In the face of gathering dangers.
Apr 19, 2010, Vol. 15, No. 29 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
Friday, April 9 was a day of resignation. Justice John Paul Stevens announced he was resigning from the Supreme Court at the end of this term. Representative Bart Stupak said he wasn’t running for reelection to the House of Representatives. And President Barack Obama made it clear he’s resigned to a nuclear Iran.
Appearing on ABC’s Good Morning America, Obama told George Stephanopoulos:
You try to do your thing with your buddies in the international community, and, you know, sometimes people choose to change behavior, sometimes they don’t.
In the case of North Korea, they didn’t. After years of “international pressure,” after countless multiparty meetings producing endless hectoring statements and plaintive pleas, with carrots proffered and sticks brandished by our State Department in bewildering succession, here’s the end of the story: North Korea has nuclear weapons. Now Obama is telling us that he intends to deal with Iran as we dealt with North Korea. So, as the Iranians follow in the footsteps of the North Koreans and move ahead to get nukes, we’re going to do nothing about it.
Jonathan Tobin summarized the situation on Commentary’s website:
Sure enough, within hours the Iranian regime was forging ahead. The same day as Obama appeared on Good Morning America, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke at a ceremony in Tehran marking the Fourth National Anniversary of Nuclear Technology Day. He unveiled an improved centrifuge which would enrich uranium faster and taunted the United States for its failure to halt Iran’s nuclear program. “Iran’s nuclear path is irreversible,” Ahmadinejad said. “The Iranian nation has reached a new point where no power can deter it from moving full speed ahead to reach peaceful nuclear energy.”
Not to worry. In Washington, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley wasn’t fooled. After deploring Iranian “chest-thumping,” he pointed out that a peaceful nuclear program would have no need for faster centrifuges. So, he said, “We have to conclude that Iran has nefarious intentions with its nuclear program.” Savvy conclusion!
What’s more, Crowley explained, the Iranian regime is going to get its comeuppance: “That’s expressly why we continue to work with the international community on additional measures, sanctions, to show Iran that there is a consequence for its failure to meet its obligations.”
But the finger-wagging of the international community won’t stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons. The non-chest-thumping Obama administration, it is increasingly clear, is not going to stop Iran either. The only country that may not be resigned to a nuclear Iran is Israel. Its government, at least, disdains resignation to the fact that nefarious regimes sometimes choose to change behavior, but, gee, sometimes they don’t. After all, this worldly attitude didn’t work out too well for the Jewish people—or the rest of us—in the last century.
The Obama administration knows that Israel is weighing military action against Iran. This accounts at least in part for the administration’s turn against Israel in recent weeks—its attempt to further isolate the Jewish state in order to put pressure on it not to act.
So we are pressuring our ally, rather than acting to stop our enemy.
Liz Cheney had it right, speaking in New Orleans the same day Obama chatted with George Stephanopoulos: