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Fri Sep 28, 2012, 09:28 PM


Obama Plays Netanyahu LIKE A FIDDLE, Romney Follows Behind [View all]

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.



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