BLOG 265 August 10, 2015
United States television commercials are beginning to heat up. One set of advertisements says, “Run from the Iran Negotiations.” The other side features Israeli generals who support the nuclear deal. You’d think they were selling soap or cars. Unfortunately, the politicians are currently turning the question into a political issue rather than dealing with the substance. Presidential candidate Huckabee recently made himself look foolish talking about Obama leading the Jewish people “into the ovens.”
So, what are the facts?
The first step is to develop a perspective on the problem. Let’s see if we can place some of the issues in a larger frame of reference.
1. We need crystal clarity about the meaning of this “deal.” Both Iran and Israel believe that Iran can develop a nucelar weapon after a relatively short ten year moratorium. Obama’s statements have been somewhat confusing and ambiguous. The public needs to know what is expected to happen at the end of the 10 year period.
- Iran has been and is a dangerous destabilizing force in the Middle East. The Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei recently made a statement that nothing in this deal improves their contempt for the United States and Israel. Can temporarily taking building a nuclear weapon off the table improve the terrorist threat Iran has been promoting? It has been argued that removing sanctions will release billions of dollars for more terrorist activities. Will it?
The only person who determines how this money will be spent is Khamenei. He has been clear about how he’d intend to use the cash and that’s not good.
3. There is a difference of opinion inside Israel about the Iranian deal. A number of military leaders disagree with Prime Minister Netanyahu. Why is there a difference in point of view. Obviously, Netanyahu’s strong rhetoric doesn’t reflect the entire country. Who’s right?
A former brigadier-general and division head of the Shin Bet (Israel security agency) recently wrote that the State of Israel is not under any form of existential security threat at the present time. Lior Akerman maintains that even with the radical Islamic uprisings in the region, Israel’s military situation is quite calm. Neither Hamas nor the Palestinian authority pose a threat to Israel. In fact, Hamas’s financial situation is bleak.
In this current debate over the nuclear negotiations, Israel will generally be portrayed as struggling to survive a common enemy (although who that enemy is goes undefined) Many like Akerman would argue that Israel’s immediate problems are a faltering health care program, a debilitating school system, and a serious erosion of support from the United States. These voices would claim Netanyahu would do better to turn his attention to these issues rather than orchestrate a political war with the American administration.
Before we can come to a clear, final decision, the American public needs more clarification on these issues and less emotional and political rhetoric. Before you give in to your emotions, make sure your mind is informed. And it won’t be easy with all the smoke that’s in the air.