Friday, March 9, 2012

Wheeling, Dealing, and Looking Venal

An article in the New York Post claims that President Obama has offered prime minister Netanyahu some interesting inducements to hold off on an attack on Iran:
The US offered to give Israel advanced weaponry -- including bunker-busting bombs and refueling planes -- in exchange for Israel's agreement not to attack Iranian nuclear sites, Israeli newspaper Maariv reported Thursday.

President Obama reportedly made the offer during Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Washington this week.

Under the proposed deal, Israel would not attack Iran until 2013, after US elections in November this year. The newspaper cited unnamed Western diplomatic and intelligence sources.
If this is correct then it is a case of good news/bad news. It shows Iran that we are serious that negotiations have to work or else there'll be serious consequences. It also shows Israel that we're prepared to give them substantial support, but why is the initiation of hostilities tied to our elections?

If that part is true, if the president really is playing political games with what is potentially the most serious crisis since the Cuban Missile crisis in the early sixties, that would be disreputable. If negotiations are the right thing to do, if arming Israel is the right thing to do, if going to war with Iran is the right thing to do, then they're the right thing to do regardless of the president's political calendar.

Let's hope that the reference to our elections is incorrect and that Mr. Obama is a bigger and better man than to subordinate such momentous matters to his electoral fortunes.