In Defense of Joe Biden

That’s a post title you won’t often see on this site! I want to move on to Iran, but first, what did Joe Biden actually tell Prime Minister Netanyahu yesterday? I can’t see that an official readout of the conversation has been published, but this account, based on conversation with a “senior White House official,” seems as authoritative as any:

Biden told Netanyahu the joint defensive efforts by Israel, the U.S. and other countries in the region led to the failure of the Iranian attack, according to the White House official.

* “You got a win. Take the win,” Biden told Netanyahu, according to the official.

* The official said that when Biden told Netanyahu that the U.S. will not participate in any offensive operations against Iran and will not support such operations, Netanyahu said he understood.

I think it is great the the U.S. helped to stop Iran’s attack, along with the U.K. and Jordan, by shooting down drones and missiles. I would not expect an American administration to go beyond that. Biden says the U.S. will not support (I assume that means, support logistically) or participate in Israel’s retaliation against Iran? Of course not. Israel doesn’t need our help; all Israel needs is for Biden to stay out of its way. So far, at least, there is no sign that Biden will actively try to impede an effective Israeli response. If that happens, I will condemn it, but it hasn’t happened yet.

The larger question is, what should Israel do now? I think the time has come to seek regime change. Iran has bedeviled Israelis for many years without paying a significant price. On the contrary, it has been bizarrely rewarded by the Obama and Biden administrations. Iran hasn’t paid a price, in part because it has acted through its agents, Hamas, Hezbollah and the Houthis. Last night, Iran directly attacked Israel and thus opened itself up to a definitive response.

In my view, Israel should not just punish Iran. It should try to secure the overthrow of the Ayatollah and the mullahs. There is considerable evidence that Iran’s theocratic regime is unpopular. Iran’s economy is a disaster, propped up in part by Biden’s largesse. I don’t know what specific attacks might prompt a successful revolt. Presumably population centers like Tehran should be avoided, but strikes against infrastructure so that, for example, there is no electric power, might so discredit the mullahs as to lead to their demise.

Is such a result likely? I don’t know, but I think Israel should take this opportunity to find out. I take it that the mullahs do not yet have nuclear weapons, but if that is the case, they are very close. Their having such weapons could complicate the sort of decisive attack that I think makes sense. In other words, now is the time.

Israel has been under siege by Hamas and Hezbollah for many years. That situation, in my opinion, cannot continue. If that wasn’t already obvious it was made plain by October 7. The best way to defeat Hamas and Hezbollah–probably the only way–is to topple Iran’s genocidal regime. I don’t know whether that can be done, but it is worth a try.

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