Trita Parsi on Obama’s Speech to AIPAC

Despite the words of friendship, the diverging perspectives of the Obama administration and the Netanyahu government on key issues in the Middle East – the Arab uprisings, the Palestinian issue and the Iranian nuclear program – are profound.

The dispute on the nuclear issue is centered on red lines. Israel, like the Bush administration, considers a nuclear capability in Iran a red line. It argues that the only acceptable guarantee that Iran does not get a nuclear weapon is for Iran to have no enrichment program.

The Obama administration puts the red line not at enrichment – which is permitted under international law – but at nuclear weapons. This is a clearer, more enforceable red line that also has the force of international law behind it.

While expressing his sympathy and friendship with Israel, Obama did not yield his red line at AIPAC. With the backing of the US Military, he has stood firm behind weaponization rather than weapons capability as the red line.

He said: “I have said that when it comes to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon (emphasis added), I will take no options off the table, and I mean what I say.”

This is crucial because it is essentially a question of war and peace.

Critically, Obama’s rejection of containment at AIPAC was in the context of containing a nuclear-armed Iran, not a nuclear capable Iran.

He said: “Iran’s leaders should know that I do not have a policy of containment; I have a policy to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

Nowhere in the speech is he aligning himself, or even mentioning, the Israeli red line of “nuclear capability.”

The President’s tough words regarding his readiness to use military action is all in the context of preventing a nuclear weapon in Iran, not a nuclear capability. Strikingly, the president uses the D word – diplomacy – more than the M word – military action – in his speech (even though he primarily presents it as move that enabled greater sanctions on Iran.)

The Israeli red line is a fast track to an unnecessary and counterproductive war. This is why the US military and Obama so adamantly opposes this red line – because it ensures both war and a nuclear-armed Iran down the road.

13 thoughts on “Trita Parsi on Obama’s Speech to AIPAC”

  1. Obama's actions speak louder than any of his words. For the most part and to date, the Obama is a lying piece of sh*t and that speaks volumes about the man and his temerity.

  2. I agree totally with fontaine. The man, obama is like a snake with at least five heads.
    But I also think IRAN should have nuclear weapons. They are surrounded by states that have
    hundreds if not thousands of nuclear warheads pointed at them. This notion that the little cesspool of a state called israhell can have these weapons, and nobody else can in the region is insane.
    Americans are so brained washed by their politicians into believing that israel is some kind of
    wonderful democracy in the Middle East. In fact , israel is the most racist state in the world.

    1. What the hell's wrong with Iran having nuclear weapons? Personally, I don't see anything wrong with nuclear parity in the Middle East. What with the threats and abuse Iran has to endure, they'd be justified in developing nukes.

      Israel–our "51st state"–has several hundred nukes. They've never signed a nuclear agreement. They've never agreed to any inspections.

  3. Israeli and American intelligence agencies continue to report that Iran is NOT now building a nuclear weapon and that it has NO intention of building a nuclear weapon – BUT – Netanyahu, the TRAITORS to American in AIPAC, the fundamentalist religious Zionist-Christian nutcases, the Republican Neocon warmongers are ALL pushing for a war with Iran.
    When do Americans and the rest of the world wake up to the Zionists warmongers in Israel who consider all of us as mere garbage as they consider themselves to be 'the master race'.
    NO more wars for Israel – they are our only real enemy in the Middle East and an enemy to all of the world – a threat to peace in the world.

  4. So then all this suffering the Obama administration is inflicting upon ordinary Iranian citizens hasn't got a damn thing to do with nuclear weapons! How peachy!

  5. What did you people, I mean democrat liberals and leftist democrats, expect, a miracle…? the only thing that this man is been giving you is HOPE, if you can live with the word then you have a WISH on your hand which would proclaim that your WISH is his HOPE, now if he can deliver your WISH upon his HOPE or not has been a question. Look, if an American president and the vote by AIPAC to elect him is so important then AIPAC must be important to the president more then American people are, after all it is American people who voted for him and he promised to deliver what people wanted a functioning democracy in all front and by all means, yet it seams that this man with Hillary Clinton busy doing what Israel and or Saudis and UAE tell them to do making them happy then being engaged in changing things in USA where good changes are needed for the american people , he would busy talking to the Israel zionist regime about the peace with Palestinians taking all and every necessary action for that to happen, he should be busy against Oil companies and their unjust price hick, or those who deliberately setting up the commodity prices and others whom are benefitting from it, like some democrat senators or others here and there. But hey, hope is the only thing that is good now a days wish is another thing.

  6. This is just more of the expected attempt to kick the can down the road (i.e. wishing this 'issue' would just 'go away'–which it will not) by Mr. Obama. The man is in way over his head here, and I have no confidence he will handle the situation "well". Mr. Obama is exceptional at certain things; however, there are other things he's not so "great" at, and this sort of "situation" is one—he's a deer in the headlights, at best. When the Obama Administration carted out the used car salesman from Corpus Christie, TX claiming he was a Qods force operative…that's the moment I knew we were all pretty much screwed.

  7. (…)
    Mr. Obama, here, basically said he has no intention of bombing Iran during his tenure…even if he gets re-elected. This is nothing new and completely expected. Bombing Iran will not foreseeably benefit him politically in any way—the outcome is too unpredictable, and doing so is ultimately an unnecessary risk if it can be avoided. I seriously doubt Mr. Obama even genuinely cares about this issue in the first place. Gasoline prices are most likely his main concern; however, there are no doubt many others. Let’s say Mr. Obama did bomb Iran: things will most likely not go 100% perfectly/smoothly as planned. His likely GOP opponent in the general election will obviously point out and emphasize any /all ‘mistakes’ and argue whatever he ultimately decides to do is wrong anyway…for whatever reason(s)…i.e. he was too soft" and/or "too late"…etc…

  8. (…)
    Also, Mr. Obama's 'ideology'—if anyone objectively, and honestly, scrutinizes it—doesn't seem to be "left", "right", "center", "moderate", "libertarian", or any of the above…rather, the only thing Mr. Obama seems to 'stand' for is Mr. Obama. This seems to be the only way to logically explain his policy positions over the years. For example: can anyone explain the "Obama Doctrine" of foreign policy? Is there any logical ideological, or otherwise, foundation of it? Is there even a consistent, predictable, pattern to it other than political self-interest? No…

    All of that aside, I don't think Mr. Obama's "message" at AIPAC will be received 'well' by the 'powers that be' in Israel… I'm certain they want assurances and timeframes. We'll see what happens…

    1. Obama, Hillary, Gingrich, Santorum, et al are all "baby boomers" and the main characteristic of that group is self awareness which leads to self-promotion and very flexible principles. Our principled leaders like Ron Paul come from another era. Each of these "leaders" know (or should know) that Zionism is a destructive force in the Mid East and that America must reign in Israel and its Likud Party jerks. But, the right move would be a painful move – the Zionists are vicious haters and destroy anyone who opposes them. And the Boomers are not into self denial, let alone abuse. The only good thing that I can say about Obama is that he also thinks that he is real cute and he thinks that he can ride that tiger's back and hang on. A strainer like Hillary would just give the order to attack. Gingrich is a total whore, and Santorum has the mentality of a Zionist – so, again "Bombs Away!" with those folks. So, until we can get a Ron Paul, thankfully we have a clever "teaser" who will say one thing and do another (Hopefully, one more time!)

  9. Israel has to keep on finding enemies to justify its military spending and US military donations. It’s their main business. They perpetuated the lie that Iraq had WMDs to have a big new threat in the neighbourhood. Now it’s Iran’s turn.

    Israel’s like a shark, if it stops moving, it dies. The Israeli economy, its continuing expansion and colonization will collapse if if can’t go to war against its neighbours and annex their land, under some crazy Zionist myth, funded by the US and Europe.

    Will it ever have a lasting peace treaty with the Palestinians? Will there be a one or two state solution? Of course not, that’s the last thing they want: fixed borders would only fence them in. They just want threats and enemies to justify an entirely evil agenda.

Comments are closed.