The United States is committing itself to a war on behalf of another nation and it is as if nothing is happening. Commentary on President Obama’s speech at AIPAC and his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been limited, apparently in the belief that if no one talks about it the war can begin on schedule. There has been plenty of coverage on Iran, however, all of it playing up the threat that the country allegedly poses. Some “thoughtful” commentary has been paying attention to Obama’s drawing a red line that is different from that of Israel, i.e. that military intervention should be dependent on preventing Iran’s actual acquisition of a nuclear weapon rather than its only having the capability to eventually develop one. Israel and its US lobby are seeking to make Iran’s technical ability to enrich uranium a casus belli rather than any proof of actual belligerent intent. That capability or “breakthrough” line has already been crossed which would suggest that the US should be at war with Iran already, precisely what Senators Graham, Lieberman, and McCain as well as their AIPAC sponsors would like to see. Obama is instead trying to delay the reckoning, until after elections in November if he can possibly manage it.
And the different red lines are really little more than a red herring. Obama has been drawn into supporting Netanyahu’s war whether he likes it or not. The American president did not bother to explain why Iran is a threat to the United States because it is clear that to attempt to make that argument would be to magnify the actual threat from Tehran far beyond reality. Iran does not threaten the United States and, given its puny economy and military budget, cannot do so. It would easily be contained even if it were to waste its limited resources on developing a crude nuclear device that it would be unable to deliver on target.
This pledge from Obama means that the US will actually be going to war on behalf of what the Israeli leadership considers to be a threat against itself, rightly or wrongly. Israel can defend itself if it feels threatened. It has a vast nuclear arsenal and the means to deliver the weapons on target to include ballistic missiles and submarines. It also has an extensive anti-missile defense system funded by the US taxpayer. Obama calls US support of Israel right or wrong as “having Israel’s back.” Why should the US have anyone’s back apart from those nations with which Washington has a defense treaty that clearly spells out the conditions for support? Who “has the back” of the American people against what Israel and Netanyahu might do?
Obama knows perfectly well that Congress and the media as well as his own financial backers from Chicago — the Pritzker and Crown families — would force the White House to join in any war on Israel’s behalf. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu knows that too. Netanyahu can therefore have his war whenever he wants or he might opt to have his lackeys in the media and Congress crank up the pressure on Obama to produce regime change in the White House to bring in a pro-Israel nut case like Gingrich or Santorum, a guarantee that the United States will be at war with much of the rest of the world for the foreseeable future.
Philip Giraldi is executive director of the Council for the National Interest.