Obama Kicks the Iranian Nuclear Can Down the Road
If folks' heads are spinning lately over the Israel/Iran situation and the U.S./Iran confrontations, there are plenty of good reasons.
Israel makes noises about attacking the Islamic Republic; Iran in turn makes noises about closing the Strait of Hormuz and large-scale retaliation. Obama says a military option is not "off the table," just as he sweeps it over the edge and down to the floor.
The U.S. postpones a huge joint military exercise with Israel, and folks on both sides are making contradictory leaks about whether Israel asked for the delay, whether Obama pulled the rug out from under them again, or whether Israel simply doesn't want a whole bunch of U.S. troops in the way when they make a spring attack.
It got worse this past week, when Obama's own chief intelligence officer, James Clapper, Jr., in testimony before Congress, shockingly announced his belief that Iranian leaders are willing to carry out attacks right here on U.S. soil (we did discover and foil one already not long ago).
WASHINGTON - Some senior Iranian leaders are now more willing to carry out attacks inside the United States in response to perceived American threats against their country, the Obama administration's top intelligence official said on Tuesday, pointing to last fall's suspected assassination plot against the Saudi ambassador to Washington.
But before the week was out, The One made it pretty clear that he didn't believe that sort of scare-talk for a moment, so the military option would stay on the table (in the U.S. congressional, not the British parliamentary sense):
WASHINGTON/TEHRAN (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Sunday there were important risks to consider before any military strike against Iran and made clear he does not want to see more conflict in the oil-producing Gulf region.
In a television interview, Obama also said he did not believe Tehran had the "intentions or capabilities" to attack the United States, playing down the threats from Tehran and saying he wanted a diplomatic end to the nuclear standoff.
And the fearless commander-in-chief went on to make it clear, albeit subtly, that his spine was still nowhere in sight, letting Iran and Israel know that he was prepared to play the chicken as long as it might take for the ayatollahs to finish building their nuclear warheads and missiles capable of delivering them. In short, this is what Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak called "too late."
"Any kind of additional military activity inside the Gulf is disruptive and has a big effect on us. It could have a big effect on oil prices. We've still got troops in Afghanistan, which borders Iran. And so our preferred solution here is diplomatic," Obama said.
Israel cannot, of course, play Obama's political games with her own existence, so the Israelis ought to -- and probably will -- do what they need to in order to keep alive the Jewish State. It is becoming more and more apparent that no amount of diplomacy and no number of sanctions will deter the Iranians from their fanatic determination to build nuclear weaponry, destroy Israel, and become the regional hegemon. They have said so repeatedly and given no reason to disbelieve them.
Israel's leaders my find that they cannot place their country's life at stake on the chance that Obama will be defeated in November and replaced by a U.S. president with more backbone and a whole of a lot less empathy/sympathy for the Muslim ummah. (Anyone with any doubts about that is invited to have a look at this video prepared on the subject.)
"Too risky" to do what needs to be done in America's interests doesn't play too well to patriotic ears. It wasn't too risky to break with King George; it wasn't too risky to clean out the Barbary Pirates; it wasn't too risky to take on the British in 1812; it wasn't too risky to blockade Cuba during the missile crisis. Our whole history before this cowardly administration has been one of risk-taking for important objectives.