Obama’s State of the Union Address – “No, We Can’t”

In his speech before congress last night which focused mainly on the American economy, President Obama devoted a few minutes to the issue of Iran’s nuclear program and repeated the hollow clichés we have already heard so many times in the past from him and from his predecessor George W. Bush. The United States will prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, all options are on the table, it is committed to Israel’s security, and never in the past was military cooperation between the two states so strong.

I cannot but repeat what I have been saying over the last three years to anyone willing to listen and have been writing on this site during the last couple of months: No sanctions can stop Iran’s nuclear program any more. Even if strangling sanctions were placed on Iran three years ago, it is doubtful that they would have achieved the hoped for results. The only thing that can stop Iran now from developing nuclear weapons is a destructive military strike. What the Americans and the EU are doing now is too little, too late, and the result of avoiding military action against Iran’s nuclear facilities will be a nuclear armed Iran which nobody will want to confront any more. North Korea is holding America by the crotch with a handful of ballistic missiles armed with nuclear warheads that can probably reach San Francisco and Los Angeles. The strong military cooperation which Obama is so proud of is mainly defensive – when Iran will possess nuclear missiles, I am sure we will all sleep better knowing that American warships will try to intercept them on their way to metropolitan Tel-Aviv.

In the last few days I was glad to read some of Israel’s leading security commentators lining up with this opinion. It is not because they read ‘With Much Courage and Peace’, I am sure they don’t. It is because they understand today what any school child who learnt a bit of history could have told them years ago. In one of the televised debates between the Republican candidates, Newt Gingrich said that he was talking about the situation in the Middle East as a historian. Mitt Romney mocked him and said that the White House needed a president, not a historian. Romney is very wrong. The White House desperately needs someone with a historic perspective who understands the significance of avoiding taking action against a Fascist dictator acquiring arms and informing the world that he intends to wipe you off the map. If there is one good thing I can say about Benyamin Netanyahu, it is that the man has a historic perspective, which he probably acquired from his father.

The recovery of the American economy is indeed very important to the world but as Israelis and Jews, what must occupy our minds first is the United States’ strategic weakness under Obama’s leadership. When the Nazis marched my grandmother and uncle in front of machine guns in Rumbula Forest, I am sure she did not ask herself if there was enough money for next week in the tin box on the kitchen shelf, but it is very likely that he asked himself where the hell did the Soviet army, which he trusted so much as a Communist, disappear to in that critical moment.

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8 Responses to Obama’s State of the Union Address – “No, We Can’t”

  1. Joe Millis says:

    Oh, puhleeze…You noticed that flotilla of warships going through the Straits of Hormuz? The crippling economic sanctions on the Iranian central bank and others? The collapse of the Iranian economy leading to the ayatollahs’ not being able to leave Tehran? Mysterious bangs in the night?
    How can you compare 1930s Germany with an economic and military basket case like Iran? Germany was an economic powerhouse whose main industries did deals with the biggest industrialists at the time, such as Ford, GM and IBM. What’s Iran got? Germany’s banks, including the Reichsbank, did deals with the world and I don’t recall any big power putting its ships up the Kiel Canal. Would that they had…
    And what, precisely, would a military strike achieve – if it is even doable? It’s not Osirak 1981, with one reactor in one place. The Iranians have spread their industry far and wide, and that’s why soft power and all sorts of naughtiness in the night are working. So what would a strike achieve? A two-year delay? At best…

  2. Much Courage and Peace says:

    We both read the same news, we just interpret them very differently. Let’s discuss this again in 12 months. We will both be much wiser by then.

  3. Steven Kalka says:

    I think mutually assured destruction would make Iran highly unlikely to use any nuclear weapons it develops. I’ll bet a lot of the their threatening rhetoric is for domestic consumption and the need to not appear weak. In their long war with Iraq, it was Saddam Hussein who initiated the military attack.

    • Israel can’t allow Iran to have a nuclear bomb. Period. No “assured distruction” will work in this case because just one bomb on Israel might wipped her out before she could even retaliate (not to mention the thousands of rockets aimed at her by Hizbolah and Hamas already).

  4. Joe Millis says:

    Eitan, you are too pessimistic. You know those six German Dolphin class u-boats Israel has bought? They are capable of carrying several nuclear warheads on long-range Jericho- and Ivri-class missiles adapted for sub use. One or two of these subs is always on patrol near the Straits of Hormuz, well within range of several Iranian cities. That’s second-strike capability and, as Steven notes, MAD. Historically, the Iranians and the Persians before them have always talked a good game, but have always waited for the other side to strike the first blow.

    • I am very pessimistic about the wicked-tyrant-irrational-religious-fanatic-hatemonger who says, every other day, that he’ll be ready to wipe-out Israel off the map, when the world is playing with “sanctions” to try to persuade him to stop building nuclear weapons, which he denies, and everyone knows he is lying. I just can’t be convinced that the right thing to do is wait untill this guy get his weapons, and since Israel may have such weapons as well, we should accept living under the threat of being annahilated a second time within 100 years.
      I never met any of my four grandparents, 5 uncles and ants and 7 cousins…. Never ever again!

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