In urging congressional Republicans and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to reconsider their strong opposition to a new international agreement to block Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon in return for lifting economic sanctions, President Obama on Wednesday argued opponents of the deal have offered no alternative to diplomacy except going to war in the Middle East.
“Israel has legitimate concerns about its security regarding Iran,” Obama said at a White House news conference, referring to Israeli leaders’ repeated concerns about Iran’s sponsorship of Hezbollah and repeated calls for the destruction of Israel. However, Obama noted that these threats would be exacerbated if Iran obtains nuclear weapons, and Netanyahu has yet to present a better “Plan B.”
“Without a deal,” the president said, “there would be no limits to Iran’s nuclear program and Iran could move close to a nuclear bomb. Without a deal, we risk even more war in the Middle East.”
But what would happen if Netanyahu made good on his threat to launch a preemptive military strike to take out Iran’s nuclear plants? If he concluded that the very survival of the Jewish state were at stake? How would the United States — Israel’s closest and staunchest ally — respond to such an attack with so much invested in a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear threat in the Middle East?