On Sunday President Obama seemingly (and unnecessarily) committed US troops to a war with Iran. His statement “wiggle room,” a mistake an amateur would make. Today he took one giant step backwards from that over-zealous commitment making himself look like a wavering fool, totally void of any backbone.
As Barack Obama approached the podium at the AIPAC convention two days ago, Israel was not looking for the US to get involved in any attack, just to stay out of the way. On the other hand Obama had to balance is desire for an Israeli guarantee to wait for the severe sanctions to work (but they don’t even start for three months), and his political need to reverse the bad feeling in the Jewish community generated by three years of his administration’s anti-Israel policy.
The President overshot his mark, instead simply looking supportive of Israel, he made the commitment to use force to prevent Iran from attaining nuclear weapons.
… just as they should not doubt Israel’s sovereign right to make its own decisions about what is required to meet its security needs. I have said that when it comes to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, I will take no options off the table, and I mean what I say. That includes all elements of American power. A political effort aimed at isolating Iran; a diplomatic effort to sustain our coalition and ensure that the Iranian program is monitored; an economic effort to impose crippling sanctions; and, yes, a military effort to be prepared for any contingency. Iran’s leaders should know that I do not have a policy of containment; I have a policy to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. And as I’ve made clear time and again during the course of my presidency, I will not hesitate to use force when it is necessary to defend the United States and its interests.
What he should have said is all options are on the table and left it at that, but trying to look strong he guaranteed that should the US feel an Iranian nuclear bomb was imminent it would not only green-light an Israel attack but would commit the American Military to participate in the action. This commitment was made in front of the entire international community, any step back would make him look like a fool who had no understanding of the power of his words. And not just to AIPAC but to Iran and the rest of the international community. It was not a commitment easily walked back.
Based on his press conference today, “fool” was the look our president was going for as he back-tracked from his Sunday remarks. He started taking a partisan tone, bashing the GOP for their AIPAC speeches. This was despite what he said on Sunday:
That is why America’s commitment to Israel has endured under Democratic and Republican Presidents, and congressional leaders of both parties. In the United States, our support for Israel is bipartisan, and that is how it should stay.
Then when pressed by Jake Tapper of ABC News the President took a step backwards from his Sunday declaration:
TAPPER: You might not be beating the drums of war, but you did very publicly say, we’ve got Israel’s back. What does that mean?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: What it means is is that historically we have always cooperated with Israel with respect to the defense of Israel, just like we do with a whole range of other allies, just like we do with Great Britain, just like we do with Japan. And that broad statement, I think, is confirmed when you look at what we’ve done over the last three years on things like Iron Dome that prevents missiles from raining down on their small towns along border regions of Israel that potentially land on schools or children or families. And we’re going to continue that unprecedented security — security commitment.
It was not a military doctrine that we were laying out for any particular military action. It was a restatement of our consistent position that the security of Israel is something I deeply care about and that the deeds of my administration over the last three years confirms how deeply we care about it. That’s a commitment we’ve made.
In other words… remember what I said 48 hours ago? Fuhgetaboutit! On one hand the President’s Sunday statement was amateurish and the fact that he didn’t mean it may be a good thing. On the other hand on Sunday he roared, today he stepped back making both himself and the United States look confused, weak and foolish.
Once again Barack Obama has lowered America’s standing in the eyes of the world. Every time he looks weak, he makes Iran more confident in its nuclear weapons strategy. Every time he looks weak he makes this country a more enticing target for terrorism.
Maybe its AIPAC’s fault. Obama has spoken to AIPAC three times in the past four years. His first appearance was marred by making a statement about not dividing Jerusalem, then having to walk it back a few days later. Last year he used AIPAC to try to smooth over tossing Israel under the bus in a speech made just two days earlier. This year again he walked back statements made at the AIPAC convention.
It is obvious based on the trend that the Barack Obama running for office (2008 and 2012) will say just about anything to get the Jewish vote. When he is unencumbered by a need for Jewish votes the real Obama shows up.
In the end, Obama looked foolish with today’s walk-back but if American Jews fail to see through his election year act, it is the Jews, not Obama who will be the fools.