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President Obama Speaks on the Iran situation


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#1 QueenTiye

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 05:41 PM

http://www.theatlant...t-bluff/253875/

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In the most extensive interview he has given about the looming Iran crisis, Obama told me earlier this week that both Iran and Israel should take seriously the possibility of American action against Iran's nuclear facilities. "I think that the Israeli government recognizes that, as president of the United States, I don't bluff." He went on, "I also don't, as a matter of sound policy, go around advertising exactly what our intentions are. But I think both the Iranian and the Israeli governments recognize that when the United States says it is unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon, we mean what we say."

Jeffrey Goldberg was a good choice for the President - staunchly pro-Israel, and at the same time, really not fond of Israel's current policies, Goldberg is a journalist with interest in holding the President accountable on this issue, and yet, with opinions that jive with the President's overall posture. It is a very good interview.

Citing the article, Andrew Sullivan (Goldberg's former colleague) writes:
http://andrewsulliva...ma-on-iran.html

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And the message Obama is sending is well delivered via Jeffrey. Very few journalists want this issue resolved to America's and Israel's advantage more than Goldblog. You can see the strain in his prose as these two countries' core interests have seemed to collide (in fact, have collided). And so Obama tells Jeffrey exactly what he wants to hear and exactly what Obama wants the Israelis to hear: that he has always been a staunch defender of Israel, has delivered on every promise and more, has orchestrated the most successful isolation of Iran since 1979, and delivered the most punishing sanctions in history. There is also no mention of the Palestinian question in the interview, which itself is revealing. Netanyahu has won on that question - until an Obama second term (which is why he and his neocon allies are doing all they can to defeat Obama this fall).

Both articles are worth reading - but especially the interview.

QT

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#2 QueenTiye

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 05:47 PM

And since I found this, here is a rebuttal from the opposition: http://www.huffingto..._n_1316160.html

I won't say much other than that I find the idea that anyone would tell American citizens to defer to a foreign power rather than their own elected President, deeply offensive.

QT

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#3 psycaz

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 07:34 PM

But the US is wanting the Israelis to do the exact same thing. The US is not the one in the crosshairs of the nukes if Iran gets them, Isreal is.

I don't condone going to war, but the Iranians have come out and stated they plan to wipe Isreal off the map. What does anyone expect Isreal to do?

#4 QueenTiye

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 07:43 PM

Have you read the article?

QT

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#5 psycaz

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 08:54 PM

The opposing one yes.

#6 QueenTiye

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 08:59 PM

Ah. Well, the focus of the thread, and the meat of potential discussion is in the interview, including stuff to discuss regarding your question: what is Israel supposed to do?

Highly recommended.

QT

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#7 psycaz

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 09:25 PM

I was replying to your comment about the opposing reply.

As to the original post/interview, I almost find it funny really.
Several parts of it sound like Bush, not Obama.

Sponsoring terrorists, WMDs. Really does sound like the rhetoric that we all heard before with Iraq.

I freely acknowledge that Iran is a threat, but then again, some considered Iraq a threat too. Hussein did use WMDs against his own people.

It just strike me strange for some reason that for the same reason we invaded Iraq and the ensuing disaster, we are now staring the same scenario in the face with Iran.

The threat is more extreme with nukes, but the corollary between the way the two began is astounding to me.

#8 QueenTiye

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 11:19 PM

Indeed, but of course, I appreciate that President Obama is trying to prevent the need for war. And I respect the nonproliferation angle.

QT

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#9 psycaz

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 11:28 PM

But are you really preventing the need for war with the actions that have been taken or would it have been better to destroy the installation as the Isrealis did the last time they found themselves in a similar situation?

I honestly think they are only delaying the war. Wait too long and they may get to the point they won't be able to do anything. Once they acquire all the components in the necessary quantities, the point of needing to assembleight be too late.

#10 QueenTiye

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 12:28 AM

Well, I think that the idea of convincing Iran that it is in their best interests to abandon their nuclear weapons program is a good way to go, and I think that it makes sense to let the situation in Syria play out before jumping the gun with Iran, and I think that there is indeed a risk of solidifying Iran's power by acting preemptively against them.

QT

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#11 DarthMarley

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 09:02 AM

Syria matters in a few important ways.
It is the crossroads for vast terrorist arms networks.
It does no good for Syria to fall to Ikwhan types like Libya and Tunisia, and Egypt.

One version of the effort to dent credit for bin Laden's execution goes "Obama killed Osama like Nixon walked on the moon."
I give credit for making decisions against a big part of his electoral base. Things look different when you sit in the big chair, I suppose.

