Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Friend in Need


Anyone else think that Binyamin Netanyahu's harsh criticism of the Obama administration's Iran policy is timed to give the flagging Romney campaign a pick-up? According to the New York Times, the Israeli Prime Minister, an inveterate and unapologetic hawk, who's been at cross purposes with Obama pretty much since 2008, said:

Addressing reporters here in Jerusalem on Tuesday, Mr. Netanyahu unequivocally rejected those comments and slapped back at the United States. Speaking in English, he said, “The world tells Israel: ‘Wait, there’s still time.’ And I say, ‘Wait for what? Wait until when?’ Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel.” In his remarks, made at a joint news conference with the visiting prime minister of Bulgaria, Boyko Borisov, Mr. Netanyahu also said: “Now if Iran knows that there is no red line, if Iran knows that there is no deadline, what will it do? Exactly what it’s doing. It’s continuing, without any interference, toward obtaining nuclear weapons capability and from there, nuclear bombs.”

Netanyahu has made no secret of who he would like to be the next US President. Romney has been reeling on multiple fronts - failed convention, falling poll standings, an avalanche of criticism on his foreign policy mis-steps  including an unforced and unforgivable error in omitting to mention the troops fighting and dying in Afghanistan in his convention keynote. With his criticism of the Obama administration's approach towards Iran, probably unprecedented in its public and pointed nature, Netanyahu just opened up a new foreign policy front for his man in the game. I will wager that this will not be the last time Netanyahu intervenes in the US elections to advance his right-wing agenda. His statement will doubtless seize the next news cycle (and change the topic from how badly Romney is losing) and he just opened a barrage of attack ads that will describe Obama as weak-kneed, weak-on-Israel and dangerous for America. I'm waiting for one that juxtaposes an Ayatollah with a mushroom cloud. I might even hold my breath for it.

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