Putin On Syria Deal: Israel Should Give Up Nukes

putinJust a few days after Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart reached an agreement calling on the Assad regime to turn over its chemical weapons to the international community, Russian President Vladimir Putin appears to be already undermining that agreement.  Putin said yesterday that he can’t guarantee Syria will give up all their chemical weapons as part of a U.S.-Russian deal and suggested that Israel could help the situation improve by giving up its nuclear weapons.  “Syria came into possession of chemical weapons as an alternative to Israel’s nuclear weapons,” Putin said at a gathering of political analysts. “The technological superiority of Israel in the region is so obvious that it doesn’t require nuclear weapons, which makes it a target and creates a special problem for it.”

This seems to me to be an attempt by Putin to pressure Obama into cooling the U.S. policy toward Israel’s nuclear program.  Since Israel first acquired a nuclear reactor about fifty years ago their official policy has been ambiguity about their nuclear capabilities, but it’s widely believed that the nation has at least 200 nuclear warheads.  President Obama has shown support for Israel’s unofficial nuclear program in the past.  In 2010 he warned that a Middle East nuclear conference planned for 2012 could be cancelled over attempts to single out Israel for its undeclared nuclear program.  In fact, the conference was cancelled.  Also in 2010, after a White House meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Obama told reporters that there would be no change in U.S. policy on nuclear proliferation in the Middle East.  He said, “We strongly believe that, given its size, its history, the region that it’s in, and the threats that are leveled against us — against it, that Israel has unique security requirements.  It’s got to be able to respond to threats or any combination of threats in the region. And that’s why we remain unwavering in our commitment to Israel’s security.  And the United States will never ask Israel to take any steps that would undermine their security interests.”

It appears that Putin is now testing that commitment to Israel.  By already backing off the plan to have Syria turn over their chemical weapons he is putting the monkey squarely on Obama’s back.  Clearly, Obama would face political and public outrage if he proceeds with earlier plans to launch military strikes on Syria.  Will he instead attempt to pressure Israel into sitting down at the table to discuss a deal involving their nuclear weapons?  Putin is holding all the cards in this situation and is obviously enjoying pushing Obama around.  Just how far he will try to push him remains to be seen, but there can be no doubt Israel will never give up their nuclear weapons.  Even sitting down at the table to discuss that possibility would be an admission of their existence, which they have avoided doing for over fifty years.  Obama has painted himself into a corner with his ‘red line’ and has left himself, the United States and now Israel subject to pressure tactics from Putin.  It’s crystal clear who the most influential leader on the international stage is currently, and it’s not Obama.  Putin recognizes a weak man when he sees him.  It’s unfortunate that the American public didn’t recognize him last November.

 

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1 comment to Putin On Syria Deal: Israel Should Give Up Nukes

  • LD Jackson

    I think it’s fairly evident that Obama has been out flanked and out maneuvered by Putin at every turn. That’s what usually happens when one person is so sure of their abilities and power, only to find they are a mere mortal. There is no good way for Obama to get out of this and still save face. As a result of his foolishness, the United States and Israel are both suffering the consequences.