Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Some encouraging signs about Obama, Israel, and Iran

Today's LA Times reports that V-P Joe Biden has warned Netanyahu off attacking Iran. Biden is known for making statements that he's sometimes had to back away from, but I have to believe that on an issue as important and contentious as this, he made this statement only with due consultation with, and approval from, his boss. If Netanyahu were to authorize a strike against Israel at this point, he'd be doing so without any green light from the US. Of course, in case he decided to go ahead and launch a strike anyway, he may be counting on the ability of the Israel Lobby [and yes, my friends, let's dispense with any more pretense on this score. It does exist, so let's call it what it is] to rally support in Congress and among the American public to come to Israel's rescue. That would amount to a humongous game of chicken, with the planet's stability the stakes.

And I'm just as encouraged by the news of the Iran experts that Messrs. Holbrooke and Ross are bringing on board: respectively, Vali Nasr and Ray Takeyh, both of them respected analysts who have long advocated engaging Iran over attacking Iran.

Some big lines are being drawn in the sand, by the leaders of two countries who have professed themselves to be each other's strongest allies. Of course, it's right about now that we can expect Mr. Ahmadinejad to do or say something stupidly inflammatory. Here's hoping that the Ayatollah Khamenei has him on a short leash right now.

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