Beyond the Cusp

October 11, 2012

Will Obama Attack Iran as an October Surprise?

It is almost universally accepted that Mitt Romney pretty much beat President Obama mercilessly in the first of the three Presidential debates. Tonight is the Vice Presidential debate which usually would garner little interest except for the hard core political hounds like us, but this one has had a larger build-up. Some are predicting a bland though fact and number filled performance by Congressman Ryan and others are calling for a count the Uncle Joe gaffes. Either way, this may be an exception for Vice Presidential debates, but I am not expecting anything near to the reactions to the results from the first Presidential debate. What is a promise is that the remaining two Presidential debates will likely draw even closer scrutiny from an even larger television viewing audience that even the near record setting first debate. The first of the remaining Presidential debates will cover domestic and foreign policies and be of a general nature with the final third debate focusing solely on foreign policy. That final debate could very well also be a must win, crucial, last chance for the Obama campaign if the numbers continue on their recent trending and the debates continue to showcase a side of Romney which belies all the accusations and denunciation thrown at him by the Super PAC advertisements. This may place President Obama needing a complete knockout performance in the final debate which is in an area where he is extremely vulnerable.

Yes, I am aware that President Obama single handedly went in and took out al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, but that one decision and action does not a foreign policy make. With all the dust-ups between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu as well as almost anything that concerns Israel will be examined and used to exemplify President Obama’s foreign policy shortcomings. One can be pretty sure that every single time President Obama has bowed before another World Leader or misspoke or things did not go as well as we were led to believe will all be run in loops in political commercials. What this writer fears is that President Obama may feel that before the final debate, which will concentrate on foreign policy, he might try to find a decisive foreign policy move which would erase all the ill will that has been perceived between he and Israel and make a definitive statement that President Obama is a leader who takes on foreign problems by grabbing the horns and doing what must be done. There is one move that could be used to show that there really is no space between President Obama and the Israeli leadership and that the United States under President Obama truly does have Israel’s back. President Obama could order between the second and final debate a full, all-out multiple sorties strike on almost all of the Iranian nuclear sites which tactically could be struck without causing massive civilian casualties and other collateral damage to non-military targets in the surrounding vicinities. It is unlikely that should President Obama contact the Israeli leadership and offer to make a joint strike provided it be carried out before the last debate that Prime Minister Netanyahu and many of the others within the Israeli leadership who have called for striking Iran earlier rather than later would look a gift horse in the mouth. As Prime Minister Netanyahu has stated repeatedly when pressed to take a side on the Presidential elections, he has no dog in the fight and will work with whoever is elected to be the next President of the United States. Prime Minister Netanyahu has gone to great lengths to minimize publically any disconcerting thoughts or doubts he may have had over actions taken by President Obama and has kept any differences between the two of them and kept such differences out of the press. Unfortunately, this has not prevented many in the liberal press from playing up the angle that the Israeli leader does favor one side over the other and has actually acted in a way to influence the elections for President. The proof has been that he received Mitt Romney when he visited Israel very graciously and with respect and full honors one would show a potential next President of the United States. They claim that the way Prime Minister Netanyahu reacted to Romney was in complete contrast to the way he has treated President Obama during the campaign. The one small fly in the ointment of this comparison is that thus far during the campaign, President Obama has not visited Israel. Truth be told, President Obama has not visited Israel since before he was elected to the office of President. President Obama has made numerous trips to the Middle East, throughout Eastern Europe, but has not stopped in Israel in all of his travels. So, how the press anywhere can compare the treatment shown to Mitt Romney to that shown a President who has not actually visited Israel is beyond real. I would stake everything that should President Obama visit Israel he would be given, at the minimum, treatment that would easily match that shown Mitt Romney.

