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Monday, September 3, 2012

New York Times, "To Calm Israel, U.S. Offers Ways to Restrain Iran": Again Obama Can't Decide

Once again, America's Procrastinator-in-Chief can't decide.

As reported by David E. Sanger and Eric Schmitt in a New York Times article entitled "To Calm Israel, U.S. Offers Ways to Restrain Iran" (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/03/world/middleeast/us-is-weighing-new-curbs-on-iran-in-nod-to-israel.html?pagewanted=all), the Obama administration is debating which steps should be taken by the US to forestall an Israeli preemptive attack against Iran's nuclear development facilities. As observed by Sanger and Schmitt:

"Already planned are naval exercises and new antimissile systems in the Persian Gulf, and a more forceful clamping down on Iranian oil revenue. The administration is also considering new declarations by President Obama about what might bring about American military action, as well as covert activities that have been previously considered and rejected."

However, regarding a new declaration, the article goes on to say:

"The question of how explicit Mr. Obama’s warnings to Iran should be is still a subject of internal debate, closely tied to election-year politics. Some of Mr. Obama’s advisers have argued that Israel needs a stronger public assurance that he is willing to take military action, well before Iran actually acquired a weapon. But other senior officials have argued that Israel is trying to corner Mr. Obama into a military commitment that he does not yet need to make."

This report comes after Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, declared with respect to an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear program, "I don’t want to be complicit if they choose to do it." This admission touched off a controversy in Israel, and as reported by The Jerusalem Post (http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=283485):

"A senior [Israeli] government official on Saturday characterized as 'strange' a recent statement by US military chief Gen. Martin Dempsey that he would not want to be 'complicit' in an Israeli attack on Iran.

'Dempsey’s comments are strange in that they would seem to contradict the continual statements from the White House that the security and defense cooperation between Israel and the US has never been as close,' the senior official said."

A "senior government official"? I take that to mean Netanyahu.

Needless to say, Obama prefers not to kick this hornets nest at a time when he is running neck and neck with Romney, when there are no signs of American economic improvement, and when his own faux pas - "You didn't build that" - is coming back to haunt him on a daily basis.

However, in order to avoid a war, Obama will need to talk tough and succinctly, given that both the Iranians and the Israelis don't believe a word he says. As noted in today's Times article:

"Even if Mr. Obama set a clear 'red line' now, its credibility may be questionable. According to a tally by Graham Allison, the Harvard expert on nuclear conflict, the United States and its allies have allowed Iran to cross seven previous 'red lines' over 18 years with few consequences."

Yeah, I suppose this is good reason to question US credibility.

Are you listening, Mr. McLean?

4 comments:

  1. Obama can't decide ... but what Valerie Jarrett, our expert in international affairs, is saying. I think this matters most.
    What a team ...

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  2. A President who can't decide,needs endless debates,carried no weight in the world arena? That's not a President.The only thing that he seems committed to is that the country needs more of the same for another four years.Rather self absorbed if you ask me.
    I really don't understand why so many issues critical to the economy and world security are sidelined while he campaigns.At the very least,he shouldn't be taking the paycheck for a job not performed.

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  3. More maneuvers in the Gulf are too little too late because President Obama’s surrogates have already made it clear to Iran that the already extremely weak policy statement “all options are on the table”, means that they always will be on the table and Iran does not have to worry about an American military strike when it becomes a fully nuclear armed power.

    I was glad to read that “The administration is also considering new declarations by President Obama about what might bring about American military action, ”

    This has been the advice from Alan Dershowitz, a major supporter of President Obama.

    But preventing a nuclear Iran is not just about Israel or calming
    Israel. A nuclear Iran would forever change the American economy with $20.00 a gallon gas.

    Will he make Teheran’s rulers understand that their days in power are numbered if they continue to build a nuclear bomb?

    Inexperienced President Barack Obama has made many major mistakes and has very rarely learned from his mistakes.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Incompetent, incompetent, incompetent.
    "If we hug each other there will be paradise in the world" is good for a meeting of vegans, demagogues, charlatans, 600 rabbis of the list, etc.
    Not for the real world and not for the leader of "free world."

    ReplyDelete