I was talking with a friend of mine earlier today, and he made it clear to me that I am not alone in being genuinely concerned about the current state of relations between Israel, Iran and the United States. He made a point that I think accurately encompasses this concern. He said to me: “I really hope Israel doesn’t start a nuclear war. I know that’s probably the wrong way to phrase it [because] Iran is to blame, and radical Islam, but I’m nervous that I’m going to wake up one morning, very soon and read that Israel bombed [Iran’s] sh*t, and [Iran, the Palestinians, and the rest of the Middle East], [have] retaliate[d]… this isn’t 1948.”
Both of us are watching the events unfold from the safety of the United States, but as American Jews, we are extremely troubled. We both have eternal ties to and truly love Israel, and we are both aware of the threat a nuclear Iran poses to its existence. At the same time, we recognize it is unlikely that a unilateral, preemptive strike by Israel will stop (or even delay) Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and to proceed with that course of action will likely result in more harm than good for all. Moreover, in light of the significant costs and consequences of an U.S. military action large enough to cripple Iran’s nuclear program, neither of us is ready to give that our support when there still exists other potential solutions.
Bottom line, like many others, I am legitimately afraid. I do not see a clearly better answer to this problem. And, making the wrong decision could potentially result in catastrophe. But, in the face of all this uncertainty, at my core, I believe in Obama’s strategy of continued sanctions. At this point in time, I believe it has the best chance of preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon while not subjecting Israel, the U.S and the international community to the significant costs associated with a robust military action
I’d also like to note that the “fiery rhetoric” of Republicans regarding Iran worries me. Given the fragility of the Iranian situation, I wish the G.O.P. would not resort to politicizing the issue, which creates an avenue for hot-headedness and emotion to govern decision-making at the expense of rationality and objectivity. The “fiery rhetoric” has an impact; I hope the Republicans realize this. Thomas Friedman wrote on this issue, among others, in a great piece this morning in the Times this morning.
In the end, I find myself hoping (you could call it praying) that sanctions and diplomacy prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and I have to believe, I am not alone in feeling this way.