The often-heard warnings from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are once again sounding out loud. More than ever before, however, Americans are giving serious thought to whether or not the mantra, casting Iran as “The Great Destroyer,” will be forever known as just one more publicity grab that brings nothing but recycled drama to the stage, disguising far more rudimentary and unpopular agendas.
The issue is whether Netanyahu is doing more harm to Israel’s implied cause than good. Netanyahu assured Congress, bereft of at least 45 members from the House and Senate, that with its burgeoning nuclear program, Iran is holding the keys to a Middle Eastern Pandora’s Box. Furthermore, with Iran’s arguably irresponsible stewardship, the region would be plunged into an uncontrollable nuclear arms race, and eventual nuclear conflict.
These threats have been echoing off of walls the world over for 20 years. Israeli officials have predicted as far back as 1992, that by 1998, then 1999, Iran would be in possession of a nuclear weapon. These years came and went, and there is as scarce a supply of evidence in 2015 that progress has been made on this front as there ever was. After making a prediction in 2012 that Iran was one year away from a bomb, Israel’s own intelligence network, Mossad, was contradicting Netanyahu. They sent a report indicating that there was no intelligence showing that Iran had even begun preparations for building a bomb. Although they had enrichment capabilities that enabled some 20 percent grade Uranium, that material had been destroyed as per the agreement with the P5+1 committee, and all enrichment appeared to be, as Iran assured the world, Uranium that was headed for civilian use. Thus, the drama with Iran continues.
This time, however, though the mantra was the same, the methods employed to deliver such recycled drama were unprecedented, risky, bordering on foolhardy, counterproductive, and with an eye towards creating dissent in the ranks of the committee handling negotiations, largely unsuccessful. Both the leaders in Iran and President Obama shrugged the speech and its content off, making it clear that there would be no interruptions or changes in the negotiation goals or plans, and that the speech in effect proposed no solutions that bore additional consideration.
Furthermore, it has created a palatable rift across the aisle on the issue of Iran first, and on the issue of support to Israel second. The so-called “unshakable commitment to Israel” seemed to be on full review if the comments and impressions given to reporters from representatives on both sides of the aisle are to be believed, and most seem to center around the audacity and disrespect it took to perform this sort of end-around on President Obama. It only hurts the cause more when one considers that so little new territory on the Iran situation was covered, so few new revelations on Iran were made, and so little effect was produced by the mantra, short of drama, as to make the entire thing look like an egregious mistake. Iran, in the eyes of many, will look like the target of an organized dramatic assault, with nothing in the way of evidentiary backing. This may be just another recycled excuse for a headlong rush to war with no other options presented or possible.
Opinion by Keith Horsey