Commentary Magazine


Did Biden Make News or a Mega-Gaffe?

With Joe Biden you never know if he is speaking out of school (i.e., candidly revealing what is administration policy) or just making stuff up. On the Sunday circuit he seemed to give Israel the go-ahead to strike Iran:

Israel has the right to determine its own course of action with regard to the Iranian nuclear threat regardless of what the Obama administration chooses to do, Biden told ABC reporter George Stephanopoulos.

When asked whether the Obama administration would restrain Israeli military action against Iran, Biden responded:

“Israel can determine for itself — it’s a sovereign nation — what’s in their interest and what they decide to do relative to Iran and anyone else.”

Stephanaopoulos posed the question three times, and each time Biden repeated that Israel was free to choose its actions.

“If the Netanyahu government decides to take a course of action different than the one being pursued now, that is their sovereign right to do that. That is not our choice.”

Well that would be a big shift from Obama’s Cairo speech, in which he declared that no one country could determine if another could acquire nuclear weapons. Is Obama now allowing Israel to be the world’s nuclear watchdog while he assumes some grand position of neutrality, sitting above the fray and unwilling to assert American military power even if facing a nuclear-armed Iran? Perhaps. That would be quite a timid stance, a retreat from America’s historic role as leader and defender of the Free World. But if he’s not going to do it himself, it is a good thing indeed to signal that Israel can defend itself and the rest of the region.