I think the president is serious about confronting the threat. I also understand why Israel’s leaders are conditioned to disbelieve him: Jewish history is strewn with examples of promises unfulfilled and outright abandonment.
There is one sure way, though, that Obama can get his message across, and that is to deliver it in Israel, and soon. [...]
A visit to Israel would do more to delay a strike on Iran than any other step the administration could take. The beauty of this idea is that Obama won’t have to say anything new. He’s on record explaining why the idea of containing a nuclear Iran isn’t an option; he’s on record promising to stop Iran by whatever means necessary; and he’s on record explaining why a nuclear-free Iran is in the interests of the U.S.
Given Bibi is “determined” to show his hand before the US elections in November, this may be one of the only ways to stop him. I do, however, think what Obama is doing is a dangerous, but potentially lucrative move — saving a trip to Israel for his second-term, when going there will be to launch a full frontal play at a peace treaty. The only questions are, (a) whether he will even get a second-term; (b) how much trust from the Israeli public will have eroded by then; and, (c) how effective such a ploy would even be. It’s something I’ve long thought he’s playing for — high risk, high reward.
It may be his only option, though, if he wants to stop Bibi from doing what he so badly wants to do.
In the meantime, it may be things like sanctions — which Australia has upped today, by the way — that need to create as much pressure as possible.