What will Obama’s first international crisis be – one with life or death consequences. I’ve thought much about this, because it will come; there is no argument about that. The question is what and when? Here is my take on the most likely scenario:
Israel will hold elections early next year. Last month, a coalition could not be formed by the ruling centrist Kadima party, primarily because the Shas faction demanded a steep boost in welfare spending. In addition, peace negotiations with the Palestinians have essentially fallen through. Tzipi Livni, head of Kadima, called for elections.
Most opinion polls in Israel predict Benjamin Netanyahu of the right-wing Likud party to win. Netanyahu is not one to hesitate to take decisive action, and he is faced with a dilemma. Iran is going to develop a nuclear weapon; probably as many as a few dozen. They have sworn a blood oath to see Israel wiped from the face of the earth.
This begs a question that has been out there for some time: Will Bush launch a preemptive strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities? He didn’t. The new question is, will Obama? This question has an obvious answer, and Netanyahu knows it, so he faces a dilemma – a very tough one.
Should Israel then launch a preemptive strike itself? This possibility has been tossed around as well. Several issues here Israel has to address – one being do they have the capability to hit all the nuclear facilities, especially since they have been dispersed and some placed deep underground. Has Bush helped them technologically in anticipation of Republicans losing the Presidency? Also, striking Iran will trigger a war with Iran; at least an undeclared one. If Israel is not outright attacked, terrorist and suicide bombers will most assuredly descend on them in apocalyptic hords.
Regardless, Israel has to decide if risking not completely taking out the Iranian nuclear capabilities, and starting a war with Iran (and maybe others) is worth it. The alternative? Wait for Iran to develop nuclear weapons and either truck them to key areas in Israel or launch them on their Korean missiles. Just one well-placed nuclear detonation in Israel, and the country will cease to exist. Defense would be useless and Israel would be overrun from all sides.
What do you think Netanyahu will do? What do you think Obama will do? What to do, what to do!