In yet another attempt to have it both ways, President Obama warned Prime Minister Netanyahu not to disclose “secret” aspects of the nuclear negotiations with Iran – and then, after Netanyahu’s speech, opined that there was “nothing new” in it, and that no alternatives were offered. Apparently Obama missed the second half of Netanyahu’s speech, in which clear alternatives were addressed, as were the consequences of the exceptionally dangerous path the administration appears committed to.
There were alternatives presented. The alternatives occur on a number of levels, the most striking of which was what strong, unapologetic leadership in defense of national interests looks and sounds like.
Netanyahu is right. Iran cannot be trusted. With what we know of the negotiations, Iran will maintain the capability to develop nuclear weapons; the IAEA has not been allowed to fully inspect the program; the support of terrorism will continue unabated; and the “secret sites” are like a hit parade in violation of UN resolutions. Words and behavior for international consumption have never been a balanced equation for Iran. The imbalance occurs by design, in the context of the Iranians’ avowed belief that the West lacks the resolve to stop them. The evidence so far is that Iran is correct.
Netanyahu, toward the end of his remarks, recognized Elie Wiesel, a man of great depth, courage, and insight. Years ago I scribbled onto a piece of paper a quotation from Wiesel that still sits on my desk. Netanyahu may have considered this quote as he prepared his speech: “Pay more attention to the threats of enemies than the promises of friends.”
Wiesel also famously said, “When language fails, violence becomes a language.” We stand on the precipice of language failing, in the form of American appeasement of Iranian insistence on “rights” Iran has made up out of whole cloth. That violence will follow appeasement is all but assured. History attempts to teach us that lesson. Will history fail again?