In its near-70 year history, Israel has never once asked America to fight for it. Not in 1948 when 650,000 Jews faced 40 million Arabs. Not in 1967 when Israel was being encircled and strangled by three Arab armies. Not in 1973 when Israel was on the brink of destruction. Not in the three Gaza wars or the two Lebanon wars.
Compare that to a very partial list of nations for which America has fought and for which so many Americans have fallen: Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Vietnam, Korea, and every West European country beginning with France (twice).
Change the deal, strengthen the sanctions, give Israel a free hand. Netanyahu offered a different path in his clear, bold and often moving address, Churchillian in its appeal to resist appeasement. This was not Churchill of the 1940s, but Churchill of the 1930s, the wilderness prophet. Which is why for all its sonorous strength, Netanyahu's speech had a terrible poignancy.
After all, Churchill was ignored.
[Jewish World Review]
Prime Minister Netanyahu's speech to Congress had a measurable impact on the American debate over Iran policy. In Congress and even in the press there is a spreading sense of "uh-oh."
In the run-up to Prime Minister Netanyahu's address to Congress, I confess I had been more than cynical. When he had finished speaking, I realized exactly how wrong I had been. This was one of the most powerful speeches which I have seen delivered in that chamber in the modern era. Netanyahu was gracious, not only to those who support him, but to those who might disagree with him. He was sincerely grateful for all that he and the nation he represents have received from the United States.
America will listen, because this time the balance of power could shift dramatically and even perhaps permanently against US interests in the region if Iran is allowed to proceed, or even, pretend not to proceed.
All the time, people tell us not to trust politicians, and most of the time, they're quite right. But, on this occasion, in the words of the song, I think that it's probably wiser not to 'count your money when you're sitting at the table - there'll be time enough for counting when the dealing's done'. And, to Israelis, you might like to offer a prayer of thanks for a leader who isn't just a good poker player, but a statesman.
[Small Wrinkles in Spacetime]
Dealing with Iran - Douglas J. Feith
At the heart of the Obama-Netanyahu dispute - and of the president's clash with Congress - is not diplomacy versus war. It's the difference between cooperative diplomacy and coercive diplomacy.
By taking a cooperative approach, Obama insists, the U.S. and others can persuade Iran's ruling ayatollahs to play by rules that all parties voluntarily accept. In contrast, the coercive option, which Netanyahu favors, assumes that Iran will remain hostile, dishonest and dangerous.
When Obama says the Israeli leader has offered "no viable alternative" to the deal being negotiated, he is denying that a coercive option exists. But Netanyahu's point is that we can have one if we try.
Iranian leaders have a long record of shameless dishonesty. Their aid to the tyrannical Assad regime has been massive since the Syrian civil war began, but they routinely deny it. And they make a practice of lying to UN weapons inspectors.
History teaches that constraining bad actors through arms control and peace accords is a losing bet. The arms-control approach is to invite bad actors to sign legal agreements. This produces signing ceremonies, but the bad actors inevitably violate them.
The writer served as U.S. undersecretary of defense for policy (2001-05).
(Wall Street Journal)