Obama is not pro-Israel though.
America is generally, but not Obama.
I see much of this media push as election year damage control.
"It is not who is right, but what is right that is of importance."

#12 QueenTiye

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 10:30 AM

Okay I totally disagree, but why do you say President Obama is not pro-Israel?

QT

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#13 Balderdash

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 11:43 AM

^^^

I totally disagree too.

From the first article:

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The president was most animated when talking about the chaotic arms race he fears would break out if Iran acquired a nuclear weapon, and he seemed most frustrated when talking about what he sees as a deliberate campaign by Republicans to convince American Jews that he is anti-Israel. "Every single commitment I have made to the state of Israel and its security, I have kept," he told me. "Why is it that despite me never failing to support Israel on every single problem that they've had over the last three years, that there are still questions about that?"

The term pro-Israel is a fairly fluid term and right now I think the term is being used in the run up to an election year to try and influence Jewish voters, much like the article says.

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#14 BklnScott

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 12:00 PM

Polls indicate that the vast majority of Israelis do not favor attacking Iran unilaterally.  A clear majority is against attacking Iran even with backing from the US.  

http://www.jta.org/n...-iran-as-threat

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#15 DarthMarley

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 01:18 PM

If the Iranian A-Bomb is an "existential threat" then polls about what the Israeli populace support doesn't matter as much as making the correct decision.

Some reports from Israelis with deep military connections opposes a unilateral attack because they don't really have the resources to make it effective enough, and be able to defend the war that likely hits them from all sides after such an attack.
There are good reasons to oppose such military actions apart from anti-Israeli sentiment, or general aversion to military conflict.

As for Obama being apparently biased against Israel, we have the sum total of his positions when he isn't trying to blunt GOP tracking among American Jews. No HufPo piece can erase that from memory.

http://www.haaretz.c...pointees-1.2773

http://online.wsj.co...2934894494.html

http://frontpagemag....-out-continues/

http://campaign2012....israel-policies
"It is not who is right, but what is right that is of importance."

#16 QueenTiye

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 04:13 PM

His position has been, always, 2 state solution with 1967 borders as starting point for negotiations.  And if 3 years of actual deeds don't count, nothing will.

Finally, the central piece of this thread is not a HuffPo piece, bur an actual interview with the Atlantic.   Interview conducted by pro-Israel journalist Jeffrey Goldberg.

QT

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#17 offworlder

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 04:21 PM

I would hope that Peres can have a calming influence but then I do believe that nothing of Israel can
have any influence upon this Iran leadership- I think those Iranian people are in trouble as long as they
don't find some way to defeat the ayatolahs and their Ahmad guy. There just doesn't seem to be any
talking with those guys, they only spout their rhetoric and don't listen to anyone.


http://news.yahoo.co...-223311818.html

Peres meets Barack Sunday- even though the government with Benjamin run things, 'the pres' can have influence,
a wise experienced guy in the office of clout and prestige.
'OK guys listen to the voice of wisdom'

And yes it's important that USA and Israel along with other players too stay together on this
Iran stuff.
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#18 DarthMarley

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 07:11 PM

If over the last three years Obama's position was "Hey, quit targeting the Israelis or you will get killed" then I would take him seriously.

Edited by DarthMarley, 04 March 2012 - 12:35 AM.

"It is not who is right, but what is right that is of importance."

#19 BklnScott

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 10:21 PM

View PostDarthMarley, on 03 March 2012 - 01:18 PM, said:

If the Iranian A-Bomb is an "existential threat" then polls about what the Israeli populace support doesn't matter as much as making the correct decision.

Some reports from Israelis with deep military connections opposes a unilateral attack because they don't really have the resources to make it effective enough, and be able to defend the war that likely hits them from all sides after such an attack.
There are good reasons to oppose such military actions apart from anti-Israeli sentiment, or general aversion to military conflict.

I agree that it's more important to do the right thing than the popular thing vis-a-vis Iran, as the drumbeat to go to war may over the next few months may make that a particularly popular option despite the fact that war is highly unlikely to solve the problem.

I'm sure I posted the link to this excellent article that appeared recently in the New York Times magazine, but can't remember if you and I actually discussed it: http://www.nytimes.c...agewanted=all  

The piece contains a good rundown of all the pro/con on this, and includes a fascinating peek inside the highest precincts of the Israeli defense and intelligence apparatuses, where many more people than you'd think from listening to Netanyahu and Peres seem vehemently opposed to the idea.  Not because they're doves, obviously, but because as you say, there are some very, very good reasons to oppose it.  

