Yahoo asked Americans to respond to Barack Obama’s address to the United Nations on Tuesday and pinpoint one specific international issue they’d like the country to focus on. Here are one reader’s thoughts.
COMMENTARY | In a typically meandering and self absorbed address to the United Nations General Assembly, President Barack Obama opened his mind about three vexing issues from the Middle East, Syria, Iran, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
The result, while illuminating, was alarming.
After boasting of his own tattered foreign policy record, in which he actually claimed that the world was “more stable” than it was five years ago, he laid out his preference for a “diplomatic solution” to the Syrian Civil War, stating “I do not believe that military action – by those within Syria, or by external powers – can achieve a lasting peace.” This was weeks after he had threatened military action against that country for its use of chemical weapons.”
On Iran, Obama suggested a moral equivalency between the two countries, He foreswore any aspiration for a change of regime from a tyrannical theocracy to democracy. He insisted that Iran in return foreswear nuclear weapons, but made no mention of any consequences if that country insisted on acquiring them. The president stated, “We are encouraged that President Rouhani received from the Iranian people a mandate to pursue a more moderate course.” Obama is determined on a diplomatic course, even while Iran continues its drive for nuclear weapons.
Of all of the foreign policy issues facing the United States, the prospect of a nuclear Iran is the most dangerous. Iran is perfectly capable of stringing out negotiations until it acquires a nuclear weapon, placing the entire world, including incidentally this writer, at risk of being victims of nuclear terrorism. Obama, if he insists on talking to the Mullahs, must issue the threat that Iran must immediately end its nuclear weapons program or the United States will end it for them. This is not the time to be nice.
President Obama was pretty sure what the root of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the occupation of the West Bank. While the president made some mention of Palestinian violence against Israelis, he did not touch upon the desire of many Palestinians to destroy the Jewish state. He suggested a moral equivalence between Israelis and Palestinians, with a tilt against Israel.
Mark R. Whittington lives in Houston.