Using military force to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons is the only option left for Israel but it is not in its best interest to strike before the US elections. Now it is more important for Israel that Barack Obama be defeated.
An Israeli attack in the next two months would greatly aid the president’s reelection prospects by providing him with the greatest possible diversion from the failed US economy. Politically he would have no choice but to support Israel and the American people will galvanize around their president as is always the case during a foreign crisis. Israel cannot afford another four years of Obama’s policies
Despite the fact that the US unemployment has been higher than 8% for the last 42 months , and there has been slow economic growth, a hike in the federal debt, and an increased poverty rate, most national polls suggest that the race between Obama and Romney is dead even.
Even though no president has ever been re-elected with such high unemployment, Obama is still competitive because he has been using successful diversion tactics of negative ads and talking about anything other than the economy. His strategy has consisted of talking about social issues such as contraceptives, abortion, war on women, and personal attacks on Romney‘s wealth, tax returns, gaffes and his dog.
But in all national polls the economy remains the most important problem for 65% of American voters. In a Gallup poll just released August 20, where voters were asked if they are better off now than they were four years ago, 42-55% to nationwide said they were not; 72% nationwide said they were dissatisfied with the way things are going in the US.
In order for Romney to have a chance to win the election, the economy must stay the central issue in the minds of voters.
If Israel strikes Iran in the next two months, President Obama would have to support Israel, not wanting to alienate Jewish voters and donors. But much worse, Iran would certainly retaliate. Israel’s outgoing Home Front Defense Minister Matan Vilnai, estimated that Israel airstrikes would be followed by a 30 day Iran- Israel war that would cost 500 Israeli lives, mostly due to Iranian missile strikes.
Daily, minute by minute coverage by the media of the war for over a month would consume the US public, especially if US bases and its forces were threatened, pushing aside any divisiveness over the economy.
Obama’s image as Commander in Chief would also increase as well as his approval rating. Two days after bin Laden was killed in 2011, Obama’s job approval ratings rose by 9% to their highest level since 2009, despite the stagnant economy.
If he is re-elected, after supporting the Israeli strike, President Obama, not needing the Jewish votes for reelection, will make Israel pay a heavy price for forcing his hand in attacking an Islamic state and embroiling the US in another war.
If Israel claims that it cannot take risks by giving away the West Bank territories in the post-Arab Spring unstable Middle East, Israel and its supporters will be repeatedly reminded that he “had Israel’s back” during the Iranian conflict His foreign policy agenda for the first three years of his term of establishing a Palestinian state in the1967 borders, dividing Jerusalem and establishing a closer relationship with the Muslim world by distancing the US from Israel, will be reasserted.
Israel, after many public confrontations and threats, will end up surrounded by a Hamastan state in Gaza as well as the West Bank, and by the Muslim Brotherhood and other Jihadists bent on destroying it.
It is true that Israel is taking a chance if it does not attack now and Obama is still reelected, but Israel will be able to stand his pressures for concessions because the Iranian nuclear issue will present an even greater strategic priority for Israel and the US.
If he is re-elected, President Obama will re-adopt his “containment policy,” leading eventually to a nuclear armed Iran. By then, the Middle East will be an explosive powder keg, waiting for the Iranian trigger.
Israel’s only remaining hope is that Obama loses the election and Romney, who is a longtime friend of Netanyahu, becomes president. The only time that the extremist Iranian leadership decided to suspend its nuclear program was in 2003, after the US invaded Iraq, because it truly believed a Republican president‘s warning that they would be attacked next.
If deterrence fails, President Romney will let Israel attack and will support Israel afterwards amid retaliation from Iran and its proxies.
Shoula Romano Horing was born and raised in Israel. She is an attorney in Kansas City and a national speaker. Her blog: www.shoularomanohoring.com