I am also fairly certain that if President Obama were to visit Israel and in a private meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu and the inner cabinet, or whoever is necessary to make a decision concerning Iran and their nuclear program, and presented a full and complete set of plans for a United States strike on the Iranian nuclear sites and requested reasonable assistance from Israeli forces and resources, the Israelis would likely review the plans quickly and offer every assistance requested and beyond. I am concerned that such a scenario of just this type may become reality should President Obama feel the necessity of such boldness to reaffirm him as a President who takes actions that are necessary, just as he made the call on Osama bin Laden. I can assure you that the Pentagon and the Israelis have likely even discussed different scenarios and reached accords on who would be responsible for what and all the particulars and planning has been gone over numerous times. The one thing both American and Israeli militaries do is make plans for virtually any scenario or possibility no matter how obscure or improbable the scenario may be. This pretty much assures that both countries have numerous plans all completely fleshed out with all consequences and alternatives fully defined and accounted for. This would make a decision by President Obama to take action against the Iranian nuclear sites, with or without Israeli assistance, cooperation, or support; this would be fully operational likely within forty-eight hours and very likely almost immediately. My bet is that the assets have been in place for such a strike for quite some time now and have likely been briefed repeatedly on the most likely of sorties that would be incorporated in such a strike. That leaves one question, would President Obama use a cooperative strike on the Iranian nuclear sites with Israeli cooperation? My fear is should President Obama be facing a nearly guaranteed defeat in the election and the polling and other predictive sciences all pointed to an attack upon Iranian nuclear sites, especially if Israel were included and assisted, was extremely likely to affect the elections sufficiently to produce his reelection, then the President might avail himself of just such an option. Should President Obama actually travel this route, then the question that must be pondered is whether or not the American voting public is really that easily swayed by such a shallow and obvious act? Let’s hope we never need to find out, though ridding the world of most of the Iranian nuclear sites definitely qualifies as a positive event, it would still be much preferable that it was carried out as a serious reaction to the threat a nuclear armed Iran would pose to the world and not as a campaign event to win votes.

Beyond the Cusp

September 13, 2012

A Question for America

The voters of the United States were sent a message yesterday loud and clear from the two countries their government has given the most assistance for change in the recent transformations in the Middle East, Egypt and Libya. This message has since been picked up and repeated with mobs rioting at US missions in Tunisia, Sudan and Morocco. In all these countries the United States suffered an attack tantamount to a declaration of war by all the rules for civilized nations. The American Embassy in Cairo, Egypt and the American Consulate in Benghazi, Libya were attacked and in the latter assault the American Ambassador and three American Department of State Employees were murdered, possibly with some assistance given by those their Libyan assigned guards. The lesson was simple, there are some people who hold a hatred so deep that no amount of kindness, friendship or assistance will ever reach deep into their spirit and soften their hearts. There are those in the world who simply want to kill everybody who is not like them in every way. This is a lesson which is difficult to grasp in the multicultural West but one that had better be learned and quickly before more such sacrifices are made by placing people in places where those who wish us harm are entrusted with our safekeeping. It can only be hoped that the Military, the State Department, especially the State Department, and everyone else in a position to exercise influence or power over our operations in any country where such hatreds have been displayed time and again that we need to trust only in our own forces to provide security for our people who serve there in the name of the country. To do any less would be an act of irresponsible madness.

