A few months ago, Netanyahu’s presentation to the United Nations of a fourth-grader’s drawing dramatizing Iran’s imminent nuclear weapons capability drew gales of laughter. But maybe it was successful after all.
A Gallup poll taken this month shows that 99% of Americans agree that Iran’s development of nuclear weapons is a critical or important threat to US interests over the next decade (83% for critical, 16% for important). Of course, Netanyahu had a lot of help. About 99% of Congress appears to be with him, US mainstream media has toed the line, and even uber-liberal Ben Affleck chimed in with a super popular movie depicting Iranians collectively as a medieval lunatic population time-warped to the present. The imposition of crippling sanctions that have made 75 million Iranians miserable is considered the soft alternative approach.
Evidence that Iran is complying with the NPT and has no nuclear weapons program is swept aside as propaganda. Arguments that a nuclear-armed Iran could be “contained,” that is, deterred from committing national suicide by striking far more advanced countries that have hundreds of nukes pointed back at Tehran, are disparaged as dangerously naïve. It’s tough to get 99% of Americans to agree on anything, but if Obama wants to take advantage of this consensus and pre-emptively strike against a foe that presents such a “critical danger” to US interests, it won’t be public sentiment that stands in his way. Hopefully there are other constraints. Who’s laughing now?