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In an eyebrow-raising move ahead of his address to AIPAC and meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu next week, President Obama told The Atlantic Friday that the American military threat against Iran is not a bluff. He may be telling the truth.
For, if Obama is anything, he is a brilliant politician. Therefore, it is not outside the realm of possibilities that he orders the American military to strike Iranian nuclear facilities before the election. Why not? It’s good policy, and it’s even better politics.
Consider: With regard to the anti-war left, it is likely activists would put up a small fuss for a couple weeks, but nothing more, as Obama could justify the attack to them as preventing a second holocaust, and by pointing out that no occupation would be taking place.
More importantly, one of the repeated criticisms of the president — and rightfully so — has been that he is not a stalwart friend of Israel. Republicans, and even Democrats such as Alan Dershowitz, have been very critical of Obama’s dealings with Israel and the Palestinians, and as a result his support in the Jewish community has suffered. However, could you imagine how quickly a strike on Iran would alter this narrative? Much of the Jewish community may very well rally around the president, and he would stand to cement at least 80% of their vote, as he did in 2008, improving his chances for victory in the key battle-state of Florida. Obama would be hailed as pro-Israel for subduing this existential threat against the Jewish state.
You think Obama doesn’t know this?
If the economy takes another dip, and Obama’s poll numbers decrease as the election draws near, an American strike on Iran may become increasingly more likely. The economy would take a back seat, and best of all for him, the Republicans would have no choice but to praise the president for taking this bold step to defend America and our ally, Israel. Even if the economy began to rebound, a strike on Iran would make sense politically for Obama, as it would remove foreign policy criticism from the Republican playbook.
With the Republican nominees for president harping on Obama’s weakness with Iran for several months now, an American strike on Iran may be politically advantageous. Mitt Romney, who recently declared that “if we re-elect Barack Obama, Iran will get nuclear weapons” but “if you elect me as president, Iran will not have a nuclear weapon,” would have a major talking point taken away from him. Likewise for Newt Gingrich, who has said that “Obama is the most dangerous President in modern American history” with regard to foreign policy, and that “he is incapable of defending the United States.”
If Obama were to strike Iran, any debate about him being a weak foreign policy president would immediately be quieted. He would enter the presidential debates with a firm foreign policy record and as a defender of America, with the Republican nominee looking sheepish and out-of-touch in his criticism.
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