For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
With any hope of a new round of UN Security Council sanctions on Iran now postponed until June, and the understanding that if at all, these will be weak and ineffective measures, Obama's diplomatic initiative is slowly grinding to a halt. Taking into account Iran's steady progress in developing fissible material, its work on producing a nuclear warhead, and its ever-improving missile capabilities -- together with low expectations that anything in this dynamic will impress upon the Obama administration the need to ultimately take military action -- part of the discourse on this topic is changing track. Instead of focusing on the stinging failure to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions, some are arguing that it's now time to move on. They say that in the likely scenario that Iran becomes the next nuclear state, the US will simply resort to its ultimate strategy that has worked in other cases: it will contain a nuclear Iran.
But will the US indeed be able to contain a nuclear Iran? The answer to this question involves two levels: first, US credibility vis-à-vis Iran, and second, what the US will be seeking to contain. On both counts, there is little room for optimism.
Containment (and deterrence) of an adversary necessarily depend on a state's ability to transmit to the adversary credible threats of consequences for certain behavior on the part of the adversary. In this regard, the idea that the US can contain Iran cannot be divorced from what has transpired over the past year vis-à-vis the diplomatic initiative that Obama has pursued from his first day in office. The lesson that Iran has learned from the Obama administration is that while there has been no shortage of threats of consequences, there have been little to no actual consequences. Iran has seen that the US sets red lines and deadlines that in practice are virtually meaningless. The US has undermined its own ability to present a credible threat by saying outright that it has no intention of taking military action because it is overstretched in Iraq and Afghanistan. And it has clarified through its actions that broad multilateral agreement is more important than demonstrating resolve to Iran in the economic realm as well. Why should we assume that the US will be any more successful in projecting credibility toward Iran when this state becomes a nuclear state than it has been in the period before Iran crossed this line?
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"