(smh.com.au).ISRAEL is troubled by the perception the US is an "empire of the past" and wants a resurgent America to lead a decisive confrontation with Iran, Israel's Deputy Prime Minister, Dan Meridor, who is also the Minister for Intelligence and Nuclear Energy, told the Sydney morning herald.
"America is tested" at a pivotal moment in the history of the Middle East, The Arab world was watching the US closely: "They look to America. If America does not seem to be able to contain the Iranian threat, will they go with Iran?"
Mr Meridor said he was "surprised" at the Obama administration's treatment of a longstanding US ally, Egypt's former president:"This is of world-order magnitude, Israel, which depends on the US as its security guarantor, itself appears to have new doubts about US judgment".
"Was it necessary to immediately empower the demonstrators against him and let [Hosni] Mubarak go? It's seen by all the allies of America in the Arab world. I don't know where the tide of history will go and I'm not sure they know."
"The perception, that I hope is wrong, that America is weakening is not good, but I hope that America will find a way, and I believe they can, to restore itself as the leading country and not allow those impressions spread by the Iraq war that America is an empire of the past. All this is here on the table".
"America has started wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Is it a success story or not? What happens in Pakistan? … It may be the use of power showed the limits of power."
Mr Meridor, a senior member of the Likud party of the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said the confrontation with Iran was "a decisive conflict".
"The end of it is very important.If the end of it is that Iran has nuclear power, it will have grave effects on world order, on balance of power, and on the Middle East".
"It may spell the end of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty regime, not only because Iran will be nuclear, but because other countries say they will need to be nuclear, Egypt and Saudi Arabia and others may do it".
"No more the responsible adults tell the kids what to do. When everybody has the bomb you can't contain or control or interfere as America could do."