Sunday, September 16, 2012

Krauthammer: Obama Position on Iran is Incorherent

In an opinion column in the Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer writes that there are two logically consistent points of view regarding the Iranian nuclear weapons program: "(a) it doesn’t matter, we can deter them; or (b) it does matter, we must stop them." Krauthammer does not agree with the first position, because it ignores the differences between the apocalyptic world view of Iran's Shiite Islamist regime, but at least it is coherent.

President Obama, Krauthammer complains, has given lip service to the second view--that weapons in the hands of the Iranian regime would be intolerable--yet stands by as the Iranians rapidly advance toward nuclear weapons capability. The perceived result, he argues, is a perception of American weakness and passivity that increases the likelihood of war. Quoting Andrew Cordesman at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, it creates, “the same conditions that helped trigger World War II — years of negotiations and threats, where the threats failed to be taken seriously until war became all too real.”

Further reliance on negotiations, diplomacy and sanctions merely accentuate American fecklessness, Krauthammer writes. Iran has only accelerated its program in the face of tightening sanctions, the Iranian regime has rejected negotiations--or else used them as a cover for moving toward its objective of atomic weapons capability-- and the failure of diplomacy is amply demonstrated by the recent conference of non-aligned nations in Tehran, attended by some 120 nations in the face of U.S. pleas for them not to participate.

The only response with a hope of deterring the Iranian regime at this late date is for the U.S. to establish a credible military threat if Iran crosses specified red lines. That is what Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is publicly pleading for--having failed to get assurances from the U.S. through normal diplomatic channels--and that is what President Obama and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton have publicly rejected.

To some American Jews, the security and survival of Israel, the world's only Jewish state, is a secondary issue, or perhaps not an issue at all. I consider such Jews to suffer from tragic historical myopia. However, for those American Jews for whom Israel's survival is a paramount concern, I ask you, how can you vote for re-election of President Obama? And for all Americans, even setting aside Israel's security entirely, but recognizing the ability of terrorists such as the Iranian Republican Guard or its proxy Hezbollah to smuggle a small nuclear warhead into an American city, can you afford to vote for re-election of President Obama?


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