While real sanctions are necessary to exploit this moment, they are not sufficient. We also need to keep alive the prospect that Israel could do something crazy. I don’t favor Israeli military action against Iran and hope we’re telling Israel that privately. But I do believe that U.S. officials, particularly the secretary of defense, Robert Gates, need to stop saying that publicly. Gates is a smart power player. He knows better. If any U.S. official is asked for an opinion on whether Israel should be allowed to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities, there is only one right answer: Refer them to former Vice President Dick Cheney’s 2005 comment that Israel “might well decide to act first” to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, and say nothing else. Why should we reassure Iran?
I have no idea but Friedman's column does precisely that. Soon, he will be praising Brzezinski's call to down Israeli planes if they try to bomb the Iranian nuclear facilities.
As for supporting the Iranian people, forget it. The Iranian people, like the Israelis and East Europeans, expect nothing of this administration though their diaspora has succeeded in limiting the amount of respect Obama and his fellow appeasers show Mr. Ahmadinejad and"Supreme leader" Khamenei. They were unsuccessful in getting him to say a word about his brutal treatment of their Iranian brethren. Obama assured tyrants that democracy cannot be exported. Hence, they can gun down their own helpless people secure in the knowledge that Obama's American will do nothing to stop them. They will not even complain.
As for grateful Russians supporting serious economic sanctions against Iran in return for throwing Czechs and Poles to the bear, Friedman must be kidding.
I keep hoping that Friedman's kow towing is just trying to retain some influence with the Obama administration but the evidence keeps shrinking along with American power. More and more, I fear he is too scared to look reality in the face in the manner his fellow foreign policy pundit Mark Halpern dares:
Last fall, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad set three conditions for the U.S.: withdrawal from Iraq, a show of respect for Iran (read"apology"), and taking the nuclear question off the table.
We are now faithfully complying, and last week, after Iran foreclosed discussion of its nuclear program and Mojtaba Samareh Hashemi, Mr. Ahmadinejad's chief political adviser, predicted"the defeat and collapse" of Western democracy, the U.S. agreed to enter talks the premise of which, incredibly, is to eliminate American nuclear weapons. Even the zombified press awoke for long enough to harry State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley, who replied that, as Iran was willing to talk,"We are going to test that proposition, OK?"
Not OK. When Neville Chamberlain returned from Munich at least he thought he had obtained something in return for his appeasement. The new American diplomacy is nothing more than a sentimental flood of unilateral concessions—not least, after some minor Putinesque sabre rattling, to Russia. . . .
Last week, the Iranian president and the Russian prime minister put Mr. Obama to the test, and he blinked not once but twice. The price of such infirmity has always proven immensely high, even if, as is the custom these days, the bill has yet to come.
The trouble is that our system, unlike the British one, does not permit us to replace our Chamberlain with a Churchill and our enemies from Iran to North Korea and their patrons from Moscow to Beijing, understand that as well if not better than many of us.