John Mearsheimer speculates about Netanyahu’s and Barak’s Iran war calculation here. In recent days, the Israeli press has been filled with scare-mongering articles proclaiming an Israeli attack on Iran may be inevitable, even imminent; a political battle pits Netanyahu against the heavyweights of the Israeli military and intelligence agencies, who almost universally think launching a war would be unwise. Veteran (and now retired) US diplomat Nicholas Burns weighs in:
[T]he United States needs to take the reins of this crisis from Israel to give us more independence and protect Israel’s core interests at the same time. Israel’s concern that an Iranian nuclear weapon would pose an unacceptable risk is completely understandable. We should reaffirm our determination to protect Israel’s security. But the United States, not Israel, must lead on Iran during the next year. It is not in America’s interest to remain hostage to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s increasingly swift timetable for action.
Note Burns’s reference to the US as Israel’s “hostage” — a striking formulation for a man with a reputation for measured words. But I fear Mearsheimer is right when he channels what Bibi and Ehud Barak are thinking:
There is all this talk about how an attack will threaten our relations with the United States, but there is every reason to think our American supporters can control events there and guarantee a favorable outcome; they always do. Furthermore, who in the United States is going to stand up and criticize us? These people are basically wussies. In fact, the Americans will probably come in on our side if we go to war before the election.
Wussies, hostages to a foreign power. Who would have imagined this to be the fate of America, erstwhile superpower?