U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, shakes hands with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the prime minister's office in Jerusalem, Israel,...
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Let Me Finish: The news about Iran

Let me finish with the upbeat news about Iran.

My guess is, the people running that country are looking at three routes they can take in the near and intermediate future.

They can go along with a deal that, at minimum, delays any plans they have for building a nuclear weapons arsenal. That would end the sanctions and put them back on the road to a strong economic presence in the region. In this way, they could become the major Islamic country in the oil-producing Mideast, and could make them a real economic rival of Israel’s over the long haul. It would give them something real – not the threat of having a nuclear weapon in their hands – but the present reality of economic power and, with it, conventional military strength.

This would be the smart move, I would think, from their way of thinking.

The two alternatives are to stiff the US on a deal, taking their chances that we could not toughen the sanctions against them and, failing that, we would not attack them militarily or would not help Israel do it.

Those second and third options don’t sound that sane to me. I think any reasonable person knows that an American president cannot – no matter what his ideology – let this current government in Iran have a nuclear weapons arsenal. No president could put up with that, certainly not a left of center president like Obama.

So I’m hoping that the leaders in Iran make the right decision, that the news we got today is real, that there’s now a prospect, a good prospect of getting a deal that keeps Iran well short of getting nuclear weapons.

I know that Bibi Netanyahu disagrees with the approach I’ve laid out but I bet a majority of Israelis do not. Why? Because once the United States or Israel, or both of us, go to a hot war with Iran, there is no counting on the consequences.

We listened to the neo-cons when they cheered us into Baghdad. We listened to those who cheered the Bush “freedom agenda” as it careened its way into Iraq. We listened to those who loved the sight of a toppling Egypt and a toppling Libya and hope just as fervently for a toppling Syria. In every case we got worse than what we had.

Let’s hope the Ayatollahs in Iran are sane and do the right thing even as the screwballs on our side of the world cheer for yet another U.S. war with far worse consequences than we can imagine.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Iran and Israel

Let Me Finish: The news about Iran