Debate Club

U.S. and Israel Need to Agree on Strike Against Iran

By SHARE

Israel does not habitually forewarn its adversaries of impending attacks. Current Israeli threats to strike Iranian nuclear facilities are thus aimed not at Tehran, but at Washington and other international capitals that desperately do not want a new Middle East war. These threats have had no discernible impact on the Iranian government, except perhaps to accelerate its efforts to move key aspects of its nuclear program into hardened facilities. The threats have hit their intended target, however, leading to a dramatic strengthening of the international sanctions against Iran and a marked toughening of the Obama administration's own rhetoric. Indeed, based on President Obama's most recent statements, it would appear that the main issue separating the U.S. and Israeli leadership is not whether, but when, to attack Iran.

[See a collection of political cartoons on Iran.]

Both President George W. Bush and more recently President Obama have urged Israeli leaders not to attack Iran. Some in this country have argued that the American president should not be seeking to impose his judgments on our Israeli ally. This is as true as is the obverse—that Israel should not be threatening to impose its policy choices on its American ally.

The American people are in the main opposed to an unprovoked American military attack on Iran. Interestingly, a recent poll indicates that most Israelis also oppose an Israeli military attack on Iran unless that action is supported by the United States.

[See pictures of Iran participating in war games.]

Yet, essential to any Israeli government decision to bomb Iran is confidence that whatever advice Washington might provide before the attack, the U.S. administration will feel bound to help Israel cope with the consequences of its action. This is precisely the calculation that Obama must throw into question if he is to wage the campaign against the Iranian nuclear program on his timetable, rather than Prime Minister Netanyahu's.

James Dobbins

About James Dobbins Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State

Tags
Israel
nuclear weapons
Iran

Other Arguments

#1
35 Pts
U.S. and Israel Should Push for Regime Change in Iran

No – U.S. and Israel Should Push for Regime Change in Iran

Raymond Tanter Founder of the Iran Policy Committee

#2
18 Pts
If America Won't Lead Against Iran, It Should Get Out of the Way

No – If America Won't Lead Against Iran, It Should Get Out of the Way

Ilan Berman Vice President of the American Foreign Policy Council

#3
7 Pts
Obama Should Pressure Iran, Not Israel

No – Obama Should Pressure Iran, Not Israel

Jamie M. Fly Former Director for Counterproliferation Strategy at the National Security Council

#4
-3 Pts
U.S. Should Discourage Israel From Striking Iran

Yes – U.S. Should Discourage Israel From Striking Iran

Brian Katulis Senior Fellow at Center for American Progress

#5
-4 Pts
Threat of U.S. Strike is Vital to Deterring Iran

No – Threat of U.S. Strike is Vital to Deterring Iran

Michael Singh Managing Director of The Washington Institute

#7
-19 Pts
An Israeli Attack on Iran Could Become a Religious War

Yes – An Israeli Attack on Iran Could Become a Religious War

Daniel J. Gallington Senior Policy and Program Adviser at the George C. Marshall Institute

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