Joe Biden presented the administration’s version of the linkage theory to the AIPAC convention. I’ve linked the video below; the relevant part is about 5:20 into it (you really don’t want to listen to Biden for any longer than absolutely necessary — he invented ‘boring’).
His argument is that Iran “exploits” the Israeli-Palestinian and Israeli-Arab conflicts in order to extend its influence into the Sunni world, something which would be otherwise “counter-intuitive”. Biden says that the continuation of the conflicts “strengthens Iran’s position”. The conflicts “give Iran a playing field upon which to extend its influence, sponsor extremist sentiments, inflame public opinion”. So in Biden’s view, ending the conflict would pull the rug out from under Iran.
Now almost nobody aspiring to leadership in the Muslim Middle East has ever done so by suggesting that maybe Israel isn’t so bad after all (Sadat may be an exception, but he didn’t survive it). But
- Iran is not so much making use of the conflict as creating it. Any actual moderate Palestinians have been suppressed in favor of extremists who are either Iranian proxies themselves or take advantage of the climate they have created. This makes it hard — impossible — to end the conflict while Iran pulls the strings.
- A primary Iranian goal is to eliminate Israel, both because it is an obstacle to other objectives and as an end in itself. Ending the conflict by forcing Israel to cede the territories to a Palestinian entity which will soon be controlled by Iranian proxy Hamas will severely weaken Israel and help, not hurt, Iran.
- As long as attention is focused on Israel and the Palestinians, Iran continues to develop nuclear weapons.
The best way to keep them from getting the bomb and taking control of the region is to directly confront Iran, diplomatically or militarily — whatever it takes to end its nuclear program and its export of worldwide terrorism.
After that I think we will be surprised to see how much simpler it is to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Here’s Biden at AIPAC: