President Obama tried to water down congressional sanctions last year and then declined to implement them last week, part of a long-term policy that leaves pressuring Iran to “leaders in Congress and Europe.” And because the administration has a political interest in convincing voters that it’s taking a hardline stance on Iran, it has a rhetorical and argumentative interest in silencing the critics who (a) point out how the opposite is true and (b) urge the president to do more.
Because intimidation comes naturally to this White House – witness last week’s demagoguery of the Koch Brothers and on birth control – their pushbacks have been marked by vague warnings delivered in tones of great significance. In his AIPAC speech this morning, Obama literally blamed high gas prices on Iran critics. Because why not?
I would ask that we all remember the weightiness of these issues, the stakes involved for Israel, for America, and for the world. Already, there is too much loose talk of war. Over the last few weeks, such talk has only benefited the Iranian government, by driving up the price of oil, which they depend on to fund their nuclear program. For the sake of Israel’s security, America’s security and the peace and security of the world, now is not the time for bluster.
Lest you think this warning was anything but a calculated brushback, here’s Anthony Blinken, National Security Advisor to Vice President Biden and Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, telling pro-Israel advocates last week that the Israelis may want to consider that Obama’s going to be reelected… if they know what’s good for them:
And he was unusually blunt about the partisan political attacks on the president’s Middle East record: he said what could really harm U.S.-Israeli relations and Israel’s national security is “subjecting either to the vagaries of partisan politics or election year talking points….” He also noted, without explicitly directing his comments at anyone in particular, that “there is a decent chance that the Obama-Biden administration will be around next November, so folks who are looking how to address these issues should probably factor that in as a reasonable possibility.”
Nice country you’ve got there. It’d be a shame if anything happened to it. How thoroughly charming.