For one thing, the consensus seems to be that even the most successful, sustained attacks -- using the infamous American 30,000lb bunker buster bombs -- would only delay, not prevent, Iran from building a nuclear weapon.

Which means that everyone involved knows it's not a question of if, but when.  

Iran will eventually get the bomb, and that's a fact.  

It's a depressing thought, but there we are.  If we attack, they may be delayed a few more years, but as the Times piece makes clear, even that conclusion may represent wishful thinking.  Because of the diffuse nature of the Iranian nuclear sites, some experts believe that even in success the setback may be only months, not years.

So let's soberly contemplate a nuclear Iran for a minute here.  

Would a nuclear Iran really be an existential threat to the US?  Answer: no.  At least not in the traditional sense, as they don't have the ballistic missile technology to deliver a warhead to North America, and won't have it for decades.  And hold on, I'll talk terrorism and proliferation down below, but first: is an Iranian nuke an existential threat to Israel?  Sure, yes, but -- and this is a critical "but" -- no more than Soviet nukes were an existential threat to the United States and Western Europe.  

Yet we survived the Cold War.

Why?  

Because the doctrine of nuclear deterrence works.  Mutually assured destruction is an incredibly powerful incentive to behave rationally, and just as it applied to the Soviets at the height of the Cold War, just as it applies to Pakistan in its relations with India *and* the US, it will apply to a nuclear armed Iran.

Even if we're talking about the possibility of an Iranian nuke ending up in the hands of a terrorist organization -- a threat Obama called "profound" this week -- we should remember that nukes leave footprints, so if (god forbid) an Iranian nuke went off anywhere in the world, it could and would be conclusively tied back to Iran, prompting nuclear retaliation.  So again, I would think that mutually assured destruction applies.  The mullahs are extremists, no doubt, but they're not crazy enough to think they can get away with nuking Israel, the US or any other country on Earth without getting themselves wiped off the map, and that sort of defeats the purpose.  (Indeed, I'm far more worried about Pakistani nukes ending up in the hands of terrorists who don't give a sh*t if we nuke Islamabad in retaliation.  Pakistan is basically a failed state with vast territories effectively beyond the control of the central government and more importantly, the military, while Iran at least has a highly developed security apparatus and firm grip on everything that happens in its borders.  A nuclear Iran would be able to prevent its nukes from falling into the hands of anyone it doesn't give them to -- and again, they're not likely to give them to anyone, even surrogate terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah, because usage would be tied back to Tehran.)

So do the cost/benefit analysis: at a time when Iran's government is subject to vigorous sanctions that will take their toll (and indeed, already are)... At a time when Iran's government is isolated with no sympathy from anyone in the global community, and is even detested by the vast majority of its own people who are itching to rise up and overthrow them, should we take military action that will upend all of that, create sympathy for the mullahs, weaken and perhaps break the sanctions, et al, just to delay them by a few years, and perhaps only a few months?  

It seems counter-productive when we could play it cool, give the sanctions time to really squeeze them, and see what opportunities that presents... while continuing to take the sort of covert actions we and Israel have been taking, e.g., deploying stuxnet, which has been more successful in delaying them than anything else.  

It's a sh*tty situation, no question, but I feel like we should all be able to agree that war doesn't get us across the finish line -- preventing Iran from getting the bomb -- so we should keep searching for something that does while preparing for what might be inevitable and understanding that a nuclear Iran is no more doomsday for Israel or the West than a nuclear Soviet Union was, or a nuclear Pakistan is.

Edited by BklnScott, 03 March 2012 - 10:34 PM.

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#20 DarthMarley

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 12:48 AM

I have heard the "Iran is not suicidal" theory for years.
But I don't think we can expect rational choices from a nation whose culture, religion, and state calls for the execution of homosexuals and apostates.

I doubt that a "nuclear footprint" can really be used in CSI mode to blame Iran, and assure their destruction in a retaliatory attack.

And paint the mullahcracy in the same light as you would if an apocalyptic evangelical Christian held power here, and was beating the war drums.
Rational minds will worry that such people believe what they say they believe, and are not subject as much to rational leverage.
If a theocrat genuinely believes that by nuking Israel, they immanentize the eschaton, what rational leverage would keep them from doing so? Why would they want to simply cling to power when they can be agents of god?

The big difference in my preferred leadership style is not an accommodating apologizer meekly trying to convince some domestic and foreign audience that he "doesn't bluff" but instead someone who is so intimidating they don't need to remind people he isn't bluffing.
"It is not who is right, but what is right that is of importance."




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