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In fact, talk of a military option doesn’t seem to cow Ahmadinejad either. According to one European diplomat, such talk “hasn’t moved in any way the Iranian regime.” Of course, why should it when there are no visible signs that anyone in the West takes the military option seriously?
There is growing concern that the course being chartered by the Obama administration — a seemingly endless series of toothless sanctions — is itself an acceptance of a nuclear Iran as a fait accompli.
If this is indeed the route the administration is taking, a warning was surely shot across the Obama administration’s bow recently by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Addressing the Halifax International Forum in Nova Scotia, Canada, Graham told attendees that if Obama “decides to be tough with Iran beyond sanctions…he is going to feel a lot of Republican support for the idea that we cannot let Iran develop a nuclear weapon… Containment is off the table.”
Graham further anted-up his rhetoric by advocating not only that the U.S. destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities, but also that we “sink their navy, destroy their air force and deliver a decisive blow to the Revolutionary Guard, in other words neuter that regime.”
These comments by Graham provoked an immediate response from Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, who said, “Don’t take the American senator’s remark too seriously. He wanted to joke.”
If Mottaki thinks Graham is speaking for general amusement, he may want to confer with David Broder, dean of liberal political opinion, who recently opined that Obama could extricate himself from his current political woes and earn a second term by following Graham’s advice. In a recent column, Broder wrote:
Here is where Obama is likely to prevail. With strong Republican support in Congress for challenging Iran’s ambition to become a nuclear power, he can spend much of 2011 and 2012 orchestrating a showdown with the mullahs. This will help him politically because the opposition party will be urging him on. And as tensions rise and we accelerate preparations for war, the economy will improve.
Now, perhaps Graham’s desire to lay waste to Iran’s military is not indicative of the prevailing mood of the American electorate. After all, polls continued to show throughout the election season that Americans were singularly focused on domestic issues, to the near exclusion of foreign affairs.
However, the American preoccupation with its domestic ailments will not prevent other nations from confronting the immediate danger of a nuclear Iran. In particular, despite a long adherence toward patience, most Israelis believe their very existence is now at stake.
Binyamin Netanyahu’s comments to Joe Biden are both a public reminder of that view and a subtle hint that if Israel cannot rely on help from the United States to defang Iran, the Jewish State won’t shrink from the task.
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