Yesterday morning on Fox News, former UN Ambassador John Bolton claimed Israel has to make a decision to bomb Iran soon, partly because they need to do it with a U.S. President in office who would support the unilateral strike:
I think their calculation has to be they want the support — at least after-the-fact — from the United States, and therefore, I think doing it during President Bush’s term makes a lot of sense. I don’t think they’ll do it before our election because you can’t calculate what the impact would be, and of course after the election, they’ll know who will be President — and that would factor into their decision as well.
In the interview, Bolton also made the case for preventive war against Iran. “I don’t personally believe in just-in-time non-proliferation,” he said. “Our intelligence on Iran is far from perfect,” Bolton conceded. Yet Iran’s “strategic objective” and “rhetoric from their leadership” is enough to justify war. Watch it:
Bolton was even more explicit in an interview with Israel Insider. “Bolton said that if Senator Obama is elected in November, Israel could not afford to wait until he takes office on January 20, before taking action. ‘An Obama victory would rule out military action by the Israelis because they would fear the consequences given the approach Obama has taken to foreign policy.'”
The right-wing neoconservative establishment is quickly unifying behind this argument that bombing must occur before a possible President Obama takes office. Last week, both Bolton and Bill Kristol made the argument.
“I do wonder with Senator Obama, if President Bush thinks Senator Obama’s going to win, does he somehow think — does he worry that Obama won’t follow through on that policy,” Kristol said.
UPDATE: Shabtai Shavit, former chief of the Israeli Mossad:
“If [Republican candidate John] McCain gets elected, he could really easily make a decision to go for it,” Shavit told the paper. “If it’s Obama: no. My prediction is that he won’t go for it, at least not in his first term in the White House.”
UPDATE II: Dana Perino was asked in the White House press briefing today whether Bush agreed with Bill Kristol that a strike would need to occur on his watch if Obama is elected. Perino answered: “There’s a lot of political analysts out there, and I respect that they have their opinions. What I can tell you as the President’s spokesperson, he is singularly focused on trying to solve this issue diplomatically.” Watch it: