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Proponents of the US president will invariably come to Obama’s defense by attributing his conflicting policies to the “vast differences” between the situations in Syria and Iran. This expansive chasm, they will claim, accounts for Obama’s divergent approaches, which will even be portrayed as a testament to his wisdom.
A strike on Tehran will rally Iranians behind the regime; military action will merely delay the Mullahs’ nuclear program but not destroy it; the cost of oil will skyrocket in the case of an attack, leading to a severe global financial crisis the effects of which will be worse than a nuclear-armed Iran.
Obama supporters will find a myriad of reasons to explain away the contradiction.
Fundamentally, though, the issue in both crises is one and the same: The imperative of preventing tyrants from causing devastation with weapons of mass destruction.
That stopping Iran from going nuclear may be more complicated and possibly have graver consequences does not alter this basic reality; it simply makes taking the necessary action more difficult. This seemingly is the true reason underlying Obama’s refusal to draw clear “red lines” on Iran—he does not want to commit himself to doing the correct, albeit hard, thing.
This is why PM Netanyahu’s appeals to the US have all been rebuked.
It is why it is time for a new Israeli strategy.
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