There was also a message which has been made here at BTC in the past and must be stated again; the upcoming election has to be about foreign relations and the place of the United States in the world. The next occupant of the White House will be taking the oath of office facing threats from many spots in the world unlike anything the United States has ever experienced and we are going to have to act responsibly with great determination while all the time keeping a guard in place ready to do all that may be necessary to guard the American people and interests against numerous assaults from various fronts often simultaneously. Yes, the campaign for President is about the economy and about jobs and a myriad other domestic problems and situations which are as dire as they appear. The thing is that even if every single domestic problem is repaired tomorrow, it does us no good if a day later we are attacked in multiple cities causing untold and unprecedented damage to our infrastructure, people, and economy. We have been warned that al-Qaeda is more anxious than ever to have another great victory over the Great Satan. In Iran every Friday they chant “Down with America! Down with Israel!” The order of that chant is not by accident. Sure Iran has a deep burning desire to attack and destroy Israel. We need to remember that they have an even deeper and hotter hatred fueling a virtually unstoppable desire to destroy the United States and the United States is at the top of their list even ahead of Israel. One must concede that this latest violence stretching across the Middle East has said nothing about Israel; every ounce of the hatred is solely being displayed against the United States, the Great Satan. Israel is simply the Little Satan while the United States is the Great Satan and they know that if they are able to attack the United States and cripple America that their drive to wipe out Israel will have become almost a given. They wish to destroy the United States as they have been taught that the United States is the force that corrupts their children, the United States is pushing its hegemonic influence taking over the entire world, the United States is the root and supporter of nearly every single evil and is at war with Islam, and worst of all, the United States is the lifeline and support which allows Israel to resist their great forces of Jihad. The United States is the lynchpin that holds everything they loathe and all that stands between them and the world domination that Allah has promised them. So, go on believing that all these forces of Jihad want to do is destroy Israel and ignore the machinations of the forces of darkness in the world at your own peril.

Neither of the main party candidates for President have stellar records when it comes to foreign policies. Mitt Romney’s closest thing to a foreign policy resume is the Salt Lake City Olympics, pretty lame. President Obama’s resume is thicker and includes everything he had accomplished and everything he has fumbled in the first three and a half years in office. It is up to the American people to decide which of these men would be the stronger representative as President and most likely to defend the United States against all comers, and they will soon be coming. It is also up to the American voting public to decide what this election is all about. Is it just about jobs, the economy, the stock market, green industries and investments, and the rest of the domestic agenda or is it about America’s place in the world and whether the United States will stand for our freedoms and making them universally available to all people who desire to be free? Are the American people going to go to the polls in November looking no further than their own pocketbooks, bank accounts, and wish list being filled at the mall or are they going to vote while considering the growing threats and violence which are plaguing much of the world and threatening to only get more violent and all encompassing. Will the Americans vote looking inward or outward, the fate of much of the world may reflect their choices, reflect your choices? It’s just a thought or two that some might want to include in their formula when deciding the next President and the next Congress as it may have ramifications beyond your wildest fears. Just a thought.

Beyond the Cusp

December 10, 2011

How Israel Should Answer Panetta Demand

Twice this past week Secretary of Defense Panetta demanded that Israel needed to take risks in order to get the Palestinians join them at the negotiating table. Since Israel has granted concession after concession over the past forty years in order to continue to be rebuffed by the Palestinians then met by even steeper demands in order to fail to reach solutions, perhaps Israel should try a different set of risk. Israel has granted so much that the Palestinian demands for resumed negotiations have gotten to the point that meeting them would remove any need for negotiations. What is left to negotiate should Israel grant that borders be defined as the 1949 Armistice Lines that existed until the 1967 Six Day War, the “Right of Return” for all Palestinian refugees, stopping all construction beyond the Green Line, and removal of all Jews in order to allow the Palestinian state be Jew free? Should anything else need to be addressed at negotiations, I feel sure that it would be added onto the list of preconditions before negotiations would be resumed. So, why not take a new tack.

Israel gave the Palestinians full autonomy over their core areas and shared authority in areas where both Jews and Palestinians resided with Israel retaining full control over a remaining section of the West Bank. In return for this the Palestinian leadership showed their appreciation by launching the intifada in 2000 that murdered over one thousand Israelis in the resultant terror violence. Israel removed their troops from southern Lebanon which resulted in the Second Lebanon War. Israel destroyed all the Jewish neighborhoods in Gaza and gave the Palestinians full autonomy in an experiment with the intent and hopes that the Palestinian leadership could rule themselves and prove their ability to live side by side with Israel in peace. In return they got Hamas whose desired aim is to murder every Jew on planet Earth launching thousands upon thousands of rockets into civilian areas, attempted kidnapping of citizens and soldiers with one successful abduction who was held in unknown conditions for over five years. And there were also Palestinian claims that the return of Gaza was insufficient and that many of the neighborhoods and kibbutzim closest to Gaza were built over destroyed Arab villages and rightfully belonged to the Palestinians and that Gaza should be enlarged to include these areas. In all too many cases, history has shown that every time the Israelis gave in on concessions the Palestinians responded with violence, death and destruction. By now, it should be obvious to many observers that giving concessions not only does not work, it is a very bad idea.

