Netanyahu's Address to the US Congress, March 3, 2015
The Personal Weblog of Edward W. Farrell   
Netanyahu's Address to the US Congress, March 3, 2015 Thursday, March 5, 2015
I listened to Benjamin Netanyahu's address to Congress this morning regarding Iran's nuclear program and the West's efforts to forestall it. I found a video of the speech online (via the New York Times) without much trouble, though all the US networks except Fox refused to air it live. I also noticed that the major press overwhelmingly failed to discuss or even mention the contents of Netanyahu's talk.  So it's hard to say how many Americans even know what Netanyahu actually said to Congress.  Fox News reported over 3 million views so perhaps we can take that as a minimum number.  But 3 million is a small number for so important a speech.

Characteristically, the press focus was overwhelmingly on the partisan politics surrounding the circumstances of the talk. These center around Netanyahu's stake in the upcoming Israeli elections, and the manner in which US Republican party congressmen invited Netanyahu to address Congress over the objections of the US president and like-minded Democrats.  Here's a sampling of headlines and taglines pulled off the internet the day after the speech:  

Reuters:          Israel's Netanyahu draws rebuke from Obama over Iran speech
NBC:              Obama: 'Nothing New' in Netanyahu Speech
CBS:               Obama: "Nothing new" in Netanyahu's speech
Yahoo:            Obama says 'nothing new' in Netanyahu speech
CNN:              a speech filled with powerful words is no substitute for a strategy
NYTimes:      Netanyahu Speech Raises Burden for Obama on Iran Nuclear Talks
                       Mr. Netanyahu's Unconvincing Speech to Congress
                       Vote Nearing, Netanyahu Takes Up Familiar Cause: Iran's Nuclear Quest
New Yorker:  Benjamin Netanyahu's speech before Congress was conceived as a political stunt
BBC:               Obama says Netanyahu's Iran speech contains 'nothing new'
Guardian:        Iran dismisses Netanyahu speech to US Congress as boring and repetitive
                       Analysis Netanyahu's speech to Congress: long on terror, short on substance

There are certainly some exceptions, but the predominant position of the western press has been to dismiss Netanyahu's speech as presumptuous and political. Ironically, the tone of the press coverage of Netanyahu's address in the West is little different from the tone of the Iranian state's dismissal of same.  This suggests that the minds that move the western press do not consider Iran to be a hostile adversary after all, which is in itself quite disconcerting.

So the question is: what did Netanyahu say that unites the current US administration, the bulk of the western media, and the Iranian state against it? The answer won't be a mystery to anyone who watched the address, because Netanyahu spoke with uncommon clarity:
  1. The Iranian state has openly declared itself a foe of the West and is a major, if not the preeminient, exporter of Islamic terrorism in the world.
  2. `
  3. The Iranian state, since it has become a theocracy, has demonstrated over and over again that it feels no obligation to deal fairly or honestly with its adversaries.
  4. `
  5. Given 1 and 2:
    • You do not make deals and offer concessions to a declared enemy whose behavior towards you is unapologetically hostile, both as a matter of principle and common sense
    • `
    • The West is foolish to lift sanctions and ease pressure on the Iranian state, as they will certainly use the opportunity to prepare a nuclear arsenal with which to do further harm to the West.
  6. Therefore, the West's approach should be to continue and even double down on sanctions and make no concessions to Iran until their aggressive and hostile behavior changes.
This sort of clear-headed talk is a breath of fresh air. For that reason it's not likely to move our reigning bureaucrats, who 1) do not love fresh air since it inspires bold action, and 2) hate bold action since it doesn't fear risk and confrontation and is therefore always politically incorrect. But the stakes here are very high, particularly for future generations in the West; for this reason the bureaucrats should not prevail. Rather, we should see what can be done to ensure that the bolder (and in this case wiser) heads still among our leadership prevail.

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