All you have to do is take one look at President Barack Obama with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to see that neither can stand the other. Both leaders are uncomfortable in each other’s presence. Their body language says it all. Sure, they go through the motions, pretending to support one another when, in reality, their views on foreign policy could not be more divergent. However, with a historically positive relationship between our two countries, Netanyahu simply cannot throw in the towel—at least not yet.
From day one, Obama’s policy toward Iran has been appeasement. You can almost hear him asking, “Why can’t we be friends?” His line of reasoning goes something like this: maybe if we talk to them, they’ll like us and be nice to us. As we all know, that tactic worked great when Obama asked Iran to pretty please give our drone back in December 2011. His policies work well in theory, but not in the real world — not in a nuclear world.
If someone threatened to kill you and moved forward with his plan, would you sit back and do nothing? Would you try to talk them out of it? Would you ask them to be your friend? Most likely not. This is Israel’s dilemma: kowtow to their enemies and risk being wiped off the face of the earth or take action before it is too late. Prime Minister Netanyahu refuses to sit back and watch his country disappear, while Obama is perfectly content to roll over and play dead.
During their meeting Monday, Obama and Netanyahu discussed the future of Israel in view of a nuclear Iran. During this discussion President Obama stated that, “The bond between our two countries is unbreakable.” Yet he made it clear that “there’s still a window” for diplomacy and that he plans to “use the time and space that exists” to teach Iran to be nice. As usual, he believes that there can still be a “diplomatic resolution to this issue.” Obama also insisted that he has a plan to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and will “take no option off the table… I mean what I say.” Translation: appeasement is his plan of action, and military action is not an option. As far as Obama is concerned, the bond between the U.S. and Israel is unbreakable as long as Netanyahu doesn’t hinder the agenda of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Yesterday, the United States, Great Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russia agreed to resume talks with Iran over their nuclear activities. We’ve been trying this for how long? That’s right, at least a decade. During his news conference earlier today, President Obama stated that Iran is feeling the effects of stricter sanctions. Really? It sure doesn’t look that way. If sanctions were phasing them so much, why do they keep pursuing nuclear activities? Obama also said that he doesn’t expect a breakthrough in talks right away. The real question is does he ever expect a breakthrough? Or maybe more importantly, does he really want one?
At least Netanyahu has common sense. Monday, he reminded the world that Israel has waited patiently for a diplomatic resolution, but that “none of us can afford to wait much longer.” He also addressed those who see Iran’s development of underground nuclear facilities, intercontinental ballistic missiles, thousands of centrifuges and absorption of crippling sanctions as “[advancing] medical research.” Last night he made his position very clear: Israel has the sovereign right to defend itself, “because when it comes to Israel’s survival, we must always remain the masters of our fate.” Proclaiming that he “will never let [his] people live in the shadow of annihilation,” Netanyahu’s speech was truly inspiring, a far cry from the limp words of President Obama.
Obama’s policy of appeasement must be taken seriously because it a dangerous, naïve position that can destroy not only the sole democracy in the Middle East, but also our credibility, influence, and strength in the eyes of the world. All we have to do is look to history to see where appeasement leads. Neville Chamberlain, then prime minister of Great Britain, appeased Hitler by signing the Munich Agreement in 1938, an agreement he was forced to break after Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia one year later. His feeble attempts at diplomacy not only failed, but led to the outbreak of a bloody war. Hitler could have been stopped had Chamberlain and other European leaders possessed the courage to defend themselves. Winston Churchill, who saw first hand the dangers of Chamberlain’s policies, warned, “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.” Appeasement emboldens; it does not guarantee protection, and if anything, it guarantees destruction.
This is why Netanyahu’s leadership resonates. He understands that danger at hand. He understands the follies of Obama’s policies. He is man of his word and a man of action, unafraid to face danger head on. Even if he has to stand alone, he will. His courageous, fearless leadership and willingness to do whatever it takes to protect the safety of his people make him a leader worth admiring.