At Time, Tony Karon worries that "military action" rhetoric against Iran will develop its own "momentum." And who is driving this bus, Netanyahu or Obama?
It has, of course, become par for the course over the past five years for Israel and its allies to imply that war is imminent whenever the international community's schedule turns to Iran. With Obama Administration officials, speaking anonymously, hyping the IAEA report as a "gotcha" moment that will leave little doubt of Iran's intentions, the saber-rattling fits a familiar pattern of seeking to scare reluctant international players into adopting tougher sanctions on Iran as the lesser evil necessary if only to restrain Israel from launching a war that could set the Middle East ablaze.
The messages coming from Israel are mixed: Intelligence correspondents in the Israeli media make clear that war talk is part of a strategy to raise pressure on Iran, while a number of senior security establishment figures have denounced the talk of bombing, and what they see as Netanyahu's alarmist rhetoric....
Still, Netanyahu's rhetoric could create its own momentum. There's no easy way back from preparing the Israeli public for a war against what they're told is an implacable exterminationist threat. And it appears unlikely, right now, that the revelations in the IAEA report are likely to persuade Russia and China to back the escalation of sanctions that Washington will demand at the Security Council. Moscow and Beijing believe that the route of sanctions and pressure is unlikely to produce a positive outcome.