At the American Israel Public Affairs Committee earlier this month in Washington D.C., Vice President Joe Biden claimed Israel was "stronger and more secure today" thanks to the Obama administration. If the audience wasn't so polite, they probably would have laughed in his face.
Middle East political analyst Elliot Chodoff took the Israel Collective to the Syrian border during our atypical tour of Israel last month. As visitors, we were alarmed by the bombs and artillery fire in the distance, but Chodoff just sighed and said "Welcome to my life."
Chodoff knows a thing or two about terrorism. A major in the Israeli Defense Force reserves, he is surrounded by it every day. That's why Chodoff has no patience for leaders who are complicit in aiding terror.
That brings us to the White House's nuclear deal with Iran. The Obama administration, Chodoff said, acted out of incompetence and complicity when it signed the dotted line.
“The benign answer: it shows incompetence,” he said. “Less benign: they’re complicit. We’re seeing the results of it now with the ballistic missile testing and America waking up and saying, ‘wait a minute there’s a violation of the agreement.’"
Iran needs to be treated as a major threat because it is returning to a period of imperial conquest, Chodoff explained.
“Iranians are really serious about global reach,” he said.
Since President Obama signed the nuclear agreement, Iran has captured our American sailors, gloated about it, and new reports reveal that the nation is even making a statue about the incident.
“I think it’s already hurt America’s image as a superpower,” Chodoff said. “I think the entire ongoing withdrawal from the Middle East is hurting America’s image.”
Chodoff then listed off several other shameful consequences of the deal.
“The deal itself is seen as a multiple failure,” he said. “The nuclear aspect is one. But, the lifting of sanctions, the access to $100 billion is Iranians’ enormous clout even before we get to the nuclear issue. On top of that, there’s a soft element the Israelis are sensitive to: America’s being seen as being beaten by negotiating by the Iranian leadership.”
In addition to America's blunted pride is the issue of Israel's national security. Additional defense systems like the Iron Dome may need to be built, but Israel cannot depend on them solely – especially in a war with terror.
“I’m not a high tech guy, but I think reliance on technology is a poor strategy,” Chodoff said. “I think the Iron Dome is a good example of it, it’s a brilliant system. But it’s going to be useless in a war with Hezbollah, because they’re going to be able to simply overflood the system. All this superb high tech gets beaten by mass production of cheap, stupid weapons.”
As for nuclear weapons, Israel will have an almost impossible challenge. A system called Arrow has the ability to stop weapons before they cause damage, but it has its limits.
“Arrow has a projected 98 percent interception rate, which is phenomenal," Chodoff said. "Except that in order to do that they have to fire two interceptors at every incoming missile and if they can put 100 missiles into the air, with three nuclear warheads, one of them statistically will get through. That’s catastrophic.”
“Iron Dome is great if you’re Hamas and you’re firing rockets,” Chodoff continued. Yet, the use of nuclear weapons “changes all the arithmetic.”
Putting these threats into context, the last thing Israel needed right now was for their Western ally to sign an impertinent nuclear deal with a nation that predicted 25 years from now there will be no Israel.