Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Shavit - The world should focus on Obama, not Netanyahu

Ari Shavit..
24 May '12..

President Barack Obama is a cool-headed leader. For the past 40 months he has known that history will judge him by his actions and failures vis-a-vis Iran. If he blocks the Iranian nuclear program, he will become a national hero like John F. Kennedy after the Cuban missile crisis. If he doesn't, he will become a grotesque figure.

And yet, the man sitting in the Oval Office is ignoring the possibility that his inaction will make the Middle East go nuclear and undermine the world order. He doesn't care that he might be responsible for losing the United States' superpower status and turning the 21st century into a century of nuclear chaos.

The dispassionate man from Chicago is proving every day what rare stuff he's made of. The president sees how the Iranians mock him - and does nothing. He sees radical Islam approaching the nuclear brink - and does not budge. With amazing courage Barack Obama watches the tsunami rolling toward America's shores - and smiles.

President Obama is an intrepid leader. For a year the man seeking a second term in the White House has known that a conflagration in the Middle East could determine the 2012 election campaign.

He is aware that due to an amazing coincidence, the technological, operative and strategic timetables are converging toward the end of this year. The president hears Israel telling him loud and clear that if the United States does not defuse the ticking bomb this summer, the Israel Air Force will have to do it. The president hears his best experts telling him loud and clear that the situation is very serious and Israel is very serious, so this summer is the summer of truth. And yet, the steely president is not batting an eye.

He is staging a deceptive show of a deal with the Iranians, which will seem to dull the Natanz threat. He is trying to make a fool of Jerusalem as Tehran is making a fool of him. The president is pushing Israel into a corner, but is hoping that Israel will accept its fate submissively. He is counting on Benjamin Netanyahu not to surprise him and ruin his election season. Never has the United States had such a gambler for a president.

President Obama is a thrifty president. America isn't what it used to be, but it still has vast strategic, economic and military resources. The United States can stop the Iranian nuclear program by using a small part of these resources.

But the extremely thrifty commander-in-chief is not prepared to pay any price for stopping the 8,000 Shi'ite centrifuges. That's why Obama didn't stand by the Iranian Spring of 2009 as he stood by the Arab Spring of 2011. That's why Obama didn't act firmly against the underground facility near Qom, which was discovered three years ago. That's why Obama has not touched, to this day, Iran's central bank, nor has he stopped the flow of oil distillates to the country's ports.

The cautious president sees not the catastrophic price the West will pay for Iran's nuclearization, but the political price he will pay if oil prices rise. Never in its history has the United States had such a thrifty leader as its 44th president.

The international community and international public opinion are preoccupied with King Netanyahu these days - will he or won't he attack? But instead of focusing on a statesman who isn't supposed to save the world from Iran's nuclear program, it would be better to focus on the leader whose historic role is just that. In the past 40 months Barack Obama has been betraying his office. Will he wake up in the next four months, come to his senses and change his ways?

Link: http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/the-world-should-focus-on-obama-not-netanyahu.premium-1.432287

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