The Middle East has moved on from 1979

With the recent news that Barack Obama has no issue whatsoever with Israel maintaining its unchecked nuclear arsenal, Ira Chernus, writing in TomDispatch, argues that America is stuck in a Cold War mindset:

If Obama’s troubles keep him awake late at night, he may hear the ghostly voices of past presidents echoing down the White House hallways — Bill Clinton saying, “I tried to get the Israelis and Palestinians together, too. It’s a bitch,” or Dwight D. Eisenhower recalling (as he once wrote to a friend) that he felt “forced to give constant attention… to problems that defy solution.”

The loudest voice of all, though, may come from the ghost of the Cold War, whose spirit of containment still haunts the White House and shapes foreign policy decisions every day.

Every time the U.S. warns about Iran’s nuclear program, it merely calls more attention in the region to Israel’s ignored and unacknowledged nuclear arsenal. Then Arab leaders feel forced to take a tougher public stand against Israel’s nukes because their people want to see Israel firmly contained. And in the game of containment, where image is reality, the first rule is: Always show resolve.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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