Dragged kicking and screaming into a diplomatic deal with Syria, the Obama Administration is loudly insisting that the fact that reason prevailed in that nation is no reason to expect the same in Syria.
President Obama insisted in an interview with ABC that Iran’s civilian nuclear program is a “far larger issue” than Syria’s chemical weapons, arguing that the completely civilian program is a greater threat to Israel and therefore important to the US.
Obama went on to say that Iran should take no comfort in the Syrian deal, sticking with the idea that the Russia-brokered deal was only possible because the US keep threatening to attack.
Secretary of State John Kerry is in Jerusalem, and trying to reassure Israel of this policy, forwarding the notion that after being forced back from an unreasonable war in Syria, the unreasonable war in Iran is still on the table.
During the meeting with Kerry, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the idea of stripping Syria of chemical weapons, saying it makes the region safer. But shortly before meeting Kerry, Netanyahu was criticizing the pact specifically because it made threatening Iran seem less credible.
A lot of Israeli officials feel that way, and some have even pushed the idea that diplomacy with Syria “proves” the need for Israel to unilaterally attack Iran just to prevent another deal.
The administration’s narrative of being capable of recklessly starting ill-conceived wars seems in no small measure aimed at “reassuring” Israeli hawks and keeping them off the warpath, and that so many US hawks (and Obama himself) presented attacking Syria as a chance to really stick it to Iran has inexorably linked the two in many minds.
The simple reality, however, is that Obama didn’t voluntarily back away from the Syria War – he spent weeks trying to sell it and failed. That might be the real, far-reaching consequence of Syria, the reassertion of the American public’s ability to stop wars, and that clearly can have an impact on Iran.