Yes, it happens from time to time. One morning I woke up covered in a cold sweat. I dreamed that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu got stuck on the steep steps of the entrance to the new submarine from Germany. Not because of the flak jacket protecting his chest, but because of his aspiration to look like a real he-man on the way to being the next prime minister, or the one after that – without primaries.
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But Bibi, who has probably decided to break the record of the number of terms in office of any Israeli leader, must not be blinded by this lovely submarine. He would be better off ensuring that the newer submarine, the one that will arrive five years from now, will have a larger entrance, enabling him to bring the prime minister’s wife along for a spin.
Maybe we’ll need another submarine and maybe not. But it’s possible that because he is so concerned about our “second strike” capability, Bibi has fallen asleep to some extent when it comes to the first strike. Bibi’s Israel has turned the “Iranian nuclear threat” into a national fear, a life-and-death struggle, but now, after Iran presumably was parted from its aspirations and no longer represents a nuclear threat – now the threat is actually more concrete.
Russia’s deep penetration of the area and the quantities of weapons that it will provide – and is now providing – to Iran in the form of long-range missiles, threaten to harm us not in another 10 years but “in the immediate,” as they say in the military.
Russian President Vladimir Putin – “a short bastard,” as he was dubbed in a satirical French magazine – did in fact try to reassure and flatter Bibi, but the Russian missiles that will come into Iranian hands, and almost certainly will reach Hezbollah as well, constitute a far greater danger than all of Bibi’s apocalyptic prophecies during the period of fear of the Iranian nuclear program.
Yes Bibi, you also have reasons to wake up in a cold sweat: Russia’s entry into the region and the arming of Iran are not taking place by chance. They are based on the fact that from the moment that the United States reached a point where it has sufficient sources of petroleum and gas until the end of this century, it has less interest in the Middle East. U.S. President Barack Obama set himself a goal to stop the bleeding of American soldiers. They left Iraq and Afghanistan and are not intervening in Syria. According to all the signs, the next U.S. president will adopt the same attitude towards OPP (Other People’s Problems).
It’s true that no president, not even Richard Nixon, has given as much specific aid to Israel as Obama. That’s because Obama is a level-headed person, even if he’s not a chummy type. He will be remembered as the president who gave us the most money to develop weapons, from Iron Dome on. But when Obama concludes his term he will leave behind a Middle Eastern situation assessment in which there is a prominent presence of an anti-Israeli great power of which we have no fond memories, which in the past provided assistance in any way possible to Arab countries that aspired to destroy Israel.
I still recall the hysteria in Israel at the time, hysteria that led to the Six-Day War, and in the wake of the overly quick victory – the hysteria of Greater Israel and all the troubles that followed.
Yes, Bibi can continue to pose as much as he likes for photo-ops with his new submarine. He can also recall with longing his speeches at the United Nations and in the Congress plenum with the diagrams, in which he predicted when the Iranian nuclear program would threaten us. But slowly but surely it’s becoming clear that he didn’t pay attention to the most immediate and frightening danger: Russia’s return, in spades, to the Middle East. Not communist, it’s true, but with an appetite to rule as a great power that is highly involved in our region.
And when the missiles are flowing to Iran, and the U.S. is becoming distant on the horizon, and when in the newspaper we read about the maneuver of Bibi’s election for the fifth time, and perhaps the sixth, and about his plan to move up the elections – there is definitely a good reason to wake up in the mornings of the coming year in a cold sweat.