Who Is the Leader of the Free World?

Two heads of state delivered speeches last week in Washington, D.C. They spoke from the same podium on consecutive days. The subject was the right of a sovereign nation to defend itself from a country run by radical Islamic fundamentalists that may soon possess nuclear weapons and has vowed to use them against its sworn enemy in order to eliminate it from the face of the earth.

One of the speakers spoke in a manner befitting Neville Chamberlain in the British parliament in the 1930s. While hinting at consequences for Iran, he emphasized a continuation of sanctions that may or may not be afflicting the Iranian economy, but are most assuredly not halting its nuclear ambitions. He chastised what he called "loose talk of war," though, as if often the case with this particular speaker, he seemed to affix the blame to such bellicosity to the exact wrong party. During the same speech, in an astonishing display of flippancy, he claimed to "have" the threatened country's "back" "when the chips are down."

One of the speakers gave an eloquent disquisition on the concept of sovereignty and the protection of full and equal civil rights in his country. He spoke of the responsibilities of providing the state that he leads with security in the face of imminent danger.

One of the speakers said that more diplomacy should be employed in the hopes that Iran will back down from the development of its nuclear weapons program. Yet he also said that U.S. policy on Iran is not containment and that "all options" concerning Iran were on the table. Whether any or all of those options would be exercised was not revealed or even strongly suggested.

One of the speakers said, "Responsible leaders should not bet the security of their countries on the bet that the world's most dangerous regimes won't use the world's most dangerous weapons." He declared, "A nuclear armed Iran must be stopped."

One of the speakers said, "In that effort, I firmly believe that an opportunity remains for diplomacy - backed by pressure - to succeed. The United States and Israel both assess that Iran does not yet have a nuclear weapon, and we are exceedingly vigilant in monitoring their program. Now, the international community has a responsibility to use the time and space that exists. Sanctions are continuing to increase, and this July - thanks to our diplomatic coordination - a European ban on Iranian oil imports will take hold. Faced with these increasingly dire consequences, Iran's leaders still have the opportunity to make the right decision. They can choose a path that brings them back into the community of nations, or they can continue down a dead end.

"Given their history, there are of course no guarantees that the Iranian regime will make the right choice. But both Israel and the United States have an interest in seeing this challenge resolved diplomatically. After all, the only way to truly solve this problem (italics added) is for the Iranian government to make a decision to forsake nuclear weapons. That's what history tells us."

One of the speakers said, "For fifteen years, I have been warning that a nuclear-armed Iran is a grave danger to my country, and to the peace and security of the entire world. For the last decade, the international community has tried to diplomacy. It hasn't worked. For six years, the international community has applied sanctions. That hasn't worked either...Unfortunately, Iran's nuclear program continues to march forward."

One of the speakers attempted to profess his support for the threatened country by injecting his re-election into a discussion of the most serious magnitude and speaking in the first person singular about all he had done to organize such withering pressure on Iran.

One of the speakers talked of the folly of Iran's stated claims that their nuclear programs were really in pursuit of the development of medical isotopes. He talked of the ability of Iran to place nuclear missiles and devices on ships that could enter ports anywhere in the world. They could be put, he said, on a truck in a crowded city street or hidden in a subway. He talked of how a nuclear-armed Iran would encourage countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Turkey to acquire nuclear arms.

One of the speakers advocated waiting to act against Iran, waiting, in fact, to the point at which the threatened country would likely be past the point of self-defense. Waiting, in other words, until it is too late.

One of the speakers said that, as the leader of his nation, he would "never let my people live in the shadow of annihilation." He said "Never again will the Jewish people be powerless and supplicants for our fate and our very survival. Never again."

Two heads of state delivered speeches last week in Washington, D.C. They spoke from the same podium on consecutive days. The subject was the right of a sovereign nation to defend itself from a country run by radical Islamic fundamentalists that may soon possess nuclear weapons and has vowed to use them against its sworn enemy in order to eliminate it from the face of the earth.

One of the speakers was Barack Obama, president of the United States.

The other was Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of the free world.

Matthew May is the author of the book Restoration and welcomes comments at may.matthew.t@gmail.com.

