Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Obama Seeks to Cool War Fever While Keeping Up Pressure on Iran

Nobody likely envies the challenge President Barack Obama faces getting his “messaging” right on Iran. He must meet the demands of election-year politics and continue to press Tehran’s back to the wall over its nuclear program, all the while avoiding the eruption of a major new Middle East war.

In an NBC interview that aired Sunday, Obama sought to apply a cold compress to the fever of war hysteria that broke out in the media last week over a report that his own Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, believes Israel will start a war with Iran by launching air strikes on its nuclear facilities before June. The Washington Post’s David Ignatius reported the views attributed to Panetta, and the media frenzy intensified when Panetta pointedly declined to confirm or deny the report.

Obama, by contrast, told NBC’s Matt Lauer he didn’t believe that “Israel has made a decision over what they need to do” on the Iran issue, and vowed that “we are going to make sure that we work in lockstep as we proceed to try and solve this, hopefully diplomatically” – although he added that “all options” remain on the proverbial table. Read More