Israel, as we know, acted unilaterally and decided it had to stop Syria from going nuclear. Remember also that in this era Assad was widely viewed as modern and a “reformer.”
Makovsky cites the central dilemma facing Israel today. Does the Begin doctrine, as the Israelis call the policy of not letting Israel’s opponents obtain the power to destroy the Jewish state militarily, apply? As Makovsky writes: “The pressing question today is whether the lessons of that success can be applied to Iran, which has insisted, against all evidence, that is nuclear ambitions are limited to civilian purposes, and whether Israel and the U.S. view the threat the same way.” He quotes Olmert, who is an opponent of Likud and Netanyahu, as saying: “Israel cannot tolerate an enemy with militarized nuclear power. We did not tolerate it in the past, whether it was in Iraq or Syria, and we cannot tolerate it in Iran.” Joe Klein should take note. Olmert cites not the Mullahs or Iran’s crazy president, but the chief of the Iranian Armed Forces, who said on May 20th that “his country is committed to the ‘full annihilation of Israel.’”
So Joe Klein ignores this, because he saw some Iranians friendly to the U.S. in his two journeys to the country, and, like the appeasers of the 1930s who assured us that Hitler was sane and his rants could be ignored by all, Klein assures his TV audience that we too can ignore such statements as that made by General Hassan Firouzabadi. The real issue, as Makovsky puts it, is whether the United States has “sufficient resolve to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions.” Israel, as he puts it, cannot afford to be as patient as President Obama seems to be — and as gullible, deluded, and shortsighted as Joe Klein.
Certainly, as Olmert argues, an Israeli attack must be a last option, coming at a point in which no other way of stopping Iran exists. But Israelis and their leaders will make this decision on their own, as they did when deciding to stop Syria’s nuclear capability. So, as Ehud Barak said in July to Israel’s National Security Council, a nuclear-armed Iran “from the hour of its emergence- if it emerges-will be far more complicated, far more dangerous, and far more costly in human lives and resources.”
So it is not just Bibi and his “puppet” Mitt Romney who comprehend the serious nature of the situation if Iran goes nuclear, but Israeli leaders who are hardly supporters or members of Likud. In failing to comprehend this, and in using his pulpit and his influence to tell Americans they have nothing to fear from a nuclear Iran, Joe Klein truly deserves the title I have given him: The Mullahs’ Useful Idiot.