By Barry Rubin
“Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign is now on the air with an ad that directly responds to the `3 am phone call’ commercial launched by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in Texas earlier today. The commercial touts Obama’s `judgment and courage’ in opposing the Iraq war from the start and his clarity to see that the war distracted the country from rooting out terrorists in Afghanistan. `In a dangerous world, it’s judgment that matters,’ says the ad’s narrator.” — Washington Post, February 29, 2008.
The White House. 3AM. Some time in the future.
“Michelle, can you get that?”
“Now, Barack you know you have to answer the phone when it rings at 3AM! After all, it might be Hillary and she’d tell everyone that you were….
“Ok, ok, but remember how well I answered that ad of hers! I reminded everyone that she voted for that inevitably losing war in Iraq while I wanted to quit because I knew the war was lost. Of course, that’s before I led the country to victory there….”
“Hello? Yes, this is the president.”
“It’s me, Benjamin Netanyahu.”
“Bibi? Hi, old buddy, I was just telling Michelle that I really can stand you. Ha! Ha! (Winks at Michelle who rolls her eyes and goes back to sleep.) So what are you calling about at 3AM? I guess it’s 3AM in Israel, right?”
“No, Mr. President it is morning here. There’s a seven-hour time difference.”
“Oh, okay. What’s up?”
“Mr. President I just wanted to tell you that our planes are about to take off and bomb Iran’s nuclear installations just as you recommended.”
“What? You’re going to bomb Iran! What gave you that idea?”
“You did, Mr. President. Let me explain. You see, Mr. President, No Israeli government can tolerate a nuclear weapon in the hands of a regime that denies the Holocaust, threatens to wipe Israel off the map and sponsors terrorist groups committed to Israel’s destruction. Right?”
“That’s your view?”
“Yes, Mr. President but it’s also your view in the AIPAC speech. And we’re doing this for you and your country because A nuclear-armed Iran is completely counter to Israel’s security interests. But it is also counter to the national security interests of the United States.
“But isn’t bombing a bit drastic? How will the world react?”
“It will support us because, as you so brilliantly explained, “The entire world has an interest in preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.”
“Well, won’t Iran react strongly?”
“They can’t, Mr. President, because thanks to your terrific policies, Iran is isolated, its leadership divided and under pressure.”
“Isn’t there some alternative?”
No, Mr. President, because A nuclear-armed Iran would thoroughly undermine the nonproliferation regime that we’ve done so much to build. There are risks that an Iranian nuclear weapon could fall into the hands of a terrorist organization. It is almost certain that others in the region would feel compelled to get their own nuclear weapon, triggering an arms race in one of the world’s most volatile regions. It would embolden a regime that has brutalised its own people, and it would embolden Iran’s proxies, who have carried out terrorist attacks from the Levant to southwest Asia.”
“Hm. That does sound persuasive.”
“And as you so eloquently explained, Iran’s leaders should understand that I do not have a policy of containment; I have a policy to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. And as I have made clear time and again during the course of my presidency, I will not hesitate to use force when it is necessary to defend the United States and its interests. Well, Mr. President, the time has come to put that policy into action.”
“Don’t you care about what I think Israel should do?”
“Of course, Mr. President! And I’m following your advice. Iran’s leaders should have no doubt about the resolve of the United States just as they should not doubt Israel’s sovereign right to make its own decisions about what is required to meet its security needs. Indeed, your genius-level analysis of the situation forces us to bomb Iran.”
“And that’s precisely what we are doing. We fulfilled your request. We waited and gave sanctions a chance. But our intelligence said that Iran would be able to build a nuclear weapon last Thursday whereas your intelligence said they needed another ten days. So we split the difference and the planes are now taking off.”
“But I was only saying that to get reelected!”
“Ha, ha, Oh, Mr. President you are so funny. I’d tell that one to Ehud Barak but he’s busy directing the air strikes. And of course you did win the election after you convinced the American people that free contraceptives for everyone was more important than the collapse of the economy. Brilliantly played.”
“Thanks, Bibi. But what I really wanted was to make some deal with the Iranians so they could not build a bomb right now and just hide all the components or maybe they could just pretend to give someone else the enriched uranium and….”
“You were quite right, Mr. President. We all wanted you to succeed. But Iran didn’t do what you wanted. Very foolish of them. But we are doing precisely what you said, right?
“Are you sure you won’t reconsider?”
“Mr. President! I’d never think of ignoring all the good advice you gave me and that’s precisely why we’re attacking Iran. You explained in that superb manner of yours that Faced with these increasingly dire consequences, Iran’s leaders still have the opportunity to make the right decision. They can choose a path that brings them back into the community of nations, or they can continue down a dead end. Well, this is the dead end.”
“I was really great in that speech!”
Yes, Mr. President, we were all deeply moved, So much so that we waited [static on the phone line drowns out the precise number] months for diplomacy to work and yet the only thing Iran has given you in exchange is a spit in the eye and a knee to the groin. Well, you didn’t take that from Usama bin Ladin or from Muammar Qadhafi, right? And, besides, as you always say, There is no shortage of speeches on the friendship between the United States and Israel. But I’m also mindful of the proverb, `A man is judged by his deeds, not his words.’”
“Yes, I did say that didn’t I?”
“So now we know you will fulfill your promises with deeds. You said that you have Israel’s back and we know you wouldn’t put a knife into it. Ho! ho! And think of all this will do for green energy! With the price of oil going up it will mobilize support for your windmills, algae ponds, and solar panels.”
“Okay, I better go now. Give my regards to Michelle. That diet she recommended for me is doing wonders and I promise that all of the pilots going on the attack have been eating their vegetables. And, Mr. President, all of Israel wants to thank you for explaining to us why, when sanctions and diplomacy failed, we would have to attack Iran to ensure it can never get nuclear weapons.”
“Thanks, Bibi, and I’m glad you followed my advice.”
Note: While the above is written in satirical form I believe that this is basically what’s going to happen. The words in bold are from Obama’s AIPAC speech.