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In his speech before AIPAC this morning, President Obama spent a lot of time asserting that he’s always had Israel’s back, ignoring the past three years of friction with the Israeli government with Orwellian brazenness. On Iran, the issue on everyone’s mind, Obama insisted that he is committed to stopping Iran from getting nuclear weapons:
I have said that when it comes to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, I will take no options off the table, and I mean what I say. That includes all elements of American power. A political effort aimed at isolating Iran; a diplomatic effort to sustain our coalition and ensure that the Iranian program is monitored; an economic effort to impose crippling sanctions; and, yes, a military effort to be prepared for any contingency.
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. And as I’ve made clear time and again during the course of my presidency, I will not hesitate to use force when it is necessary to defend the United States and its interests.
This is explicit, but not specific — he still hasn’t quite done what Israel and many of her supporters want and say exactly what actions by Iran would trigger a strike. Notably, he says he won’t tolerate Iran getting a nuclear weapon, but stops short of saying he won’t tolerate Iran having the capability to build a weapon — a hint that he might be okay with letting them get awfully close to becoming a nuclear power. Will that be enough to calm Israeli nerves? Keep an eye on public statements following tomorrow’s meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu for clues.