Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Israel Plans to Spike the 2012 Presidential Election?

We have a word for that...

According to an article by Michael Carmichael at the The Centre for Research on Globalization

"Senior Israeli officials now confirm that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has, 'decided to attack Iran before the U.S. elections in November.'

Netanyahu's agenda is much broader than knocking out Iranian nuclear installations for his aim is to reshape the political landscape in the USA and Israel shifting everything to the far, far right in order to create a new comfort zone for religious fundamentalists.

Netanyahu's major backer, Sheldon Adelson, is now firmly behind Mitt Romney, and they are known to believe that an Israeli attack on Iran in September or October will displace Obama and many dovish Democrats in Congress and establish a hawkish regime in Washington."

The second two paragraphs may be editorial opinion on the part of Mr. Carmichael, but that sort of activity sounded familiar, in a Madrid Train Bombing sort of way.  Isn't engaging in violence to affect the outcome of government elections considered terrorism in some circles?  Turns out it is, right here in the good old U.S of A.

18 USC § 2331
(1) the term “international terrorism” means activities that—
(A) involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or of any State;
(B) appear to be intended—
(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping

If these serious allegations are true how shall America respond to the threat of transnational military action intended to influence the outcome of national elections?  Cutting off aid to a  country threatening to interfere with our domestic politics through the use of force, or preparing to join in a preemptive strike on Iran's nuclear program since we can't control our titular ally in the region?  

Who is the dog and who is the tail?  

And who sold the tail the most sophisticated, long-range F-16s in the world?

UPDATE: I was called into question for describing Israel as a "titular" ally.  My response:

I think the US has been a strong ally of Israel, even when it could be argued that is was not in our interest, at least in the short term. This would appear to be driven either by high minded altruism or blind loyalty until one considers the efforts of AIPAC and other lobbying organizations. Israel is an ally of America when it suits them. When it doesn't, they go it alone. From one of the articles [...] cited [in this discussion]:

"Which brings us to the most important factor in the October timing of an Israeli strike: the November 2012 presidential elections in the United States. Netanyahu sees a moment of opportunity that will likely not be repeated for years to come. From late September to early November, White House decision-making will be driven by President Obama’s electoral needs — not his diplomatic policy. The mullahs are unloved in America, and many American pundits and politicians are on record supporting Israel’s right to defend itself militarily against an Iranian threat. If Israel goes ahead with a strike, can Obama afford to be seen as trying to prevent it, effectively protecting the mullahs of Teheran in the process?"

Machiavellian survivor in a tough neighborhood, yes. Principled ally, not so much.

The response to my response:

"I'm happy to concede the point that Israel acts in its own self-interest....as do all countries."

My response to the response to my response:

I submit that when it comes to Israel the US does not always act in its own best interest, sometimes to the detriment of its other commitments and objectives around the world. Rather, US politicians vulnerable to leverage applied by AIPAC and other like-minded lobbyists act in the interest of getting elected and reelected. That's not so principled either, or anything new.

All in all, a fine and surprisingly civil dialogue.

Image credit: Photo of American F-16I aircraft built for the Israeli Air Force from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F-16_Fighting_Falcon_variants#F-16I_Sufa