The critique of U.S. policy in the Middle East by Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer offers the latest example of how their deeply held antipathy toward the Jewish state of Israel poisons their analysis. Their irrational obsession with what they see as undue American Jewish influence on the U.S. – Israel relationship renders them blind to the real dangers of Iranian nuclear weapons ambitions.
While they asserted that President Obama does "not believe a nuclear-armed Iran would pose an existential threat to Israel," the president in his interview in The Atlantic and in his speech at AIPAC clearly and unequivocally stated just the opposite. The president was equally clear in stating that preventing Iran from becoming armed with a nuclear weapon is a U.S. national security interest. His tough position on Iran stems from an understanding that a nuclear Iran is counter to U.S. national security interests, and recognition that military force may prove a necessary measure to halt Tehran's nuclear program. Fears of regional nuclear proliferation and risks of a weapon falling into terrorist hands are the driving force behind President Obama's desire to stop Iran, and not pressure from Israel or any political organization. These concerns apparently mean little to Walt and Mearsheimer.
The U.S. and Israel do indeed have shared interests and common goals on the Iran nuclear weapons issue. These interests and goals, not outside pressures, are the foundation of US-Israel ties. It is unfortunate that Walt and Mearsheimer can only present a distorted reality of that important relationship.
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