I had wondered how Jeffrey Goldberg would respond to the seeming diplomatic breakthrough with Iran this past weekend. No, no agreement was reached, far from it, but at least the process did not collapse. And there is going to be another round on in May, in advance of which all sides will be looking for a way to move forward and get the war option off the table.
It may be a long shot but anyone with an ounce of sense wants diplomacy to succeed. That, of course, does not include Prime Minister Netanyahu who is eager to bomb Iran and to drag Americans into a regional war with the goal of regime change, one that no one wants except Likudniks in Israel and their neocon subsidiary here.
That is why Netanyahu wasted no time in attacking President Obama for expressing some satisfaction with the negotiations. Bibi, like Mitt Romney, believes that Romney will soon be president and that he doesn’t really have to worry about Obama for much longer. Additionally, he thinks he controls the American electoral process and that if Obama dares take him on, the Democrats will lose Florida and the election. He also believes he can bomb Iran without U.S. permission, not seeming to grasp that if he does, it will be Israel against the entire world.
Netanyahu is a right-wing ideologue and, owing to the fact that he grew up in the United States and actually immigrated here in the 1970′s, he can be classified in U.S. terms: he is a right-wing Republican, which pretty much means he has a totally FUBAR view of the world.
Still, Bibi is worried that he won’t get his war.
But his acolyte, Jeffrey Goldberg, doesn’t think he should be. As he has for years, Goldberg predicts that the war he is so eager for will take place. He writes:
After the Netanyahu-Obama meeting last month, I thought the White House had bought some time with the Israelis. Though it makes no sense for the Israelis to strike Iran’s nuclear sites after November (the political climate, and the actual climate, as in cloud-cover, makes a strike this winter implausible), I thought the Obama Administration had moved the Israeli clock back a bit, to September. But I think we’re back to looking at June as a possible (I didn’t say probable) month for an Israeli attack….
One of several reason I think an attack, if it comes, will come sooner rather than later is a just-aired report from Israel’s Channel 10 Television on the Israeli air force’s preparedness for an attack. (Times of Israel has a synopsis). The fact that the Barak-run Defense Ministry allowed this report to air (it has the power to censor national security information) suggests something, I think. (And, yes, it could be part of a bluff, but I don’t tend to think so. I think the airing of this report was more a signal to the White House and to the Europeans that Israel won’t wait very long.)
As with all previous Goldberg predictions of war, this one is a prayer rather than a forecast. Maybe Goldberg believes it, maybe not. In any case, Goldberg, who poses as a moderate on Iran, believes that by predicting war he can narrow the president’s options. He is telling Obama: ”Look, Netanyahu is going to do this anyway. If you pursue this diplomatic route, you will be at loggerheads with Israel and that includes me and my friends. So be careful. The war is happening probably before the election. You don’t want to be on the wrong side of the lobby, I mean history. You do not want to lose.”
The only value of a Goldberg column is to get a more sophisticated version of the Netanyahu line. Once again, Jeffrey comes through.