Wednesday, March 04, 2015


I hope Democratic leadership wasn't the target audience for Israel's prime minister in his speech to Congress:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the United States on Tuesday that it was negotiating a bad deal with Iran that could spark a "nuclear nightmare," drawing a rebuke from President Barack Obama and exposing a deepening U.S.-Israeli rift. ...

Underscoring the partisan divide, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi called the speech "an insult to the intelligence of the United States" and said she was so "saddened by the condescension toward our knowledge of the threat posed by Iran” that she was near tears.

Let's hope that Prime Minister Netanyahu's outreach speech to the wider Democratic world works better than President Obama's outreach speech to the Islamic world.

UPDATE: Stratfor reminds us that Israel once earned a prime place in our alliance thinking because we needed their help to resist Soviet efforts to dominate the eastern Mediterranean Sea. The collapse of the USSR ended that need and so our alliance thinned out.

The 9/11 attack thickened the alliance as we fought common jihadi foes (in inspiration if not the actual groups involved). As we try to distance ourselves from too large of a direct role in that fight, relations are bound to thin out again.

I don't think that Israel has as much to worry about in becoming one of many allies we are trying to count on in the region.

Israel was fine when Iran under the Shah was our Gulf pillar and we had Turkey in NATO and Saudi Arabia as a friend in the Gulf, too. Israel as a democracy with a more common heritage will make them first among equals, at least.

Yet I don't share Stratfor's seeming confidence that we can come to terms with mullah-run Iran through a nuclear deal that makes Iran an ally again.

I just don't believe that it is possible to become a friend with Iran under the mullahs, especially if they get nuclear weapons capability.

Nor do I see our fights in Iraq and Afghanistan showing we can't pacify those jihadis. We did build states with forces capable of fighting those jihadis (rather than hosting or supporting jihadis) with our campaigns--if we stay to help them as long as they need our assistance, of course.

From Israel's position, Putin's efforts to regain a foothold in the eastern Mediterranean with their help for Assad, their basing rights in Cyprus, their expansion in the Black Sea rear area, and renewed contacts with Egypt which is out of favor with us lately, will tend to increase Israel's importance to us.