Obama Has His Cake And Eats It, Too. Or Does He Really?

by Martin Peretz | May 30, 2010

President Obama wants it both ways. His dreary international initiative to put finis to nuclear arms is seen as so unlikely and so impossible that Russian president Dmitri Medvedev has already sent the atomic arms reduction treaty, negotiated with the American president, to the Russian parliament, where it has no chances of failure. Obama sent the document to the Senate earlier this month. But there it will at least get some airing from legislators who grasp that—what with Iran pushing forward on nukes and the likelihood of a Middle East arms race as a consequence (something that hadn’t occurred since Israel bombed Saddam Hussein’s Osirak facility in 1981)—the trajectory is precisely in the opposite direction.

The great fib about our nuclear future plays to almost everyone’s political needs. We live in a world so mired in bloodshed—America itself, in Iraq and Afghanistan, Yemen and surely to some degree in Pakistan—that we all need a lie about progress towards peace. Obama has provided us with it in two ways: the agreement with Moscow and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty resolution that passed at a New York conference on Friday.

Latterly, the administration made another sacrifice of Israel by agreeing to make special mention in the motion of Jerusalem’s atomic capacities. There was no mention of the nukes held (and being developed) by India and chaotic Pakistan. And, of course, there was also no sense that Iran will soon be maneuvering its nuclear weapons against not Israel but primarily its Sunni neighbors (easier to hit and without capacity for reprisal).

Israel, India, and Pakistan are not signatories to the treaty, so they did not attend the celebration.

The U.S. observed that it regretted the singular reference to Israel in the conference’s final document. But no matter...

But, if it was no matter, then the U.S. could have objected rather than observed, voted “no” rather than “yes,” and not permitted an international conference to end with Israel being the sole designated danger.

Given that this whole process is more than a bit fake, it is simply pusillanimous to push Israel out in front to be shot at, given that this is what’s been happening between Washington and Jerusalem for months and months.

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