Does it give her pause that Rose Gottemoeller, assistant secretary of state and America's chief nuclear arms negotiator, has called on Israel (along with Pakistan, India, and North Korea) to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty? By including Israel on a list of nations known to either have nuclear weapons or be close to acquiring them, the Obama administration is introducing a sinister note of moral equivalence to the problem of nuclear weapons in the Middle East. All previous U.S. governments have implicitly accepted that Israel's nuclear weapons pose a threat to no nation and are maintained only to deter Israel's enemies from genocidal attacks.
Like other liberals, my debate opponent probably believes that Obama's apology tour of global capitals was pitch perfect. Of course, it's one thing for the United States, still the world's superpower, to delude itself that winning international popularity contests will make us safer (though it's a dangerous delusion), but Israel, which always sits inches from the precipice of destruction, cannot afford such fantasies at all.
We have recent history to guide us. In 2000, Israel withdrew from the security corridor it had established in southern Lebanon. The world had long been clamoring for Israel to do this. The Iranian-sponsored Hezbollah movement immediately seized the area -- trumpeting its triumph in driving out the enemy. In 2006, southern Lebanon became the launching pad for Hezbollah's missile campaign against northern Israel.
Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005. The Iranian-backed Hamas movement moved quickly and took control there (not without significant internecine bloodshed with Fatah), and again used the territory not to build a peaceful Palestinian enclave but to launch 10,000 missiles against southern Israel.
Fatah (which is called moderate because it wants to destroy Israel on the installment plan rather than all at once) retains tenuous control of the West Bank. But even Mahmoud Abbas admits that if Israel were to withdraw completely from the area, Hamas would gain control in a heartbeat.
Next week, Prime Minister Netanyahu will meet with President Obama in Washington. It is hard to see how this relationship can go well. President Obama has sent abundant signals that his foreign policy is 50 percent wishful thinking and 50 percent leftwing mush. There may not be any easy answers to the problem of a nuclear Iran. But pressuring Israel to take suicidal risks is clearly the worst possible approach. Iran will conclude, as its proxies Hezbollah and Hamas at various times concluded, that force and the threat of force work.
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