From the clashes, public and private, between these two close allies, it is apparent the United States shares neither Israel's assessment of the threat nor Israel's sense of urgency.
Why not? Why, when Netanyahu says Israel is facing an "existential threat," do the Americans dismiss it?
The first reason is the elephant in the room no one mentions: Israel's own nuclear arsenal. If Fordow is a difficult target for Israel to destroy with conventional air strikes, it could be annihilated with a single atom bomb.
And Israel has hundreds.
Indeed, if Israel has ruled out use of an atomic weapon, even when it says its very existence is threatened, and neoconservatives claim that Iran's mullahs are such death-wishing fanatics they cannot be deterred even by nuclear weapons, what is Israel's awesome atomic arsenal for?
What this suggests is that the Israelis do not believe what they are saying. Their nuclear deterrent is highly credible to all their neighbors. Their existence is not in imminent peril. And the mullahs are not madmen.
When Ronald Reagan was about to take the oath, suddenly those mullahs, assessing that the new American president might be a man of action, not just words, had all the U.S. hostages winging their way home.
When the USS Vincennes mistakenly shot down an Iranian airliner in 1988, the Ayatollah Khomeini, founding father of the Islamic Republic, ended his war with Iraq on unfavorable terms, fearing America was about to intervene on the side of Saddam Hussein.
Like all rulers, good and evil, Iran's leaders want to preserve what they have -- families, homes, lives, privileges, possessions, power. When suicide missions are ordered, you do not read of ayatollahs or of Iranian politicians driving the truck or wearing the vest.
Moreover, the latest report of the international inspectors reveals that while Iran increased its supply of uranium enriched to 20 percent since last spring, an even larger share of that 20-percent uranium has been diverted to make fuel plates for Iran's U.S.-provided research reactor to make medical isotopes.
If there is no reason to go to war with Iran, there is every reason not to go to war. Notwithstanding the alarmist rhetoric of Bibi and Ehud Barak, President Obama should stand his ground. And on this one, Gov. Romney should stand with the president, not the prime minister.
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