The Obama Watch

Bowing to Tehran

Is President Obama naïve?

By 4.5.10

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There are words for national leaders who attempt to appease their enemies while at the same time shaming and humiliating their friends. One of the kindest of the words is "naive."

This comes to mind because of President Obama's recent overtures to the terrorist state of Iran, while shaming Israel.

In recent months and days, President Obama has, once again, reached out a supplicating hand to The Islamic Republic of Iran, only to be met by mockery, sarcasm, and rebuff. He has also agreed to only the most modest of sanctions against the Tehran regime to induce it to abandon its nuclear weapons program -- a program which Tehran's Ahmadinejad has said he will not abandon no matter what the rest of the world does.

These love notes go out to a nation that has brutally repressed its own people, is training our vicious Taliban enemies in Afghanistan, has long been aiding factions killing Americans in Iraq…the same nation that killed 244 American Marines and other fighting men in the Beirut bombing of 1983 and seized the U.S. Embassy and kept our Foreign Service personnel hostage there for over 400 days.

These roses are going out to a nation which has shown absolutely zero interest in making peace with the United States.

At the same time, Mr. Obama has done all he could to humiliate Benjamin Netanyahu, Premier of Israel, because Israel wants to build 1600 apartments for its citizens in Jerusalem. This is in Jerusalem, Israel's capital. Not a settlement. The capital of a sovereign state.

The humiliation included personal insults and slights to Mr. Netanyahu, who had flown to Washington to plead with Mr. Obama to understand why Israel is doing what it's doing. Just by the way, I do not see Ahmadinejad flying to D.C. to speak to Mr. Obama at all. In a nutshell, Barack Obama is more concerned about Jews building homes in Jerusalem than about Iran building a nuclear weapon. This is almost unbelievable.

I guess the idea is that if the U.S. treats Israel badly, the Moslems and Arabs will like the U.S. better. Why don't we tell that to the Russians, who were Israel's sworn foe and against whom the Moslems fought desperately in Afghanistan -- with our help. Is Israel the reason Sunnis and Shiites kill each other in Iraq by drilling holes into each other with electric drills? Does President Obama really believe that making Israel give up building on a few acres in Jerusalem will change the mood of a terrorist state pledged to annihilate all of Israel -- and to do whatever it can to bring down "the Great Satan…" The United States of America?

Western nations have tried bowing down to aggressive dictatorships before. It was called appeasement in the 1930s and it led to World War II. There is absolutely no sign it will work any better this time. Dictators do not respect weakness. Israel knows it. Mr. Obama doesn't, but let's hope he will learn.


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About the Author

Ben Stein is a writer, actor, economist, and lawyer living in Beverly Hills and Malibu. He writes "Ben Stein's Diary" for every issue of The American Spectator.