Why green lines and red lines don’t belong together
It is misguided to make any comparison between red lines and green lines when discussing the important issues facing America with respect to the Middle East. To suggest that green lines ought to garner the same attention as red lines in American presidential races is to not fully understand American issues and policies.
Anyone making a comparison between red lines and green lines makes a false case of equivalency that the moral implications of red lines and green lines are of the same or similar weight.
One misstep these arguers maintain is that the obligations for America to demand red lines and green lines are the same. Israel, for the past 64 years, has been an essential ally militarily, economically and politically in the Middle East. Israel remains the only true projection of American interests in the region. Israel as a democratic entity has minority representation in Parliament, freedom of the press, and respect for women’s and gays’ rights. It has demonstrated globally in Haiti, Japan and elsewhere its emphasis on humanitarianism. To say that America has an obligation to determine its chief ally’s policy is unfair to Israel. As an ally, we ought to openly respect that Israel has the right to determine its own fate. On the other hand, Iran has no such record on democracy, has no such history of friendship with America. In fact, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has often voiced his belief in America inventing 9/11 and claimed in his speech to the U.N. “the American empire…is reaching the end of its road.” The country brutally suppresses its dissidents, aggressively censors free speech and even has the highest per capita execution rate in the world.
The threat of a nuclear Iran poses the gravest threat to American interests. It enables the largest state sponsor of terrorism to operate behind one of the world’s most devastating weapons. Its proxies like Hezbollah and Hamas would have the freedom to act without fear of retaliation knowing it has the backing of Iran. Furthermore, it would spur a nuclear arms race in the world’s most volatile region. The Saudi king has repeatedly claimed that if Iran were free to have nuclear power then it would also pursue nuclear capability. Other countries would follow suit. The claim that “the green line is as important as the red line” is counter-factual and unsupportable.
To say American presidential candidates ought to be discussing Israel’s policies with the same fervor it is discussing Iran’s nuclear ambitions is misguided. Calling on green lines would be alienating the only ally in the region by disrespecting its right to determine its own policies. Calling on red lines would be saying that America will not tolerate a nuclear Iran to allow its terrorist proxies to operate freely, spur a nuclear arms race and enable one of the world’s largest theocracies led by one of the world’s most tyrannical leaders to have access to one of the world’s most devastating weapons. Green lines and red lines don’t belong in the same discussion.