Iran is not an exemplary country by any measure, and it is far from having a representative government. It has a dismal human rights record but it is preposterous to claim that it is the biggest threat not just to Israel and the United States but to the world.
It is time for the United State to act like Israel's ally, rather than Netanyahu's, and prevent any attack on Iran. In fact, I believe that is precisely what Obama is quietly doing. He just needs to make sure that Netanyahu gets the message.
It is clear that if U.S. and Iranian political leaders continue down the present course they will almost certainly lead us into another bloody war. Out of empathy for those who will do the fighting and dying, here are a few things they can do to avert conflict.
Aimed -- it seems -- at keeping America's attention firmly on the unacceptable danger of Iran building nuclear weapons, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are hinting that an Israeli attack on Iran could come at any time.
In an Israeli-Iranian confrontation, who would their leaders call? How would they communicate? There may be backchannels but these are slow, cumbersome and unreliable. The danger of a catastrophe would be unacceptably high.
Since talks with Iran over its nuclear development started up again in April, U.S. officials have repeatedly warned that Tehran will not be allowed to "play for time" in the negotiations. In fact, it is the Obama administration that is playing for time.
After this weekend, there will likely be a redoubled Congressional effort to press forward with a stalled AIPAC and Netanyahu-endorsed push to redefine the diplomatic endgame with Iran in such a way as to rule out any plausible, inspections-based solution.
An Israeli attack on Iran will have consequences that are multiple, prolonged, and pernicious. But it's hardly a foregone conclusion that it will occur; indeed, it's less likely than generally assumed.