Netanyahu in Jerusalem earlier this month. (Courtesy Reuters)

Speaking at a news conference in Jerusalem last week, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu expressed outrage at the refusal of the Obama administration to set "red lines" for Iran's progress on its nuclear program: limits that, if crossed by the Iranians, would trigger U.S. military action against the Islamic Republic. Netanyahu suggested that by not taking a harder line, the United States might fail to persuade Israel to forego a unilateral strike against Iran's nuclear facilities. "Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don't have a moral right to place a red light before Israel," Netanyahu proclaimed.

But it is Americans who ought to be incensed with Netanyahu. By insisting on red lines and threatening to launch a unilateral strike on Iran's nuclear infrastructure, Netanyahu is trying to commit the United States to fighting a

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  • MICHAEL C. DESCH is a professor of political science and a fellow at the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Advanced Study.
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