And as you undoubtedly knew before Goldberg told us, the Israelis — people from the left to the right — do not trust Obama. Goldberg writes: “But the Israelis are doubtful that a man who positioned himself as the antithesis of George W. Bush, author of invasions of both Afghanistan and Iraq, would launch a preemptive attack on a Muslim nation. ‘We all watched his speech in Cairo,’ a senior Israeli official told me, referring to the June 2009 speech in which Obama attempted to reset relations with Muslims by stressing American cooperativeness and respect for Islam. ‘We don’t believe that he is the sort of person who would launch a daring strike on Iran. We are afraid he would see a policy of containing a nuclear Iran rather than attacking it.’”
After Saturday’s turnaround on the Ground Zero mosque, their skepticism is if anything more than well-founded. Goldberg ends his article with some ruminations from Israeli President Shimon Peres, who tells the journalist: “We don’t want to win over the president. …We want the president to win.” But as Peres certainly fears, with great justification, Barack Obama is not likely to do what has to be done to win over Iran; hence Goldberg’s prediction that if Iran does not change course, Israel will act alone.
Goldberg himself does not agree with the Israelis. He previously wrote how he endorsed the mosque being built on Ground Zero — showing a complete lack of familiarity with the real issues that have led many to oppose it — but he also writes that on the issue of Iran, he prefers to stick with Obama’s current plan. As he explains it on his blog:
“I think the idea of a preemptive attack on Iran is a bad idea; I think it is important to allow President Obama’s plan — and yes, he has a plan, and he’s sticking to the plan — to play out. Increasingly harsh sanctions, combined with an open invitation to dialogue (plus the credible threat, lurking in the background, of eventual military action) could conceivably work to bring the Iranian junta around on the nuclear question.”
The problem is Goldberg’s complete naiveté, and his surrendering of his mind to wishful thinking. As he reluctantly acknowledges: “The problem comes if the Obama plan doesn’t work.” Really? What makes him even think this is a possibility? You mean Obama’s dreams might not come true? And I thought Goldberg considers himself something of a realist. Well, he is undoubtedly correct that all future options are bad. As he puts it: “I suspect that the price of inaction might be greater than the price of action, but the opposite could just as easily and plausibly be true. People who think there is an easy answer here are kidding themselves.”
And my problem is that if we just sit around avoiding any decision because they are all bad, before we know it, Iran will have the bomb. Unfortunately, Israelis do not have that option available to them. They know it is their country that will be destroyed if the mullahs get the bomb, and the rest of the world will sit and watch. And they are not going to let that happen, whatever the cost.
Obama’s indecision about the proposed mosque at Ground Zero is simply emblematic of his continuing indecision and procrastination. It does not offer hope for what faces us shortly.