A few thoughts about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech before a joint session of Congress today.
The Prime Minister gave what may go down to be considered a "Churchillian" speech that warned the world, not just America, of the danger posed by a nuclear-armed Iranian regime. It comes at a time when America and other nations seem willing to lift sanctions against Iran and give them time to continue developing a nuclear weapons capability. We are living in dangerous times, and this speech took the full measure of the moment.
Netanyahu clearly said that a nuclear Iran is unacceptable to Israel. He also was clear that sanctions against the nation should not be lifted. Israel, he said, will not be passive. They will defend themselves. The Jewish people are capable of defending themselves, even if they must stand alone.
Iran and ISIS are competing for the crown of militant Islam. Both want to impose a militant regime, first on the region and then on the rest of the world. Their only contest is who will rule this regime. America should not think that Iran is an ally in opposing ISIS. The enemy of your enemy is your enemy!
He went on to say the greatest danger facing our world is the marriage of militant Islam with nuclear weapons. To win the battle against ISIS and allow Iran nuclear weapons will be to lose the war. That cannot be allowed to happen.
While Israel is a firm ally of America and the relationship is long and strong at the end of the it is not a direct party to the negotiations with Iran. Other larger nations are making decisions that will impact the future of Israel and its neighbors in the Middle East. It is almost like they are pawns in a larger struggle. The outcome of the moves being made are unclear.
Netanyahu made references in his speech that mark the common heritage America and Israel have. Both countries, he said, are founded on the hope of a promised land offering the hope of freedom for its people. He mentioned a Robert Frost poem and standing at the fork of two rods as he described the momentous time before us. At the end of the speech he motioned to the depiction of Moses on the wall of the House chamber and quoted the prophet, saying, "Be strong and resolute, neither fear nor dread them".
This common heritage is far deeper than the Prime Minister and his audience understands. The destiny of the two nations is linked by roots that go deep into the story of mankind. The God of Abraham is guiding both nations.
It was a speech that laid out a clear warning of what Iran is capable of doing if it gets a nuclear weapon. Currently Iran is achieving its aims on at least five fronts in the Middle East. If it is unshackled and freed to pursue a nuclear weapon it will create an imbalance of power in the region that will rework the boundaries for everyone.
My reference to Winston Churchill at the top compares today's speech to those warnings given by Churchill during the late 1930s when Nazi Germany was rearming and threatening the peace of Europe. There is a difference. Churchill gave those speeches in Parliament, and the Prime Minister of England was present and listened. Today, President Obama was not in the House chamber. Reports said he was busy doing other work and did not hear the speech. Too bad. He missed a significant warning. Let's hope others were listening.