Bret Stephens (“Obama Is Pushing Israel Toward War“) asks this question:
Events are fast pushing Israel toward a pre-emptive military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, probably by next spring. That strike could well fail. Or it could succeed at the price of oil at $300 a barrel, a Middle East war, and American servicemen caught in between. So why is the Obama administration doing everything it can to speed the war process along?
The rest of Stephens’ well-written and persuasive piece makes the very important points that stopping Iran really is in the interest of the US, and that it better take Israel’s expressed concern seriously. But he doesn’t provide an answer to the question he poses at the start.
Maybe it’s intended to be a rhetorical question, but I would like an answer.
Here are some possible ones, with the most likely ones first:
- The administration doesn’t have a clue what to do, and is waiting for something to happen to give it an idea.
- The administration has decided that nothing can be done, it will live with a nuclear Iran and is confident of its ability to prevent Israel from attacking.
- The administration really believes that it can talk Iran out of building an actual weapon (and that this would solve the problem).
- The administration wants Israel to do it (Stephens points out that this is a bad idea from the US point of view).
- The administration has a secret plan to suddenly get Russia and China to agree to crippling sanctions.
- The administration plans to launch an attack itself.
I really, really hope I’m wrong but I suspect the answer is nos. 1, 2 or 3.
Of course what happens in real life, as Shalom Freedman would suggest, might be something wholly different and entirely unexpected.