Thursday, May 3, 2018

Bibi and the Nukes

It is long past time for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to leave office. He’s got more baggage than Samsonite.

Among many people there is now an unfortunate knee-jerk reaction against Netanyahu on virtually every issue he raises. It is not always deserved, even though there is a good argument that he contributed to this near Pavlovian reaction.

Netanyahu has acted responsibly on some issues, particularly when it comes to the security of Israel which, for understandable reasons, is a very high priority here. For example, during the last Gaza War, undertaken to stop the missiles being fired into Israel and to stop the tunnels used to terrorize the south and to attempt to kidnap soldiers, there was much pressure from the right to go further into Gaza and to overthrow Hamas.

Netanyahu did what was necessary for Israel's defense but he resisted the pressure to go any further, knowing that it would create an untenable situation. He took a lot of flak for, in the view of those advocating such an action, not eradicating the problem once and for all.

Regarding the recent showcasing of Iranian documents and discs that demonstrate that Iran lied when it told the world it never had a nuclear weapons program, I could have done without Netanyahu's public show. I would have preferred that he present the information privately to relevant leaders around the world. Now, instead of the focus being on the issues, i.e. does Iran pose a nuclear threat and should the current deal be modified or rescinded, much of the focus is on Bibi’s presentation and veracity.

Of course, that problem is irrelevant if the intended audience was simply Donald Trump and it was determined that this was the best way to reach him. Coming just hours after Secretary of State Pompeo’s visit, one suspects this may have been a requested performance with that one-person audience in mind.

It is unfortunate that Netanyahu’s presentation is the focus of attention and that many doubt its authenticity. Of course, one can argue that without the presentation, or performance, no one would have paid any attention to the issue.

The criticism of the presentation is unfortunate for several reasons. First, just in terms of intelligence work, i.e. the spy game, this operation made James Bond and anything written by Tom Clancy look like minor league play. They spymasters should be given credit, anonymously, of course.