By Anthony L Hall
I have become so cynical about politics that I’m not the least bit surprised that Republicans forced the (partial) shutdown of the US government on Tuesday merely to appease their hopelessly misguided, Obama-hating constituents; the welfare of the country be damned.
Anthony L. Hall is a Bahamian who descends from the Turks and Caicos Islands. He is an international lawyer and political consultant - headquartered in Washington DC - who also publishes a current events weblog, The iPINIONS Journal, at http://ipjn.com
I am not even surprised that a congenital mix of political ignorance and racial prejudice has millions of uninsured (White) Americans cheering this shutdown. This, even though its aim is to ensure that 50 million uninsured Americans -- of whom these very same poor white folks constitute a vast majority -- never get the healthcare Obamacare provides. But I digress….
The point is that, despite my seasoned cynicism, the chutzpah of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu never ceases to amaze me:
I am simply stupefied by the way Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu has been publicly goading Obama -- almost from day one of his presidency -- to stop Iran [from developing nuclear weapons] before it enters some amorphous ‘zone of immunity’ (presumably where North Korea resides)…
All of his talk about red lines and red lights is just a red herring. If Netanyahu wants to attack Iran today, nobody’s stopping him.
Except that this arrogant SOB would rather sit on his moral high-horse (playing the Holocaust card) and declaim falsely about Obama dictating when and how he should act to defend Israel’s national security interests. All the while he’s presuming to dictate to Obama when and how he should act to defend America’s national security interests with respect to Iran: talk about brass ones…
[I]t is noteworthy that Netanyahu is being supported in his rhetorical misadventure by the same coalition of crusading dunces (namely, Zionists, Christian fundamentalists, and new-world-order neo-cons) who goaded Bush into attacking Iraq. Not to mention that they have all been issuing Chicken-Little warnings about Iran being just months away from going nuclear since the 1990s
…. (“Obama Dissing Israeli PM Netanyahu?” The iPINIONS Journal, September 12, 2012)
Yet, here he goes again. But first, recall how Netanyahu stood before the entire world at the UN General Assembly one year ago and, without any hint of irony or shame, portrayed Iran, for the umpteenth time, as a ticking time bomb:
‘By next spring, next summer at most,’ Iran will have finished the ‘medium enrichment’ stage, Netanyahu said in his UN speech, pointing to the red line he had drawn on his diagram. ‘From there, it’s less than a few months, possibly a few weeks, until they get enough uranium for an enriched bomb. The relevant question is not when will Iran get the bomb; the question is at what stage can we stop Iran?’
(JTA: The Global Jewish News Source, September 28, 2012)
Which, incidentally, should make you question why right-wing Republicans and neo-con pundits (like Charles Krauthammer and William Kristol) damn Obama as weak and feckless for failing to attack Syria after it crossed his red line, but hail Netanyahu as strong and decisive even though he failed to attack Iran after it crossed his red line….
In any event, Netanyahu is continuing his mercurial goading to get Obama to do his dirty (military) work. This was evident during their White House meeting on Monday when he warned Obama that he should not be misled by the peace offerings of Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, who Netanyahu caricatured, with self-righteous indignation, as nothing more than a “wolf in sheep’s clothing.”
To be fair, though, he understandably fears that Iran will emulate North Korea by talking peace while developing nuclear weapons. And who can blame him for becoming a little unnerved by Obama’s solicitous pursuit of Rouhani for just a photo-op handshake at the UN last week, to say nothing of the blushing way Obama trumpeted their “15-minute talk on the phone,” which he made from the White House as Rouhani was being driven to JFK airport.
This is why it was hardly surprising when Netanyahu repeated his warning to Obama and caricature of Rouhani for the world to hear during his annual address before the UN General Assembly on Tuesday.
Except that, in doing so, Netanyahu showed no regard for the fact that Obama has insisted all along that, like Reagan in his dealings with leaders of the Soviet Union, he will “trust but verify, verify, verify” everything Rouhani says. Specifically, that there will be no lifting of crippling sanctions, which have Rouhani crying uncle on behalf of his long-suffering people, until there’s concrete and verifiable evidence that Iran has dismantled all of its facilities to develop nuclear weapons.
What’s more, it cannot be lost on Obama that, if he had his way, Netanyahu would have already misled him down a primrose path to war against Iran similar to the one neo-cons misled his predecessor, George W. Bush, down to war against Iraq 10 years ago….
Mind you, this is not to say that I believe anything Rouhani says about Iran’s nuclear program. It’s just that if there were any truth in anything Netanyahu says about it, Iran would have already done to Tel Aviv what the United States did to Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II….
For 22 years, the Zionist regime has been lying by repeating endlessly that Iran will have the atomic bomb in six months.
After all these years, the world must understand the reality of these lies and not allow them to be repeated
. (Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Agence France Presse, October 1, 2013)
Granted, it may be that Iran has been using its power and influence in recent decades to destabilize governments across the Middle East. Never mind that the United States has been using its power and influence to destabilize governments across the entire world (complete with targeted assassinations) for centuries.
And it may be that Rouhani’s predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, forfeited Iran’s sovereign right to possess nuclear weapons with his reckless rhetoric about wiping Israel off the map. Never mind that President Kim Jong-il did not forfeit North Korea’s sovereign right to possess them with his equally reckless rhetoric about wiping South Korea off the map.
The fact remains that Netanyahu has given Obama just cause to be far more wary of him than he quite properly is of Rouhani.
That said, my Israeli friends would never forgive me if I fail to point out that -- just as Rouhani is demonstrating that not every Iranian president spews the reckless rhetoric Ahmadinejad spewed -- other Israeli prime ministers have demonstrated that not every one of them has been as dogged in trying to goad American presidents into war as Netanyahu has been with Obama.