Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu is a man in deep political trouble. For years, the power player in Israeli politics, Netanyahu barely scraped out an electoral victory in the last Israeli elections, then, in that Israeli parliamentary way that we with a 2 party system cannot fathom, he couldn’t put together a “ruling coalition.” When his opponent couldn’t scrape one together either, another election was called for late next month.
But that’s not his only problem. Turns out that Benjy is kind of a scumbag, both personally and politically. Turns out that he is under potential indictment by the Israeli justice system for corruption, and he and his wife both are under investigation for misappropriating government funds. This is not a position you want to be in heading into a high stakes election that could cap your political life.
Fortunately for him, Netanyahu has been around long enough to know the cynical secret that every good authoritarian knows, nothing unites a nation like a common enemy. It doesn’t amaze me in the slightest that today, a bare three weeks before his election, he suddenly gets reliable intelligence that Iran was planning a drone strike against Israel, so he launched a preemptive strike in Syria first. Please excuse my cynicism, but to a lifelong political junkie, this has a strong whiff of “Iraqi MWD” bullshit to it.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch. Donald Trump is a bird of highly ruffled plumage. His vaunted “These are so easy to win” trade war with China is falling apart, with China calling the shots for the first time. The economy is slowing down, he is losing to every top tier candidate in the Democratic field, and expat members of his own party are threatening to either primary him directly, or set up a Super PAC to try to sink his little red boat in essential battleground states.
His personal life ain’t going much better either. The Democrats in the House are closing in on both his tax returns, as well as his business records, and there is now a solid “majority of the majority” in the Democratic House itching to continue with impeachment proceedings when congress comes back in session in a couple of weeks.
Are you following me here, my friends? The comparison simple enough? Donald Trump is looking at an extremely difficult, if not impossible reelection campaign, with both economic as well as political pressure bearing down on him. At the same time, he has not only a National Security Adviser but a Secretary of State that are both quite public about their wish for regime change in Iran.
This is incredibly dangerous. Trump is a chicken hawk itching for a fight as the ultimate distraction, surrounded by toadying sycophants ready to egg him on. If Israel becomes embroiled in an armed conflict with Iran, Trump and his draft dodging buddies will immediately try to send troops in support.
This is going to come down to two things, the US congress and the American people. Israel is not a part of NATO, so there is no article 5 intervention called for if they become embroiled in a war with Iran. As we speak, Iran presents no clear and present danger to the United States. Likewise, there is no conceivable way that a new conflict with Iran could be justified by the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force.
Congress must be strong, starting right now, before they even return to Washington, in proclaiming loudly and often, that absolutely no military intervention by the United States will be funded without a new AUMF (authorization for use of military forces) from congress. Both Democratic members of congress, as well as Democratic presidential candidates, should demand on a daily basis GOP support for requiring Trump to obtain congressional approval before putting one boot on the ground in the Middle East.
But more importantly, it falls on all of us. The Democrats are fond of railing against the top 1% of the rich in our economy. How about railing for the 1% of our population that endlessly keeps going from war zone to war zone, carrying out the often ridiculous political whims of our leaders? It is time to hit the streets, right now, on a daily basis if necessary, to make it abundantly clear, not only to Trump, but to the entire GOP caucus, that another ill fated foreign intervention will not be tolerated, especially when our ally was the aggressor.
We had our wayward moment of political stupidity in 2002, when we followed cobbled up, bogus intelligence into a disastrous war against a radicalized foe we could neither contain nor defeat. And guess what? Israel didn’t lift a single fucking finger in support of us when the chips were down. Benjamin Netanyahu is engaging in a purely political exercise in altercation, in order to try to rally the country against removing him in the middle of an armed conflict that he created. Tough shit, buddy. Don’t come crying to us to pull your nuts from the fire before they roast.