Wright: Obama is ‘drifting toward war with Iran’ out of ‘pathetic’ fear of blowback from the lobby

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The best evidence of the new consensus is the presence of Robert Wright at the Atlantic. Here’s a very positive writer who did nothing on the Israel/Palestine question for years but who cares deeply about religious/political questions and he’s suddenly in it and up to the hub, because he recognizes the importance of this issue to our national security, our moral standing, and probably world peace too… And he’s not going to be intimidated. It’s thrilling in a Frank Capra kind of way. 

I’m excerpting the beginning of his big post on Obama, the lobby and Iran. The piece delivers on the promise of these paragraphs, and it ends with talk of Obama’s “slightly pathetic submission” to the lobby, and a dollop of Wright’s American optimism. Yes we can lick the lobby.

The most undercovered story in Washington is how President Obama, under the influence of election-year politics, is letting America drift toward war with Iran. This story is the unseen but ominous backdrop to next week’s Moscow round of negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program.

The basic story line, pretty well known inside the beltway, is simple: There are things Obama could do to greatly increase the chances of a negotiated solution to the Iranian nuclear problem, but he seems to have decided that doing them would bring political blowback that would reduce his chances of re-election.

The good news is that Obama’s calculation may be wrong. The blowback he fears–largely from Bibi Netanyahu, AIPAC, and other “pro-Israel” voices–is probably less forbidding than he assumes. And the political upside of successful statesmanship may be greater than he realizes.

I believe this is a new consensus: outspoken Americans are actually building a new understanding in the global discourse, that the United States is hamstrung by the special relationship with Israel.

More evidence. Steve Walt has been smeared countless ways by the neoconservatives, but if you get outside their sphere, he’s a leader. He’s in Tokyo; Japanese academics and a Japanese thinktank invited him over to tell them about the Israel lobby!

I had a lengthy meeting with a group of Japanese scholars yesterday morning and delivered a lecture on the impact of the Israel lobby on Obama’s Middle East policy yesterday afternoon.

Dershowitz is in the White House, but Rob’t Wright is in the Atlantic and Walt is in Tokyo. We’re going to win.

P.S. David Bromwich beat Wright with the same title in Huffington Post last week four months back: Obama’s Drift Toward War With Iran. And he made some of the same points. “To whom has he delegated the matter of Iran? Dennis Ross above all — the member of the DC permanent establishment who is most reliably associated with the Israel lobby.” More to come.

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