President Obama urged Israel and its most ardent American supporters Sunday to refrain from bellicose rhetoric toward Iran and to allow time for stiff economic sanctions to work against the Islamic republic’s nuclear ambitions.
As threats of an Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear program increase, Obama argued that a military operation now would only strengthen Iran’s fragile diplomatic position and would fail to end its uranium enrichment program permanently.
Acknowledging that Iran’s clerical leadership may not respond to economic pressure, Obama assured the large audience of concerned Israeli supporters that he is willing to use “all elements of American power” to prevent the Islamic republic from developing a nuclear weapon. But, he said, diplomacy must first be allowed to run its course.
“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,” Obama told the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, a powerful lobbying group. “Now is the time to let our increased pressure sink in, and to sustain the broad international coalition that we have built.”
Obama’s public argument for patience stands as a likely preview of the message he will deliver privately Monday when he meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House.
It’s good to hear him talking about diplomacy with Iran and attempting to steer the conversation away from war, but we’ve seen how talk falls flat when it comes to Israel on more than one occasion. So, when push comes to shove how much do these words mean? Is he going to stand by this stance? Can he? Israel is on a warpath and Congress seems ready to follow. In that situation President Obama will have little choice, but to be dragged into another war.
For change to occur, our leaders must understand that there is not only strength in compromise, courage in conciliation and honor in consensus-building — but also a political reward for following these tenets. That reward will be real only if the people demonstrate their desire for politicians to come together after the planks in their respective party platforms do not prevail.
I certainly don’t have all the answers, and reversing the corrosive trend of winner-take-all politics will take time. But as I enter a new chapter in my life, I see a critical need to engender public support for the political center, for our democracy to flourish and to find solutions that unite rather than divide us.
I do not believe that, in the near term, the Senate can correct itself from within. It is by nature a political entity and, therefore, there must be a benefit to working across the aisle.
But whenever Americans have set our minds to tackling enormous problems, we have met with tremendous success. And I am convinced that, if the people of our nation raise their collective voices, we can effect a renewal of the art of legislating — and restore the luster of a Senate that still has the potential of achieving monumental solutions to our nation’s most urgent challenges. I look forward to helping the country raise those voices to support the Senate returning to its deserved status and stature — but from outside the institution.
And she’s not even talking about the House.
What they are working on this year is Government that prohibits you from using contraception, that forcibly collects your urine, hair and blood, and that puts you in prison or deports you if it does not like the speeches you attend. This stuff is happening all over, all the time now. This is what Conservative Government is like this year. It sort of seems to me that this ought to be a bigger National Story.”
~ Rachel Maddow