Sanda's Place for Coffee and Voice
A funny, sarcastic, humorous and sometimes not quite, journey inside and out...............only first posts, not any more...........decided to publish the good work of others
Benjamin Netanyahu's address to Congress was notable in two
respects. Queen Esther got her first standing O in 2,500
years. And President Obama came up empty in his campaign to
pre-emptively undermine Netanyahu before the Israeli prime
minister could present his case on the Iran negotiations.
On the contrary. The
steady stream of slights and insults turned an irritant into
an international event and vastly increased the speech's
audience and reach. Instead of dramatically unveiling an
Iranian nuclear deal as a fait accompli, Obama must now
first defend his Iranian diplomacy.
argues The Washington Post, he must defend its fundamental
premise. It had been the policy of every president since
1979 that Islamist Iran must be sanctioned and contained.
Obama, however, is betting instead on detente to tame Iran's
aggressive behavior and nuclear ambitions.
For six years, Obama
has offered the mullahs an extended hand. He has imagined
that with Kissingerian brilliance he would turn the Khamenei
regime into a de facto U.S. ally in pacifying the Middle
East. For his pains, Obama has been rewarded with an Iran
that has ramped up its aggressiveness in Iraq, Syria,
Lebanon, Gaza and Yemen, and brazenly defied the world on
He did the same with
Russia. He offered Vladimir Putin a new detente. "Reset" he
called it. Putin responded by decimating his domestic
opposition, unleashing a vicious anti-American propaganda
campaign, ravaging Ukraine and shaking the post-Cold War
European order to its foundations.
Like the Bourbons,
however, Obama learns nothing. He persists in believing that
Iran's radical Islamist regime can be turned by sweet reason
and fine parchment into a force for stability. It's akin to
his refusal to face the true nature of the Islamic State,
Iran's Sunni counterpart. He simply can't believe that such
people actually believe what they say.
That's what made
Netanyahu's critique of the U.S.-Iran deal so powerful.
Especially his dissection of the sunset clause. In about 10
years, the deal expires. Sanctions are lifted and Iran is
permitted unlimited uranium enrichment with an unlimited
number of centrifuges of unlimited sophistication. As The
Wall Street Journal's Bret Stephens points out, we don't
even allow that for democratic South Korea.
The prime minister
offered a concrete alternative. Sunset? Yes, but only after
Iran changes its behavior, giving up its regional aggression
and worldwide support for terror.
suggestion was that such a modification -- plus a
significant reduction in Iran's current nuclear
infrastructure, which the Obama deal leaves intact -- could
produce a deal that "Israel and its [Arab] neighbors may not
like, but with which we could live, literally."
response was: "The prime minister didn't offer any viable
alternatives." But he just did: conditional sunset, smaller
infrastructure. And if the Iranians walk away, then you
ratchet up sanctions, as Congress is urging, which, with
collapsed oil prices, would render the regime extremely
And if that doesn't
work? Hence Netanyahu's final point: Israel is prepared to
stand alone, a declaration that was met with enthusiastic
applause reflecting widespread popular support.
It was an important
moment, especially because of the libel being perpetrated by
some that Netanyahu is trying to get America to go to war
with Iran. This is as malicious a calumny as Charles
Lindbergh's charge on Sep. 11, 1941, that "the three most
important groups who have been pressing this country toward
war are the British, the Jewish and the Roosevelt
In its near-70 year
history, Israel has never once asked America to fight for
it. Not in 1948 when 650,000 Jews faced 40 million Arabs.
Not in 1967 when Israel was being encircled and strangled by
three Arab armies. Not in 1973 when Israel was on the brink
of destruction. Not in the three Gaza wars or the two
Compare that to a
very partial list of nations for which America has fought
and for which so many Americans have fallen: Kuwait, Iraq,
Afghanistan, Somalia, Vietnam, Korea, and every West
European country beginning with France (twice).
Change the deal,
strengthen the sanctions, give Israel a free hand. Netanyahu
offered a different path in his clear, bold and often moving
address, Churchillian in its appeal to resist appeasement.
This was not Churchill of the 1940s, but Churchill of the
1930s, the wilderness prophet. Which is why for all its
sonorous strength, Netanyahu's speech had a terrible
poignancy. After all, Churchill was ignored.