Bibi Netanyahu has refined his diplomatic skills since his last time in office. His speech offering a two-state solution was widely praised in Israel, triggered the predictable rejectionist language from the Palestinians, and forced the White House to cough up some praise.
Sunday, he went on Meet The Press and quite effectively continued his public diplomacy campaign. First, he resisted the urge to criticize the president’s relative muteness on Iran:
I’m not going to second-guess the president of the United States. I know President Obama wants the people of Iran to be free. He said as much in his seminal speech in Cairo before the Muslim world. I’ve spoken to him a number of times on this subject, there’s no question we’d all like to see a different, a different Iran with different policies.
Quite politic and respectful — the way one would expect an ally to treat us in public. Too bad the courtesy has not been returned. But Bibi, after all, has the high ground on Iran — a perfect display of the regime’s despotic nature is unfolding, although it has until now been generally shrugged off by the U.S. and world elite opinion. He explained:
Obviously, you see a regime that represses its own people and spreads terror far and wide. It is a, a regime whose real nature has been unmasked, and it’s been unmasked by incredible acts of courage by Iran’s citizens. hey, they go into the streets, they face bullets. And I tell you, as somebody who believes deeply in democracy, that you see the Iranian lack of democracy at work. And I think this better explains and best explains to the entire world what this regime is truly about.
On the notion that Iran just wants nuclear weapons in order to be recognized as “a world power,” he commented:
First of all, I, I don’t subscribe to the view that Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons is a status symbol. It’s not. These are people who are sending thousands and thousands of missiles to their terrorist proxies Hezbollah and Hamas with the specific instruction to bomb civilians in Israel. They’re supporting terrorists in the world. This is not a status symbol. To have such a regime acquire nuclear weapons is to risk the fact that they might give it to terrorists or give terrorists a nuclear umbrella. That is a departure in the security of the Middle East and the world, certainly in the security of my country, and so I wouldn’t treat the subject so lightly. Would a regime change be a game changer? A policy change would be a game changer.
It is getting harder to stick to the fiction that the greatest problem in the Middle East is bubbe’s add-on bedroom in East Jerusalem, It is also getting harder to dispute the Iranian theocratic regime’s mortal threat to Israel and to the entire region. Facts matter. And Netanyahu has them on his side. He also, it seems, has learned how to deploy them.