Tuesday, March 3, 2015


Prime Minister Netanyahu's address to the US Congress on March 3 was impressive.  It is better to forget the circumstances which led to this speech (and were deplorable) and to consider the tone and the message. Wisely, he chose the high ground and abstained from letting his words be bogged into details.  Nevertheless, he did not mince words or opinion. He did not shy away from Israel's right to determine its own future, even at the cost for going for it alone.

It is sometimes surreal to see the US Secretary of State and the Iranian Foreign Minister "all handshakes" while the nihilistic offensive noise out of Tehran continues, unabated. The same smiling Javad Zarif did not hesitate to accuse the US of making illogical, outrageous demands.
Diplomacy obliges its practitioners to engage with unsavoury interlocutors but the pretense to enjoy the other's company can look out of place.

In his message to Congress the P.M. rightly opinionated that it was strange to see a negotiation over such a lapse of time, dealing with such crucial issues, foregoing any precondition. In the Iranian regime's words, Israel should be wiped out off the map while the US remains the usual Satan. That those unacceptable assertions continue to have a free-ride is hard to swallow.

Netanyahu was right to expose a force for evil in the region.  Likewise he alluded to the fact that there is no convincing reason for putting oneself under pressure to arrive at an agreement which fits Iran's ambiguous path but might upset even further the whole Middle East.

One aspect did get lost.  The presentation of a possible US/Iranian deal (or not) is an oversimplification, since the negotiation format is the P5+1  (US/Russia/China/France/UK+ Germany -Iran). Washington needs to take into account the input of its partners in this endeavour, a "given" which further complicates the matter. The American side needs to alienate neither its partners in the talks, nor Israel, its first strategic and also "moral" partner in the region.

It is too early to know how the White House will react. Despite Netanyahu's appreciative words regarding President Obama, I doubt that the Administration will acquiesce. Susan Rice and Samantha Power will have another bad hair day. 

No comments:

Post a Comment