Andrew Sullivan on Iran: Obama’s most dangerous political opponent is now Netanyahu

I’m watching the run-up to war with Iran very closely, since I think we might get one. I also want to know who’s behind it.

Some background: We started here, by noticing a quiet bombardment in the “press.” If you go back to that post, note that Obama’s Pentagon chief Panetta is in the parade.

These two posts (here and here) looked at the role of Israel as the potential hand up the press puppet’s … behavior. From the latter post:

Based on my eleven-dimensional reading of this recent Iran article, another major one, this time by Dennis Ross in the New York Times, I believe it’s now a two-handed game between Netanyahu and Obama, with Iran being the downer bull they’re jointly punishing.

Netanyahu’s position — “If you keep kicking Iran, I don’t have to pull out this gun and make him really mad.” Ross says it this way:

Israel worries that it could lose its military option, and it may be reluctant to wait for diplomacy to bear fruit. That said, Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have consistently called for “crippling sanctions,” reflecting a belief that Iran’s behavior could be changed with sufficient pressure. The fact that crippling sanctions have finally been applied means that Israel is more likely to give these sanctions and the related diplomatic offensive a chance to work. And it should.

“Crippling sanctions” means just that; think I was joking with my “punishing the downer bull” metaphor?

Shorter Ross: “Bibi to Barack, don’t make me do something stupid; it’s all on you if I do.”

All to prepare you for this blockbuster news and analysis from Andrew Sullivan, no raving lunatic.

He takes my idea of a two-handed game between Netanyahu and Obama, and gives it an eleven-dimensional twist, this time by spotting a controlling Israeli hand. Sullivan says Netanyahu is using the American Right — AIPAC (like Dennis Ross, quoted above) and the pro-Zion Left Behind crowd — to secure his own base and topple Obama from power.

I know; sounds … novelish. Still, this stuff happens. Let’s let Sullivan make his case (my emphases and some reparagraphing):

This is disturbing news [source FoxNews, 2/27/12]:

Israeli officials say they won’t warn the U.S. if they decide to launch a pre-emptive strike against Iranian nuclear facilities, according to one U.S. intelligence official familiar with the discussions. The pronouncement, delivered in a series of private, top-level conversations, sets a tense tone ahead of meetings in the coming days at the White House and Capitol Hill.

What it amounts to is a formal declaration that, if the US attempts at any point to differ seriously with Israel’s far right, the alliance is over.

That’s after the most serious sanctions ever imposed on Iran, a covert war, and greater isolation for the Tehran regime both at home and abroad than at any point since 1979. … Israel would, without warning, put US troops and Western civilians at direct risk of terrorist assaults, would likely tip Pakistan into even more outright hostility to any cooperation with the West, and rally the Iranian opposition to its foul regime. [And lots of etc.]

Note that the first quote comes from Fox (not unreliable in reporting Netanyahu, and a go-to spokes-source for Bibi).

If true, this is “essential[ly] blackmail” as Sullivan says. After which the right-wing Israeli government would use their agents (my word) in “Congress, the entire GOP, its media outlets (like Fox, and the Washington Post), and a key part of the Democratic fundraising machinery” to side with them — against Obama.

I can’t see how to disagree with that analysis — again, if the initial Fox report is true.

Then Sullivan gets multi-dimensional:

I don’t think you can understand the Republican strategy for this election without factoring in a key GOP player, Benjamin Netanyahu. He already has core members of the US Congress siding openly with him against the US president and the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman. … Netanyahu’s war would … encourage American evangelical voters to turn out against Obama, the “anti-Christ”, while other Greater Israel fanatics, like Sheldon Adelson, keep bankrolling as many Greater Israel GOP nominees as they can.

A global war which polarizes America and the world is exactly what Netanyahu wants. And it is exactly what the GOP needs to cut through Obama’s foreign policy advantage in this election.

Be sure to read Sullivan’s conclusion.

There’s much I disagree with Andrew Sullivan about, but this analysis has me thinking. Would Movement Conservatives be part of this plan? As my old Uncle Straight Talk says: “Son, they’ll do anything to win; anything. But you knew that, right?”


Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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