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The American Vote

18/09/2012 | by Falk, Ophir (Adv.)  
First published in Ynet

The presidential candidate more likely to prevent a nuclear Iran should get the American vote. There are a number of other important issues in the upcoming elections, but preventing a nuclear Iran stands above and beyond all else. Everything else pales in comparison.

The threat of a nuclear Iran to the free world in general and to the United States and Israel in particular is now clear. A nuclear Iran would spark a regional nuclear arms race that would include Saudi Arabia, the neighboring Gulf states, Egypt and probably Turkey too ; a nuclear Iran could pass capabilities to its terrorist proxies; it could manipulate maritime trade and gas prices, holding the world economy hostage at will, with the gravest repercussions to American prosperity; and of course, as the ayatollahs have often reiterated - a nuclear Iran would be an existential threat to approximately six million Jews living in Israel today. Again that ominous number. 6,000,000 Jews. 

Clearly, this time, the Jewish American vote must go to the candidate most capable of confronting this grave threat.

Much has been said about the difference of opinion and tension between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu. But in essence they both agree on the magnitude of the threat. Their differences relate to timing and thresholds. The president thinks there is still ample time for politics and diplomacy before Iran reaches an irreversibly lethal nuclear threshold, while the prime minister thinks time is about to run out.

In his efforts to stop Iran, President Obama has opted for negotiations and economic sanctions. These efforts have failed. Four rounds of international negotiations between Iran and Britain, China, France, Russia, the EU and the United States in Istanbul, Baghdad and Moscow have resulted in nothing aside from buying Iran more time to further develop its nuclear capabilities. The economic sanctions may have slightly slowed down Iran’s economic growth but have also significantly stimulated its drive for nuclear power. Hence, a new policy needs to be launched.

Both presidential candidates have said that "all options of preventing a nuclear Iran are on the table." Both have said a containment policy is not an option, as both seem to be aware that the mutually assured destruction doctrine that worked with the Soviets during an ideological cold war will not deter the martyrdom-driven ayatollahs who strive for an apocalyptic religious world war. Both candidates have said that Israel has the right to defend itself, though Romney may have gone an extra step by stating on his recent visit to Israel: "We recognize Israel’s right to defend itself…and that it is right for America to stand with you" - implying that if Israel strikes, America will support.

These are vague and ambiguous statements. A straightforward policy needs to be taken, with a clear and credible American red line concerning time and threshold. Although at least one of the candidates might currently find the credibility part a tough sale, such red lines will establish real limits on the sanctions and negotiations process. There is no better opportunity than now - prior to presidential elections - to set and present those lines.

In America’s best interest, and with eventual congressional consent, the presidential candidates should make it explicitly clear to America’s foes and allies exactly where the red line is and the military ramifications of crossing it.

This November, the American vote should go to the candidate that draws that line.

The views expressed in this publication are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT).