Another Vote For President Obama?

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is at it again.  With less than 60 days to go before the US Presidential election, Netanyahu has opened a new attack on President Obama.

The US, Netanyahu says, needs to define a “red line” over which any Iranian movement would mean an immediate attack (by whom?).  Intelligent agencies have reported that Iran is moving very close to the time when its nuclear weapons development programs can be conducted in safe underground facilities.  Israel wants to attack now and the US does not.  Hmmm.

To be fair, this is not the first time Israel or Netanyahu has requested US action.  And to be clear, Israel knows that is not the foreign policy option of choice for the Obama Administration.  So why bring it up now?

Could it be that a President Romney might be more accommodating to Israel’s position?

Americans generally support Israel and absolutely support the right for Israel to exist.  Americans do not always understand the negotiations (or better, the lack of negotiations) with the Palestinians.  This confusion is increased whenever Hamas or Hezbollah performs some dysfunctional act of violence.  So life, in Americans’ eyes sort of just goes on in the Israeli territories.

Americans have also learned a lot about the Middle East thanks to President George W Bush (and friends).  After having wasted over 4000 lives, the better part of $1 trillion, and about 9 years, Americans see the Iraq War for what it was.  A complete foreign policy failure.

Afghanistan is somewhat different.  Al Qaeda organized in Afghanistan with help and support from the Taliban government.  Invading Afghanistan made sense.  The 10+ years of war that has followed, however, offers little or no reward for the lives, costs, and lost opportunities.

Both Iraq and Afghanistan have elected governments.  Both countries are graft and corruption full.  The governments are based upon tribal and religious favoritism, and show no sense of modernity.  While Saddam Hussein and the Taliban were no saints, they were local problems.

The US’s hand in nation building has shown little success.  Iraq and Afghanistan are unstable regimes and what comes next is anyone’s guess.

So why should anyone expect that military action versus Iran will suddenly produce a modern, western oriented country?  I think Americans sense that.

Time will tell how Mitt Romney plays this card.  He could step up on his soap box and cry big tears for Israel.  (Where will he get the money to fight a new war and still reduce the deficit?)  He could also see if there is any populist response in support of Netanyahu first, and then get on his soap box.

If Romney takes the bait, my guess is that he will lose some more moderate voters.  Netanyahu’s rants will turn into more votes for President Obama.

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