Let's say it's late 2013 and the prime minister of Israel has just received a phone call from the White House relaying the findings of a recent U.S. intelligence assessment: international sanctions and negotiations with Iran have yet to persuade the regime to halt its nuclear drive. Tehran previously rejected a generous U.S. offer that would have allowed it to enrich uranium in exchange for strong nuclear safeguards, and the program continues to advance unabated. After agreeing to convene in Washington in one week to discuss strategy going forward, the prime minister and president each call a meeting with their national security advisors.
The president's team acknowledges that the United States is war weary, debt laden, and politically gridlocked. With U.S. forces having just withdrawn from Iraq and on a path to end combat operations in Afghanistan by late 2014, many hope that the attendant diversion of resources will spring the country from its financial woes and accelerate its economic recovery.
Nevertheless, the president, the prime minister, and their advisers reaffirm that a nuclear Iran is an unacceptable threat to U.S. and Israeli national security, with the president reiterating his strong and repeated 2012 commitment to prevention. Each leader then reviews the redlines that the regime has already crossed since 2004 regarding enrichment of nuclear material, as well as the UN Security Council resolutions it has violated in its pursuit of nuclear weapons. They also consider the fact that five rounds of diplomatic negotiations (in Geneva, Istanbul, Baghdad, Moscow, and Kazakhstan) have failed.