Thursday, March 1, 2012

President Obama Versus Candidate Obama on the Middle East

In a 2008 campaign speech, then-presidential candidate Obama outlined how his Administration would act with respect to Israel and the rest of the Middle East. Soon after saying, “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided,”1 he made a variety of promises about Iran’s nuclear program and Middle East peace that have gone similarly unfulfilled under President Obama.
Obama claimed “diplomacy” will solve the Iran nuclear problem
• A key part of candidate Obama’s 2008 speech was a discussion of how his tough diplomacy would solve the problem of Iran’s illicit nuclear program.
• Senator Obama complained that the policies of President Bush made the United States and Israel "less secure.”
• As proof, he cited the fact that Iran “is now enriching uranium and has reportedly stockpiled 150 kilos of low enriched uranium.”
• If he were president, Obama said, he would “lead tough and principled diplomacy with the appropriate Iranian leader at a time and place of [his] choosing.”
But Iran is accelerating its nuclear program
• Under President Obama’s policies, Iran has now stockpiled over 3,000 kg of low enriched uranium, more than one-and-a-half times the amount necessary to produce the final material needed in a nuclear bomb.
• It has accelerated its enrichment of uranium over the last three years by every metric, installing more centrifuges, stockpiling more enriched uranium, and enriching uranium to higher levels.
• As Senator Obama said in his 2008 speech, “Those are the facts, they cannot be denied.”
Candidate Obama said Russia and China would help on Iran
• Senator Obama said in his 2008 speech that he would pursue tough sanctions against Iran and that, under his diplomacy, Russia and China would join in strengthening sanctions against Iran. The contrary has been true.
• As recently as November 2011, President Obama said he expected China and Russia would “continue to cooperate and collaborate closely” on the Iran issue.
But China and Russia have not yet cooperated with the U.S. against Iran
• Asserting that China and Russia will “continue” to cooperate on the Iran issue presupposes they have been cooperating to this point, which is belied by the facts.
• Secretary of State Clinton assessed at the beginning of 2011 that there are Chinese entities violating U.S. sanctions law.
• After the November 2011 release of an International Atomic Energy Agency report detailing Iran’s extensive work on nuclear weapons, the New York Times summarized Russia’s position with its headline: “Russia Dismisses Calls for New U.N. Sanctions on Iran.”

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