US punched Bibi, Barak in the face
Once every few years Israel needs a slap in the face to remember where it stands in the world. On Tuesday it was US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey who assumed the role of the responsible adult and slapped Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, the duo orchestrating the national hysteria surrounding the possibility of an attack in Iran.
The general’s remark was not a slip-of-the-tongue. It was a calculated statement from a general of Irish descent and character. His words constituted a slap in Israel’s face, a punch in the face, and a kick to the most sensitive part of the body. To be more precise, the US slammed Israel’s head against the wall and said: “Shut up. Stop babbling about Iran. Without us there is not much you can do, and don’t assume for a second that we are dancing to your tune. You shouldn’t do anything stupid, and stop driving the entire world crazy.”
Dempsey was painfully clear. He basically said that Israel should not disregard the opinions of its top security officials, stop the constant chatter on Iran and refrain from any acts that may have an adverse effect on the global economy. The general also meant to tell Israel that it mustn’t believe that Netanyahu has any control over the US because he has friends in the Republican Party. Dempsey laid down the facts: Israel is not America, it does not possess the same capabilities, and if Netanyahu and Barak continue wreaking havoc – Israel won’t have America either.
It will take a while before we will be able to gauge the depth of the current crisis between Israel and the US (and between Netanyahu and Obama). Washington made a strategic decision to show Israel who is the mentor and who is the protégé. The US hit Israel’s most sensitive nerve: The pride in its military power. But it appears that the US had no other choice. After weeks of belligerent headlines, President Obama had enough of Netanyahu’s inclination to play with fire. We should start getting used to it.
So did Obama stop another war in the Middle East? If so, thank you President Obama, once again.