a good and reliable friend of Israel.
Despite this public relations campaign, evidence continues to emerge that the Obama Administration sees Israel as more of a problem than previous administrations. In George W. Bush’s second term tensions between Israel and the United States increased considerably. There is little doubt that Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice felt that Israel was wrong in dragging its feet rather than embracing her Palestinian initiative.
Today, tension is building over Iran’s nuclear program. The other day, The Wall Street Journal, published an article, ” U.S. Warns Israel Against Iran Strike”.
The article documents building pressure on Israel by high level officials in the Obama Administration. The Administration is pulling out all the stops in trying to stop an Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Clearly the Administration feels that if left alone Israel will strike Iran.
It is also evident that the Administration feels that its sanctions strategy could work if given a chance. Prime Minister Netanyahu (perhaps in response to U.S. pressure) acknowledged that the sanctions are having a negative effect on Iran. But will sanctions stop Iran’s program? How much time is there before Iran has the means to produce weapons grade uranium? Does Israel have the time to wait and see if the sanctions work?
A nuclear armed Iran is a danger to the United States, Israel, and the rest of the world. How to stop Iran is a question open to debate, but it is widely felt that Iran is unlikely to stop its program if it feels there is no credible military option on the table if they continue with their program. The Obama Administration has not put a credible military option in play: At the moment no one thinks Iran is under threat of military action from the United States.
Rather than threatening Israel over a possible military strike, the Obama Administration should allow Israel to saber rattle to send a message to Iran that they will face military action if they proceed on the present course.
The Wall Street Journal article ends on a troubling note regarding the tensions between the tension between the United States and Israel.
“Some American intelligence officials complain that Israel represents a blind spot in U.S. intelligence, which devotes little resources to Israel. Some officials have long argued that, given the potential for Israel to drag the U.S. into potentially explosive situations, the U.S. should devote more resources to divining Israel’s true intentions.”
It is important to keep in mind that in both Democrat and Republican Administrations there have always been officials who see Israel as a problem not an ally. But this attitude can lead to problems between these allies.