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Patrick Buchanan
Pat Buchanan
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Bibi's Dilemma -- and Barack's


"Bibi" Netanyahu was disgusted.

"My initial reaction is that Iran has gotten a freebie. It has got five weeks to continue enrichment without any limitation."

The Israeli prime minister was referring to Saturday's meeting in Istanbul of the P5-plus-1 — the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany — with representatives from Iran.

Subject: Iran's nuclear program. After a "constructive" meeting of one day, all agreed to meet again in Baghdad, May 23, and departed.

For Bibi, it was a strategic defeat.

For Israel's goal is a halt to Iran's enrichment of uranium and the removal of enriched uranium from that country.

But Catherine Ashton, the foreign minister for the European Union who is leading the P5-plus-1, stated that the West accepts Iran's position that, as a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, she has a right to a peaceful nuclear program and nuclear power.

"Iran's right to the peaceful use of nuclear power" must be fully respected, Ashton said. No one dissented.

If the United States assents to Iran's enrichment of uranium, and Iran gives assurances that the Ayatollah's fatwa against the acquisition of nuclear weapons is being observed, a Washington-Tehran deal may be in the offing.

What would be the elements?

An end to Iran's enrichment of uranium to 20 percent, once Iran has a sufficient stock for its program of nuclear medicine.

Transfer of any excess 20 percent uranium outside the country to prevent further enrichment to weapons grade.

Regular intrusive inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities to ensure there is no diversion of uranium to bomb-making.

What would Iran demand?

Step-by-step lifting of sanctions, as it demonstrates it is telling the truth about not seeking nuclear weapons.

Such a deal would end the U.S.-Iran confrontation, yet allow Iran to continue to gain the knowledge, experience, and technical capacity to break out, should it ever decide to take the risk and build the weapons.

Netanyahu believes Israel's security and survival mandate the nuclear castration of Iran. Sunday, in a detailed report cleared by military censors, Israeli TV showed how an attack would be mounted.

Yet reporter Alon Ben David conceded that the Israeli Air Force "does not have the capacity to destroy the entire Iranian program."

Unlike the Iraqi nuclear reactor and the Syrian reactor Israel bombed in 1981 and 2007, Iran has many more nuclear facilities, spread over a far larger country, farther away and better defended.

And given the public threats by Israel and test runs by the IAF as far as Gibraltar, no attack on Iran will come as a total surprise.

There would be losses of planes and pilots.

What would be the results?

While it would destroy some of Iran's nuclear facilities, it would not end the program but rally Iranians behind the regime. And it might trigger retaliation by Iran and Hezbollah, by missile, against Israel itself.

An Israeli attack on Iran, which President Obama and the U.S. military strongly oppose, would also put the issue of a U.S. war with Iran front and center in the presidential election.

What would America do; what would Obama do?

The election of 2012 could turn on that decision.

Should Iran retaliate against Israel, the Israeli lobby and the neocons would demand that America come to Israel's defense. Mitt Romney, the GOP hawks, evangelical Christians, conservative commentators and many Democrats would echo the demand, no matter who started the shooting.

A clamor would arise for us to finish the job of smashing Iran's nuclear facilities.

As Israel is admired and Iran's regime is detested, Obama could never declare neutrality. And should he order the U.S. military to go to Israel's aid, his re-election might well be assured.

As commander in chief and first diplomat, Obama holds all the cards.

If Iran is accommodating, the sanctions he has imposed will be seen as successful. If Iran balks in negotiations, he can impose new sanctions.

If Iran walks out of the talks, he can issue ultimata.

If Israel attacks Iran, he can come to Israel's defense and finish the job of destroying Iran's nuclear facilities. If done close to the election, this would assure Obama's re-election. The "October surprise" of 2012.

What are Iran's interests and options?

Tehran cannot want war with the United States. For whatever the damage done to U.S. interests, the destruction of Iran's air, naval and missile forces and nuclear program would be total.

The smartest course for Iran to pursue is to demonstrate to the West that she is reasonable and anxious to prove she has no present or future intention of building atomic weapons.

Which is what Iran was doing in Istanbul.

No wonder Bibi is frustrated. If there is no U.S. attack on Iran by November, and Obama wins, there may never be a U.S. attack on Iran.

Israel cannot do to Iran what Bibi wants done to Iran. Only Obama can.

But how does Bibi get Obama to do it, before November?

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of "Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?"To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at



1 Comments | Post Comment
Sir;... I doubt the capacity of the United States to declare neutrality in any respect, and in regard to any country without the permission of the State of Israel...We have been like Pavlov's dog in relation to Israel for so long that when they ring a bell we salivate all over ourselves... We cannot say no to them, and should not even try... What is the point???

They are the brain and we are the body, and if the brain wants the body to drive itself beyond exhaustion, or lean far out of balance in the effort to push events in their direction, then what can the body do???.We do not want to be seen as controlling the region... The possession of Israel has always offered the West a measure of stratigic influence in the Middle East...It may seem to the unwary that they are using us; but we have also used them, and we are like two co-dependents arguing about who is more responsible for their failed relationship...

What does it matter to us that being a friend to Israel is seen as being an enemy to Islam??? What does it mean to us that in our support of Israel we have given up every claim to being a free agent, to or impartiality... They will never hit us here no matter how much we hurt them there... Are they not, as Israel would contend, so many empty headed Arabs???Clearly; there is nothing wrong with their heads were they not so imbued with religious certainty... It sort of gives the lie to Israeli propaganda to think these people might be capable of Nuclear Physics... The victors always like to justify their exploitation upon the naivat'e and primitiveness of their victims... Did not Churchill call the Palestinians Desert Philosophers??? Was no better justification for taking their land ever contrived??? And now we would take their oil, Iran's and leave them without the energy to fire a flashbulb and call it justice...

Justice it might be, if all the Islamic fanatics could kill off all the Jewish fanatics... There is not a blade that could be slipped in between Israeli madness and Muslim madness, and where one leaves off the other begins... But the Israelis are our nuts, and they are no friend of any person who would ask for justice in the Middle East... Mr. Obama is just some Swartzo to them... If they run up the price of gasoline, and run him out of office; -in what fashion would they be hurt???

Our changing political scene, the fact that our political scene changes presents them with endless opportunities for influence... A few thousand dollars in any of our campaigns can reap them millions... If they do not like our government they can change our government into one they do like... I do not think they like our Mr. Obama much... I think they find him as too idealistic, and unwilling to see the advantage of a state of constant warfare... Even though Mr. Obama has given every indication of being their loyal servant, the republicans are already on the record as offering Israel their unqualified support... That is our money, carte blanche... That is our lives given to support the aims of Israel...

What is it to them if we have to borrow the money we give them to loan to us , or to influence our elections??? The whole affair of Israel is what it has been since the First World War... They are palying a game in which we stake them, and they get to keep all they win... Who would refuse that situation??? Heads I win, and tails, you lose... That is our highly valued relationship with Israel... Thanks... Sweeney
Comment: #1
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Tue Apr 17, 2012 4:36 AM
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