Belmont Club


Two parts of a single coordinated enterprise were taking shape on opposite sides of the world. The pieces of a giant puzzle were coming together with potentially lethal results as Caroline Glick explains:

North Korea is half a world away from Israel. Yet the nuclear test it conducted on Monday has the Israeli defense establishment up in arms and its Iranian nemesis smiling like the Cheshire Cat. … Less than two years ago, on September 6, 2007, the IAF destroyed a North Korean-built plutonium production facility at Kibar, Syria. The destroyed installation was a virtual clone of North Korea’s Yongbyon plutonium production facility. … the main reason it makes sense to assume that Iran and North Korea coordinated their tests is because North Korea has played a central role in Iran’s missile program.

Nuclear weapons are the heart of the dispute between Obama and Netanyahu over the way the “peace process” should go forward. According to Glick, Obama believes that the establishment of a Palestinian state constitutes the unavoidable first step in the process in which the nukes will be dealt with somewhere along the way, maybe, while Netanyahu is seeking a guarantee of national survival before signing on to Washington’s plan. The differences between the two are going to be highlighted by the IDF’s plans to launch “largest civil defense drill in the country’s history for next week”. Israel, Glick says, is alone. Ironically, like North Korea and Iran, on this subject there is nothing more the Israeli government has to say to Barack Obama.

Between North Korea’s nuclear test, Iran’s brazen bellicosity and America’s betrayal, it is clear that the government can do nothing to impact Washington’s policies toward Iran. No destruction of Jewish communities will convince Obama to act against Iran. Today Israel stands alone against the mullahs and their bomb. And this, like the US’s decision to stand down against the Axis of Evil, is not subject to change.

From a spin-master’s point of view, Netanyahu’s resistance to Obama carries the danger that the President’s PR men can portray him as a man as fully unreasonable as Kim and Ahmadinejad. But Netanyahu may be following a strategy calculated to win him more than he loses. By so blatantly defying Obama he is anchoring his position so publicly that it will become hard for him to climb down, even if he wanted to. Netanyahu is doing the equivalent of chaining himself to his position. To the question why? one possible answer is time. Netanyahu cannot beat Obama in a straight power play. To have any political chance he must throw Obama’s tempo off.

The Israeli Prime minister knows that Obama’s political capital will be greatest in his first 200 days. After that, Obama will have to renew it by some signal accomplishment as the impetus of his campaign dissipates. And perhaps Netanyahu is calculating that Obama is all hat and no cattle and if he holds up the President up long enough for that to become evident, he might have a chance. If Obama cannot bend the Israeli government to his intent during his window of opportunity, he will be overtaken by other events. Lost in the battle of wills between the two men is the most tantalizing question of all: how the US and Israel wound up on opposite sides of this process? And is this a good thing or a perverse reversal of history?

Tip Jar or Subscribe for $5