So, what should Israel try that would take the situation between them and the Palestinians in a different direction. There is one poll question which produces a result which many find surprising, that when asked whether they would rather live under Palestinian rule or Israeli rule, the majority of the Arab population of East Jerusalem chooses to remain under Israeli jurisdiction and reject Palestinian rule as shown and discussed here, and http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2011/05/05/Poll-says-East-Jerusalemites-prefer-Israel/UPI-41761304608417/ target=blank>here and even here.. This gives Israel an opportunity to grant the residents of East Jerusalem their desires and stated preference with annexation of East Jerusalem and attached close-in suburbs and neighborhoods placing them permanently under Israeli rule. Leave the possibility that the intent is to follow this annexation with others where and when similar polls call for similar actions. Place the option before the residents of the West Bank that they have the opportunity to choose Israel and are not trapped with the inevitability of being forced under Palestinian rule. And for those who are yelling red faced in rage at their computer screen about such a move being against international laws and the Geneva Convention, think again. Israel gained the West Bank directly from a defensive conflict. Even if you believe that Israel initiated the 1967 War when they preempted the Egyptian and Syrian attack which was imminent and obvious with the massing of troops on both borders with Israel, Jordan was pleaded with by the Israeli leadership not to join the war and ignored such pleas and attacked Israel who then diverted troops heading south through the Negev to head east and northeast in order to intercept the Jordanian assault. As far as the war with Egypt and Syria, once Egypt had blocked Israeli shipping from passing through the Red Sea, they had committed a casus belli for war. By any and all international law and Geneva Convention, Israel is within her rights to retain all the lands they had gained in 1967 and defended against a second attack in 1973.

It is time to try a completely different track and instead of taking a timid and apologetic approach, try a new and bolder approach and take the initiative. The time has definitely arrived for Israel to implement an option that has been available to them but ignored since the end of the six Day War, simply annex the areas which the Israeli leadership believes is necessary to assure defensible borders, exactly what is called for in United Nations Security Council Resolution 242. Just because Israel has attempted to work with the adversarial nations and forces against her does not mean that Israel is obliged to continue down this track as it has become detrimental to Israeli existence. By taking a more assertive stance and no longer attempting to mollify the un-mollifiable, Israel might discover by being assertive and showing the ability to be self-serving and departing from the subservient position that the Palestinian leadership might also change their demanding and immutable attitudes and honestly attempt to reach an accord leading to a permanent peace agreement. Even if the Palestinians continue in their deceitful wagering of a war of attrition and refusal while playing the world’s propensity to take the side opposing everything Jewish which is borne out by the historic record, Israel could simply continue to annex land until she reaches a point where desirable and defensible borders have been established and then simply ignore any and all demands for further communications. That may leave some land mostly around Nablus for the Palestinians to have their own state and continue to demand to their heart’s desire and who knows, somebody might actually bother to continue to listen to them, probably in the western parts of Europe or parts of the Middle East. Eventually their cries will fall on deaf ears as eventually everybody will tire of their lamentable pleadings. What is it that some would claim, that the entire world would turn against Israel? Please explain how that would differ wildly from the current situation. Popularity and Israel will never be long-term companions just as Jews and acceptance in the lands of others has always worked so well over time. Perhaps time has come to give Israel one last request and then simply leave her alone and reap the rewards of her discoveries which Israel has always shared generously and expecting so little in return. To expect more would have been sheer lunacy and it is always better to expect that which is likely and perhaps be surprised rather than to expect much and be discontent when receiving so much less. So, surprise Israel and give her a real chance at survival, after all, that is what is being negotiated, not borders, but simply Israel’s survival.

Beyond the Cusp

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