21 March 2009

Who's Side is Shimon Peres On?

As is required by law, I open my post with "Go Gonzaga!"

President Obama recently recorded a video message for the people and the government of Iran.

If you haven't seen it or at least read the transcripts, here is the video:

I applaud this action and truly hope some good can come of this situation with Iran. The official responses from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Ayatollah have been of the "don't tell us, show us" variety, however, we have no idea what could be transpiring on the back channels. Obviously, they have to keep the strong, hardline stance with their people looking on anxiously. It is also possible that they really plan to keep the hardline stance, it's hard to tell. There is a lot of bad blood there.

What I didn't expect to see is Israeli President Shimon Peres to chime in and attempt to undercut the work of our President.

President Obama in his address said:
"In particular, I would like to speak directly to the people and leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran. […] The United States wants the Islamic Republic of Iran to take its rightful place in the community of nations. You have that right — but it comes with real responsibilities."
In contrast the message from President Peres:
“[I suggest] you don’t listen to [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad, it is impossible to preserve a whole nation on incitement and hatred, the people will become tired of it. […] I think that the Iranian people will topple these leaders…these leaders who don’t serve the people, in the end the people will realize that.”
While I can see the point that Peres is trying to raise, I have to question the timing. The closest ally of Israel is extending an olive branch to the sworn enemy of Israel. So what does the President of Israel do? Put out a statement DIRECTED at the people of Iran and basically tell them that they should overthrow their government. Yeah...great plan, well great plan if you really have no interest in a lasting peace.

Lets pretend for a second: Obama's message gets through to the Iranians and their people. Relations are worked out, nuclear facilities are inspected by the IAEA and Iran accepts Israel's right to exist and comes back to the table with the rest of the grown-ups.
Now obviously, this is like the ultra-best case scenario (and is probably not completely realistic). Now think about who loses under such a scenario? Israeli politicians that ensure their jobs on the conflict with the Palestinians and the threat of a nuclear Iran.

The timing of this statement from Peres was not a mistake, this was completely calculated. So who are they trying to sabotage, the Iranians or us?

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