During my recent trip to Israel, I spoke with people ranging from the
prime minister to street market vendors in Jerusalem. From the halls of
the Knesset to the streets of the Old City,
there is a clear realization that Iran’s nuclear program poses an
existential threat. There are Israelis who still wear the tattooed
numbers of a death camp on their bodies and take quite seriously a
threat to turn them into dust.
Contrast that with the Obama administration, which has projected an aura of weakness and nonchalance that is astonishing. Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,
recently called Iran “a rational actor” and publicly rebuked Israel for
considering military action against Iran’s nuclear sites, strengthening
the hand of the tyrants of Tehran.
This is an
Iranian government that denies the Holocaust, publicly promises to
“wipe Israel off the map,” and shoots women in the streets of Tehran for
daring to question the results of a phony election. Calling such a
maniacal government rational is not only irrational but recklessly
dangerous — not just to Israel but to nations everywhere, including the United States.
Sadly, this was just the latest in a series of episodes of vacillation, beginning with President Obama‘s naive campaign pledge to negotiate with Iran without preconditions. It continued with his 2009 videotaped New Year’s “greeting” to the Iranian people
(a failed attempt at diplomacy by YouTube) and his slow response to the
regime’s repression of the Green movement, whose leaders now languish
in the Iranian gulag.
Meanwhile, thousands of uranium centrifuges at
heavily fortified nuclear sites in Natanz and Fordow continue to spin
with potentially apocalyptic consequences. Some independent analysts
estimate that Iran could be within 90 days of having enough enriched
uranium for a nuclear weapon.
This is the
West’s nightmare scenario: a radical Islamist regime committed to
Israel’s destruction on the verge of possessing nuclear missiles capable
of launching attacks on Western European cities and, eventually, the
Iran, named by the State Department
as the leading state sponsor of terrorism in the world, could also pass
dirty bombs to its proxy puppets Hamas or Hezbollah, or provoke a
general Middle East
war. And while the administration seeks major cuts in defense spending,
Iran has been linked to the attempted assassination of the Saudi
ambassador on U.S. soil, and attempts to murder Israeli diplomats in India, Georgia and Thailand.
Obama administration should strictly enforce sanctions against Iran’s
Central Bank and companies that do business with Iran; encourage the European Union
to begin its oil boycott of Iran as soon as possible; step up covert
action within Iran to destabilize the regime and its nuclear program;
and give Iranian dissidents technology to help them communicate and
Military action should be a last
resort, but diplomacy can work only if the threat of military action is
genuine and the Iranian mullahs believe it. For that reason, President
Obama can allow no daylight between the U.S. and Israel. When Israeli
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the White House
today, President Obama should publicly make it clear that Israel has
every right to protect itself against the Iranian threat. He should
further boldly state that the U.S. will take military action on its own
if necessary to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
window of opportunity for diplomacy is closing. Seventy years after the
Holocaust, the U.S. cannot turn a blind eye to Iran, which is the focus
of evil in the modern world. We must act soon or face the withering
verdict of history.
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who sought the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, is a radio and television show host.