WASHINGTON, September 24, 2012 — Likening Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu to “noise” may not be diplomatic language, but it is an apt description of the Israeli leader who has seen fit to interject himself into American politics.
For weeks now, in speeches and on Sunday talk shows Netanyahu has been jumping up and down, demanding a face-to-face meeting with the leader of the free world, President Obama, so he can push his agenda for America’s direct involvement in going after Iran. Even so, not all Israeli leaders, past and current, agree with Netanyahu’s aggressive tactics while visiting America.
So why is Bibi surprised when the President said, “Sorry, I’m busy. The Middle East in in flames. The American economy is sagging. Terrorists have killed our ambassador. I have a speech to give at the United Nations. And, oh yes, I am in the middle of a re-election campaign.”
So there will be no meeting between our close ally and our president during the special UN session. The schedules just don’t mesh, say the Obama people. In fact, Obama will not be meeting with any world leaders. He is New York to give his speech at the UN and then he’s back to his day job of being president. The rest of the leaders understand. No complains of being snubbed. Only Bibi is having a tantrum.
But what did Netanyahu think would happen? That he could come to our country and bully the President into doing what he wanted, using the American election as a wedge?
Netanyahu believes America must be ready to put boots on the ground to stop Iran from further development of its nuclear program. The U.S., which has already imposed heavy trade restrictions and has gotten the rest of the world to enforce them as well, believes the diplomatic approach with crippling sanctions is a better route than direct air strikes on Iran. Or at least at this time.
Bibi’s Way or No Way
“The world tells Israel ‘wait, there’s still time’. And I say, ‘Wait for what? Wait until when?’” Netanyahu said earlier, leading to his demand for a sit-down with the President and putting pressure on President Obama by making public their disagreement in strategy. It hasn’t worked.
Netanyahu continued, “Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel.” Them are fighting words, Bibi.
Yet the U.S. has drawn a line in the sand with Iran and it also knows the consequences of Israel — with or without the U.S. — going into Iran and taking out their nuclear facilities: a Middle East war without borders with the entire area becoming an inferno and the possible extinction of Israel. But the President will not let the Israeli prime minister dictate U.S. policy.
President Obama said he understands Israel’s concerns but does not feel pressured to play by their rules. “I have conversations with Prime Minister Netanyahu all the time,” the President told Steve Kroft during “60 Minutes” Sunday night. “And I understand and share Prime Minister Netanyahu’s insistence that Iran should not obtain a nuclear weapon, because it would threaten us, it would threaten Israel, and it would threaten the world and kick off a nuclear arms race.”
No Drama Obama
However, he added: “When it comes to our national security decisions — any pressure that I feel is simply to do what’s right for the American people. And I am going to block out —any noise that’s out there. Now I feel an obligation, not pressure but obligation, to make sure that we’re in close consultation with the Israelis — on these issues. Because it affects them deeply. They’re one of our closest allies in the region. And we’ve got an Iranian regime that has said horrible things that directly threaten Israel’s existence.”
What Benjamin Netanyahu has been asking Obama to do is to change America’s foreign policy and lower the threshold for war by shifting that “red line” to a nuclear capability. That vague term would clearly change America’s own definition of the line in the sand.
Having stomped around the United States demanding his way or else, Netanyahu, the good friend of Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney (who, of course, capitalized on this dissension, as any candidate worth his salt would), now finds himself being brushed aside by the U.S. President as so much “noise.” Certainly not what Netanyahu had in mind when he came thundering into the U.S.
But Netanyahu is learning the hard way. You don’t visit a host country and try to push the President of the United States around, thinking to use public pressure to get your way. If you play with the Big Dogs, Bibi, you are very apt to get bit in the butt. Hope you’ve had your tetanus shot.
For the record: Even the Senate supported President Obama’s policy of dealing with Iran, having passed the following resolution this week.
Iran Nuclear Threat - Vote Agreed to (90-1, 9 Not Voting)
This resolution from Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., would reaffirm U.S. opposition to the Iranian nuclear program and states that the current regime of diplomacy and sanctions must continue until Iran meets certain benchmarks. These benchmarks include suspension of uranium enrichment, compliance with United Nations Security Council resolutions and full cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN’s nuclear watchdog. The resolution pointedly states that none of its language constitutes an authorization for the use of force. Rand Paul was the lone “nay” vote.
To contact Catherine Poe, see above. Her work appears in Ad Lib at the Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. She can also be heard on Democrats for America’s Future. She is also a contributor to broadcast, print and online media.
This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.