“Le mieux est l’ennemi du bien” – (The best is the enemy of the good) – Voltaire
Now that a Manhattan Supreme Court Justice is allowing a woman to serve her husband with divorce papers via Facebook, The Wrongologist wants to break up with Israel via his blog.
Wednesday’s NYT had an editorial about Israel’s newest demands regarding the proposed Iran negotiations by the P5+1 nations: (brackets by the Wrongologist)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has gone into overdrive against a nuclear agreement with Iran. On Monday, his government made new demands that it claimed would ensure a better deal than the preliminary one…announced last week. [Israel’s] new demands…would not mean a better deal, but no deal at all.
Israel must accept that their objectives are qualitatively different than those of the UK, France, Germany, China, Russia and the US (P5+1) regarding Iran’s nuclear program. Based on Mr. Netanyahu’s rants, and the incessant punditry in the media and commentary (mostly by) Republican members of Congress, it seems that the US has just one ally, Israel, and that our goals in the ME are perfectly aligned. They are not.
The Iranian framework agreement has the potential to become a historic game-changer. As Robert Parry said: (Emphasis by the Wrongologist)
The April 2 framework agreement with Iran represents more than just a diplomatic deal to prevent nuclear proliferation in the Middle East. It marks a crossroad that offers a possible path for the American Republic to regain its footing and turn away from endless war.
Move away from endless war. Who would be against that? We are still a Satan to Iran, but maybe no longer the Great Satan, now, just a pretty bad Satan. When we think about Iran, we should think about how we have played both sides against the middle with Iran for decades:
• Iran holds our people hostage in 1979
• We enter Iran/Iraq war on Saddam’s side in 1982
• We sell Iran HAWK missiles in 1986 as part of the Iran-Contra debacle
• In 1988, we accidentally shoot down an Iranian civilian airliner, killing about 300. The US paid compensation, but never apologized or acknowledged wrongdoing
• Iran helps us hunt down Al-Qaeda personnel fleeing Afghanistan in 2002, after we sent the CIA in to flush them out
• We first sanctioned Iran in 1979, with the UN joining in, in 2006
Can this kind of inconsistent relationship lead to warm feelings? Maybe not, but should we sacrifice a possible game-changing initiative for Israel’s sake? More Americans are saying “no”. A Reuters/Ipsos poll showed that:
• 31% of US Republicans favor the nuclear deal with Iran
• 30% of Republicans oppose the pact, while 40% are not sure
• 50% of Democrats supported it, while 39% were not sure
• Among independents – 33% voiced support, 21% were opposed, and 45% are unsure
And Israel itself is losing American political support. From David Atkins:
The number of Americans who view Israel as an ally of the US has sharply decreased, according to a new poll…Only 54% of Americans polled said that Israel is their country’s ally, a decline from 68% in 2014 and 74% in 2012. Rasmussen Reports, who conducted the poll, said Israel had “tumbled down the list.” By contrast, 86% and 84% see Canada and Britain respectfully as the US’s allies.
When broken down along party political lines, 76% of Republicans view Israel an ally of the US compared to only 45% of Democrats and 47% of Independents.
Given how politically divided the US has become, it’s not surprising that an Israel that aligns itself in a strongly partisan way with one US political party, while it finds itself losing support from citizens of the country it relies on most for aid and defense.
So, we have different objectives. Moreover, our relationship has largely one-sided. We defend and support Israel, but what do they provide in return? Well, they buy our weapons with our aid money. In fact, the special relationship has hurt us geopolitically. If Bibi’s administration thinks it’s a good idea to play partisan politics in the US, then the appropriate response of the US administration should be: “Good luck with your ME follies”.
And why the Israeli hysteria? Israel has several hundred nuclear weapons (assessments are 80-400). If Iran builds nuclear weapons, and then attempts to obliterate Israel, Israeli nuclear submarines will obliterate much of Iran. If the Iran nuclear deal fails, nuclear Israel and nuclear Iran will have to live in a Balance of Nuclear Terror, as does America, and many other countries. It’s not pleasant, but the rest of the nuclear club has been able to live with the existential menace.
If the US leaves the marriage with Israel and goes back to being simply their ally, Israel’s security will not be affected, since the US continues to make clear that we will defend them. But, we would finally be free to give clear voice to our own policies. For too long it has been the Israeli tail wagging the US dog when it comes to Middle East policy.
An Iran deal potentially opens the door to an eventual US withdrawal from its hugely expensive, and failed history in the Middle East. A completed deal would pave the way to shrink our war machine, one that has spilled much American blood and treasure in a region of the world where we have little business meddling.
So, Israel, the Wrongologist is changing his status with you to “its complicated”.