Two heads of state delivered speeches last week in Washington, D.C. They spoke from the same podium on consecutive days. The subject was the right of a sovereign nation to defend itself from a country run by radical Islamic fundamentalists that may soon possess nuclear weapons and has vowed to use them against its sworn enemy in order to eliminate it from the face of the earth.

One of the speakers spoke in a manner befitting Neville Chamberlain in the British parliament in the 1930s. While hinting at consequences for Iran, he emphasized a continuation of sanctions that may or may not be afflicting the Iranian economy, but are most assuredly not halting its nuclear ambitions. He chastised what he called "loose talk of war," though, as if often the case with this particular speaker, he seemed to affix the blame to such bellicosity to the exact wrong party. During the same speech, in an astonishing display of flippancy, he claimed to "have" the threatened country's "back" "when the chips are down."

One of the speakers gave an eloquent disquisition on the concept of sovereignty and the protection of full and equal civil rights in his country. He spoke of the responsibilities of providing the state that he leads with security in the face of imminent danger.

One of the speakers said that more diplomacy should be employed in the hopes that Iran will back down from the development of its nuclear weapons program. Yet he also said that U.S. policy on Iran is not containment and that "all options" concerning Iran were on the table. Whether any or all of those options would be exercised was not revealed or even strongly suggested.

One of the speakers said, "Responsible leaders should not bet the security of their countries on the bet that the world's most dangerous regimes won't use the world's most dangerous weapons." He declared, "A nuclear armed Iran must be stopped."

One of the speakers said, "In that effort, I firmly believe that an opportunity remains for diplomacy - backed by pressure - to succeed. The United States and Israel both assess that Iran does not yet have a nuclear weapon, and we are exceedingly vigilant in monitoring their program. Now, the international community has a responsibility to use the time and space that exists. Sanctions are continuing to increase, and this July - thanks to our diplomatic coordination - a European ban on Iranian oil imports will take hold. Faced with these increasingly dire consequences, Iran's leaders still have the opportunity to make the right decision. They can choose a path that brings them back into the community of nations, or they can continue down a dead end.

"Given their history, there are of course no guarantees that the Iranian regime will make the right choice. But both Israel and the United States have an interest in seeing this challenge resolved diplomatically. After all, the only way to truly solve this problem (italics added) is for the Iranian government to make a decision to forsake nuclear weapons. That's what history tells us."

One of the speakers said, "For fifteen years, I have been warning that a nuclear-armed Iran is a grave danger to my country, and to the peace and security of the entire world. For the last decade, the international community has tried to diplomacy. It hasn't worked. For six years, the international community has applied sanctions. That hasn't worked either...Unfortunately, Iran's nuclear program continues to march forward."

One of the speakers attempted to profess his support for the threatened country by injecting his re-election into a discussion of the most serious magnitude and speaking in the first person singular about all he had done to organize such withering pressure on Iran.

One of the speakers talked of the folly of Iran's stated claims that their nuclear programs were really in pursuit of the development of medical isotopes. He talked of the ability of Iran to place nuclear missiles and devices on ships that could enter ports anywhere in the world. They could be put, he said, on a truck in a crowded city street or hidden in a subway. He talked of how a nuclear-armed Iran would encourage countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Turkey to acquire nuclear arms.

One of the speakers advocated waiting to act against Iran, waiting, in fact, to the point at which the threatened country would likely be past the point of self-defense. Waiting, in other words, until it is too late.

One of the speakers said that, as the leader of his nation, he would "never let my people live in the shadow of annihilation." He said "Never again will the Jewish people be powerless and supplicants for our fate and our very survival. Never again."

Two heads of state delivered speeches last week in Washington, D.C. They spoke from the same podium on consecutive days. The subject was the right of a sovereign nation to defend itself from a country run by radical Islamic fundamentalists that may soon possess nuclear weapons and has vowed to use them against its sworn enemy in order to eliminate it from the face of the earth.

One of the speakers was Barack Obama, president of the United States.

The other was Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of the free world.

Matthew May is the author of the book Restoration and welcomes comments at may.matthew.t@gmail.com.