Thank you Speaker Boehner. Thank you for taking one of the most important stands on foreign policy any Congressional leader could have taken in this decade. Despite all of the criticism the Speaker will face, Boehner’s move on March 3, 2015 will be remembered as historic. This was the day that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader of our strongest leader in the Middle East, came to speak to a joint session of Congress about the threat of a nuclear Iran. This was no ordinary speech, this was one of the best speeches any foreign leader could have given to the United States Congress, and here is why.
As Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke, most of Congress watched. However, some very key individuals in our government decided they had better places to be. Our Commander in Chief was in a video conference related to the situation in Ukraine, and our Secretary of State was in Switzerland negotiating with Israel’s greatest enemy. Almost 60 other elected officials who were supposed to be in Capital Hill that day neglected to attend because of the “politics” of the issue. They were unhappy Speaker Boehner had invited Prime Minister Netanyahu without consulting President Obama. To them, this issue was more significant than the true problem in the Middle East at this time, a lack of a viable option.
In truth, most members of government should have been moving their entire schedules for the day to be there for the speech. Israel is one of our strongest allies in the world, and Benjamin Netanyahu is still the Prime Minister, whether there is an election next week or not. It also doesn’t matter who invited him, he’s willing to speak, and he deserves the respect of being listened to by all members of our government. There is no excuse otherwise, “political” or not.
To set up the speech we need to look at what is going on in the Middle East at this time. We have known for years that Iran has been working towards building a nuclear bomb. We also know Iran has hated Israel for years. Iran has also backed terrorist organizations with goals of defeating Israel and the West for years. While Iran’s rhetoric has cooled slightly, their covert actions have not. Iran has been a secret leader in the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, but not simply to defeat ISIS. Iran is doing what they can to set up their influence in Iraq and Syria. Given Iran’s history, do we really want Iranian backed governments in Iraq and Syria? Absolutely not.
The current deal with Iran that is being debated between nations is the very one that Netanyahu was speaking on to Congress. In short, the deal would only be temporary, and it would not prevent Iran from getting a nuclear bomb. The deal would also not change Iran’s regime, which still has wishes of spreading their influence in the Middle East, obtaining a nuclear bomb and attacking Israel. According to Netanyahu, the deal would actually lead Iran to the bomb, not away from it.
While all of this is going on, President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry still believe they can negotiate with Iran. However, the current deal is no good. The current deal puts our strongest ally in the Middle East in an incredibly difficult situation, and endangers the rest of the Middle East. We have seen fanatics in control of Iran before, it can happen again. The idea that Iran will remain stable forever is highly unrealistic. However, this is the wish that President Obama and Secretary Kerry are making this deal on, and it’s a threat to our ally.
In reality, Prime Minister Netanyahu did exactly what he needed to do on March 3, make a passionate plea to Congress for the United States to stand with Israel. The deal that President Obama and Secretary Kerry are making is harmful to the international community, and if they won’t realize it, we can only hope that Congress will realize it. Prime Minister Netanyahu relayed some of the details of the deal that would be relevant for Congress to hear, all while asking for continued American support. Netanyahu also laid out the threat that Iran poses, and the national security risk it poses to the entire international community and the United States. Prime Minister Netanyahu clearly understands the threat that Iran poses, and making sure others understand is just as important. The problem must be identified before we can figure out how to deal with it.
Most members of Congress who heard the speech were quite inspired by what Prime Minister Netanyahu had to say. Many of them were stating that the Prime Minister clearly laid out the threat that Iran poses and how important it is to stop Iran from getting a nuclear bomb. Some even compared Netanyahu’s speech to a similar one Winston Churchill gave regarding the threat of Nazi Germany at the beginning of World War II. If this is the case, we absolutely should be heeding the Prime Minister’s warning, and doing what we can to cooperate with our ally.
The American people should be incredibly proud of Speaker Boehner’s move here, and frustrated with the actions of our President. At the end of the day, this isn’t about politics; this is about the survival of the state of Israel and doing the right thing to stop evil. Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech was about standing together, and standing firm against evil. I hope that our elected officials will see that and stand on the right side of history and prevent forces like Iran from doing something destructive.