But as the Iranians have insisted, they are entitled, under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty they signed and Israel did not, to enrich uranium for fuel in power plants. Tehran has declared it will not be the only nation to surrender its legal rights under the NPT. And in response to the Israeli military exercises, Tehran conducted its own missile-firing exercises this week.
If neither side yields, confrontation is inevitable. Perhaps soon.
For we are only four months from the election, and Israel is pawing the ground to attack Iran's nuclear facilities.
Is this Bush's back door to war with Iran?
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Adm. Mike Mullen, in Israel a week ago, returned to say a "third front" in the Middle East, with Iran, would be "extremely stressful" to U.S. forces.
He is saying that U.S. ground forces probably cannot now cope with another war, with a nation three times as large as Iraq.
Asked about Israel taking unilateral action, Mullen replied, "This is a very unstable part of the world, and I don't need it to be more unstable." But Mullen is not the president. What did Bush tell Olmert? Does Israel have a green light, a yellow light or a red light?
Should Israel attack Iran and Bush deny complicity, he would no more be believed than were Britain and France in 1956. Then, the Israelis stormed into Sinai, and Britain and France said they were intervening to separate the warring nations and secure the Suez Canal. Outraged, Ike ordered the British, French and Israelis alike to get out of Suez and Sinai. They did.
President Bush must step up to the plate.
If he believes sanctions are not succeeding and Iran's nuclear program must be halted, he should go to Congress for authority to neutralize the facilities. If he has not so concluded, he should tell Israel it is not to start a war that U.S. airmen, sailors, soldiers and Marines will have to finish.
America needs to restore that absolute freedom of action in matters of war and peace she once had, before entering the skein of entangling alliances that now encumber the republic.
No ally, no client state, should ever be allowed to drag America into a war she has not chosen, constitutionally, to fight.
No more blank checks for any nation.