The Sum of All Fears, is one of my favorite movies. I doubt that others who did not study Political Science and International Relations would have shared my movie critiquing, but it has a whole different perception for someone in the industry. Decisions, leaders make every day based on biased intel, other leaders character and mad villains who try to turn fear into reality.
Although the movie came out in the heat of the Iraq debate, after 9/11 and the aluminum tubes Saddam was trying (or wasn’t) to buy in Africa, the Nuclear bomb materials were from an Israeli jet that crashed. Naively enough, most people (and screenwriters) couldn’t imagine a story were Arabs were really able to produce Nuclear materials.
One leader who has taken the sum of all fears to its extreme and with convincing 3-5 worded sentences made us shiver for over 20 years is Bibi Netanyahu. Like a broken record stuck in his head with occasional updates by Arthur Finklestein, it has been in Israelis minds all this time. A country that went through multiple wars, attrition, hijacked airplanes and many difficulties could no longer stand in front of the words – Terror, Islam and Iran. Any of these combinations by Bibi and that is it. End of discussion, memories of the Holocaust, the Pogroms and the Spanish inquisition all paled in comparison to these bearded people.
Without getting into the whole peace process discussion, the Oslo accords and the religious wars on a sacred land, the Iran Nuclear issue was always Bibi’s baby.
Before the Iranians even knew they wanted nukes, we have been told by Bibi that they can get (or buy) one within years, or in combination with Muslim terrorists delivery mechanism, we got all 3 fears summed in one sentence.
In recent years, since the Iranians finally decided to listen to Bibi and making nuclear capability a national mission, we have heard that they have months to get to a bomb and some reports even suggested they have few hidden somewhere.
These fears extended beyond Israel. The rest of the world has started to take this threat seriously and all that was needed to add to Iranian fanatic religious leadership was Ahmadinejad to make some more extreme threats and deny the Holocaust to convince them that serious action has to be taken.
Mr. Security Netanyahu seemed to be threatening to strike Iran’s nuclear sites from time to time as Israel has done already in the past against Iraq and likely Syria, but finally decided to put all his trust in President Obama (to whom he has very little respect) to eliminate this threat he has been warning about for so many years, As in the movie, I can only imagine the frantic CIA analysts reading every statement of his (“Only Israel can defend itself”) and checking satellite feeds daily in anticipation for an Israeli attack.
Reports from Israel suggested that Israel doesn’t really believe an attack will help. From unreasonable reasons of deep bunkers and distance which by now Israel’s advanced defense industry could have and should have found a solution to more logical explanations of what would it really help and what would be the price.
Assassination of scientists and malicious software suggest that once a country acquires the knowledge, destroying a reactor will only help delay a year or two until a new nuclear production capability emerges with further efforts to hide and double the efforts get a nuclear bomb to prevent future attacks.
Judging Israel’s past attacking capabilities and daring military, it seems like the only option left for Israel to prevent Nuclear Iran rested in the hands of President Obama or Iran would have been attacked by now with or without permission from the US or the Saudis to use their air space.
If Netanyahu honestly believed Iran are months away of producing a bomb and with no viable military alternative he should have rejoiced with the long term deal reported in the news.
First, Iran will go through the most rigid inspection ever by the IAEA, the same organization we all trust when we suspected Iran before the negotiations, will have better abilities and more manpower to detect on the ground any suspicious activities than they had before.
Second, without understanding the difference in number of centrifuges, the produced materials (the actual stuff needed for a bomb) will not only be under international inspection or shipped out of Iran, the IAEA will also make sure they cannot accumulate enough to have the ability to create a bomb within at least a year (instead of months with no inspection at all).
And last – sanctions will only be lifted gradually by Iran’s compliance, so only the harshest ones (those only achieved by President Obama work with its allies) would be rolled back to the ones they had while still hiding their work.
The rest will be lifted over 10 years, by other US presidents, which will certainly not want to be the ones fooled by Iran and the final ones established by his friends in Congress, who have been there from the beginning, and are the least optimistic about Iran’s rehabilitation capabilities, these members will need to be convinced by Iran that they are clean and honest before they will agree to remove them.
The sanctions Iran is under for being part of the infamous axis of evil will remain in place until they will hopefully one day have a new more tolerant leadership.
Either Netanyahu doesn’t trust Congress (who are still waiting 50 years for Cubans to remove Castro) or is really finding it hard to let his baby go.
So instead of no inspections and no cooperation, an international coalition comprised of 2 super powers who are on the verge of exploding in other parts of the world, which will not stay intact for long, an Iran subject only to American sanctions and almost free to do as it wishes, Israel is getting a serious threat off its back for a substantial long time. Any “bad” deal that has the IAEA on the ground, in every facility is much better than trying to figure it out by intelligence from far away.
If you trust the IAEA reports before having cooperation, can’t you trust them with agreed cooperation? Won’t they be the first (and much faster) to realize if there is lack of cooperation or notice suspicious activity?
Instead of Netanyahu taking credit for his lifelong mission ending with a fully inspected Iran nuclear program and limited capabilities for at least the next decade instead of being few months away from their first bomb, the Bibisitter can’t let go of his precious baby. Perhaps the broken record he hears inside his head for so many years prevents him to deal with any other agenda for his country or he seriously lacks the creativity of a leader to come up with a new agenda for his nation, but any reasonable politician would have preferred to show his voters that the path he chose led to resounding success rather than a major failure. The Israeli opposition understood this right away. They are accepting his “bad deal” as an admission of failure (they have no briefings from the US to know what’s in it) and he chooses to call it a failure and as with everything else blames the whole world besides himself. It was his decision to trust Obama and Kerry to get a deal or has no other alternative. They are getting close to a deal which is better for Israel than anything else he can offer at the moment. The last thing he needs is to be guilty of blowing it up and bringing Iran back to where we were before the world listened to him. If he thinks Obama is the same as Chamberlain, he would also accept any deal possible and wait for a “tougher” president, than rely on Obama with no agreement until January 2017.
One of the memorable quotes in the movie was when a pro Soviet General launches a deadly attack to provoke an American response. The Russian president said to his advisor “It is ‘better to appear guilty than impotent”, Netanyahu for some reason decided to appear as both.