Bibi’s Blunder


Beinart analyzes yesterday’s elections:

Netanyahu clearly sees himself as the Winston Churchill to Mahmoud Ahmedinejad’s Adolf Hitler. (With Barack Obama perhaps making a cameo as Neville Chamberlain). To hear Bibi’s speeches over the past few years, you’d have thought it was five minutes to midnight every year. So what does he do? He holds an election that kicks the can down the road—and gives Tehran more time to build a nuke—which is exactly what he’s denounced the world for doing. I understand his desire to get himself ensconced for a few more years before a second-term Obama has time to undermine him. But why risk a quick election, whose outcome he could never fully foresee, when he’s so convinced History has anointed him the man to act in this moment? It undermines everything he’s said about the gravity of the moment. And even more remarkably, Iran wasn’t even a dominant issue in the campaign.

Michael Koplow expects that the Israeli prime minister’s next term will be his last:

The new Israeli government is going to be facing enormous cross-cutting pressures from within its own ranks and from outside the country, and no matter how hard he tries to construct a stable coalition, there will be nothing Netanyahu can do to mitigate this problem. Rather, the coalition choices that Netanyahu makes are going to determine which set of pressures will ultimately bring him down. In essence, Netanyahu will be picking his poison rather than coming up with a cure.

(Photo: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu waves to his supporters as he arrives with Former Israel Minister for Foreign Affairs Avigdor Liberman at his election campaign headquarters on Janurary 23, 2013 in Tel Aviv, Israel. By Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)