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Obama Plays Netanyahu Like a Fiddle, Romney Follows Behind
Obama and Netanyahu talked today, and agreed that Iran shouldn’t have nuclear weapons. Romney raised his hand to announce that he also talked to Netanyahu, but can’t tell us what was said and then reiterated Obama’s Iran policy as his own. This comes as no surprise, since Romney has repeatedly proven himself to be a foreign policy novice — to put it kindly — and Obama’s foreign policy approach is more popular, both at home and abroad.
The media has been all atwitter with right wing talking points, why won’t Obama talk to Netanyahu? Somehow they missed that by schooling Netanyahu with the diplomatic but clear cold shoulder, Obama got everything he wanted.
On Tuesday at the UN, Netanyahu suddenly announced after relentless sabre-rattling that Israel would not attack Iran before the spring, taking off the table the pre-election strike that loomed behind his earlier words, when he falsely equated violence in Libya with the “regime” in Iran in an attempt to stoke the fires of war. Netanyahu also agreed with Obama that a diplomatic approach might work. This was a long walk from where he had been just days before.
Whether Netanyahu started showing respect for Obama because, unlike most conservatives, he can read polls or whether Obama’s cold shoulder finally sank in as Bibi’s only option given Romney’s plunge, or some combination of the two — the end result is Obama got what he wanted and what was best for the United States.
Obama got Netanyahu to back off his threats to attack Iran and he got Netanyahu to stop meddling in US elections. Netanyahu gave Obama credit for leading the effort to impose sanctions on Iran.
Netanyahu still did his best to tie himself to fellow conservative war hawk Mitt Romney, and if polls start to shift, I wouldn’t be surprised if he starts sabre-rattling even more furiously. For now, there’s no doubt Netanyahu read the writing on the wall, as papers around the world were blaming him for jeopardizing Israel over his treatment of the US President. He made a wise decision to least stop appearing to be playing election war games.
Romney said he and Netanyahu discussed where the “red line’ ought to be drawn, but Romney doesn’t feel comfortable discussing it. Romney then declared that he thinks we can handle Iran without military action, but he’s not taking it off the table. If those words sound familiar, it’s because they are President Obama’s standard reply. At the U.N., the President took on Iran, saying that while the U.S. remains committed to a diplomatic solution on Iran’s nuclear program, “time is not unlimited.”
Romney has long criticized Obama for not taking a harder line against Iran, though there is no harder line than the tough sanctions Obama has already put into place, other than military action. Yet, Romney would not go there. So, how does his policy differ from Obama’s? He won’t say, other than to claim Obama’s position as his own and announce it as the correct one.
Today, Romney took Obama’s approach of tough sanctions and Detroited it, claiming that it was his idea and he’s glad Obama is finally on board. Romney told reporters on his plane, “From the very beginning, I thought crippling sanctions needed to be put in place. Part is to see action as opposed to just words. His words more recently are more consistent with the words I’ve been speaking for some time, and we’ll see what actions he pursues.”
We don’t need to wait to see what Obama does; he has already instituted far more strict sanctions on Iran than President Bush.
It was Mitt Romney who told rich supporters that he would do nothing about the Middle East because he didn’t think peace was possible. His big plan, he told them, was to kick the can down the field. “I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues, and I say there’s just no way.” He continued, “You hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize that this is going to remain an unsolved problem… and we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it.”
Romney then admitted that while he had been told of a possible prospect for a settlement between the Palestinians and the Israelis after the Palestinian elections, he didn’t pursue it.
So, no on peace efforts and yes on war with Iran. Remember when Romney sold his base on an inevitable war with Iran, back when he was selling Glenn Beck’s crazy Muslim caliphate conspiracy?
Watching Romney try to morph into Obama on every single policy after he spent a year telling us that Obama is wrong on everything is just painful. This isn’t Romney’s first go at this either. In Israel on his foreign policy debut tour, his foreign policy adviser Dan Senor previewed Romney’s “foreign policy” speech, saying that Romney would “respect” Israel in a decision to use military force against Iran.
Hours later, Romney walked those comments back, and once again, reiterated President Obama’s stance.
Backtracking on his aide’s announcement of full support for military action against Iran under Romney — specifically he was asked if he was “giving the green light to bomb Iran” — the presumed Republican nominee said, “I’ll use my own words and that is I respect the right of Israel to defend itself and we stand with Israel. We’re two nations that come together in peace and that want to see Iran being dissuaded from its nuclear folly.”
Mitt Romney will, it seems, say anything to anyone to get them to like him, including parroting the President on Iran, the auto bailout, and the poor even as his policies do the exact opposite. Mitt Romney is like a silly puppy chasing Obama, yapping criticism the entire time — even as he copies Obama’s words. This truly has to be an epic embarrassment for establishment Republicans, if indeed they have any pride left.
President Obama artfully and diplomatically manipulated Netanyahu, and firmly reestablished the division of power and authority. Cut to Mitt Romney chasing behind, carrying a bomb in one hand and copy of Obama’s foreign policy in another.