The Limits Of Netanyahu’s Bluffing

Sep 24 2012 @ 12:22pm

It can be greeted by a US president with this:

"When it comes to our national security decisions — any pressure that I feel is simply to do what's right for the American people. And I am going to block out — any noise that's out there."

Wouldn't it be wonderful if the ultimate upshot of a possible Obama re-election is that a newer, saner coalition government might emerge in Israel that could actually address Israel's Arab Spring challenges with some old-time Israeli skill and courage and talent? Or even start rolling back Israel's suicide spiral in world opinion? I know living in the midst of roiling new Islamist democracies is challenging. And we should be sympathetic to Israeli paranoia about Iran's potential nukes. But the Israelis have scores of their own nuclear warheads, the best defense technology available (you're welcome), the world's super-power behind it, and a robust, dynamic new economy. In Netanyahu's addled mind, he seems to think that because Iran's imploding economy, its constantly-faltering ability to develop nuclear power (which it has a sovereign right to), a hugely unpopular theocracy, and Syria's degeneration into civil war means that Israel faces an existential threat. It doesn't. It faces a Middle East growing up around it.

And the Israelis could help us, the new Arab governments, and themselves by stopping settlement construction completely and indefinitely and seek a two-state solution with persistence. That's one potential for Obama's second term I didn't have space to explore in the cover-piece.