On Tuesday, President Obama will hold a press conference to discuss the meeting he has had today with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. There is no point in speculating about the meeting or beating the President’s brief remarks before it to death.
On Sunday, President Obama spoke to the powerful AIPAC, the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee. It was the usual affirmation that the United States will always have Israel’s back. I would rather he had asked the members of AIPAC the really big question: when will Israel have America’s back?
The “arms race” between the United States and the old Soviet Union was a matter of each side proving that it would respond in kind in the case of a nuclear attack. That is why both Pakistan and India have nukes. North Korea has pursued nukes because they believe, rightly or wrongly, that the South Koreans have been given nukes by America. It’s called “the balance of power,” and it has fueled the accumulation of arms and armament for millennia. Israel is believed to have a nuclear capability, both for peaceful use and military. They refuse to be inspected by the International Atomic Energy Agency. They refuse to confirm or deny their weapons. All Iran wants, and they have widespread support in the region, is parity.
When a very small country with a small population has proven itself able to wipe the floor with the combined power of its neighbors, those neighbors need to find a way to feel secure. As long as the Arab states around Israel do not feel secure, Iran will make all the appropriate noises about acquiring nuclear capability.