In advance of tonight’s Oval Office address marking the end of the U.S. combat mission in Iraq, House Republican leader John Boehner (R-OH) delivered his own speech addressing a wide-ranging set of issues, ranging from the economy to Iran. On Iran, Boehner, who could become Speaker should the GOP take the House in November, warned that “international isolation” won’t deter Iran from pursuing a nuclear weapon and that if Iran acquires the bomb “we must not naively assume a nuclear-armed Iran would be containable.”
Boehner, who saved the section of his speech titled “Iran and Israel” for the end, emphasized that “Israel is an island of freedom surrounded by a sea of oppression and hate.” His harsh appraisal of Israel’s neighbors is probably not shared by all his colleagues in Congress. Two of Israel’s Arab neighbors, Jordan and Egypt, receive significant military and economic aid from the U.S. and even have long standing peace deals with Israel.
The speech went on to call for the U.S. to defend Israel against those who seek to hurt it “through acts of violence, international criticism, or manipulation of laws of war.” As mentioned by Ali in today’s Daily Talking Points, Boehner comes up just short of endorsing a U.S. or Israeli attack on Iran but concludes that, “[w]here I come from, you stick by your friends, you stick by people who share your values.”
The text of the, “Iran and Israel,” section is pasted below the fold.
IRAN AND ISRAEL
As we gather here, Iran is working to develop a nuclear weapons program. Contrary to the wishful thinking of some, the Iranian regime is capable of doing a cost-benefit analysis of pursuing these weapons in the face of international isolation.
Iran is more than prepared to sacrifice the well-being of its people for the chance to fundamentally change the balance of power in the region. It is the true source of instability in the region, and we must not naively assume a nuclear-armed Iran would be containable.
The destinies of Iran and Israel are often inter-linked, with good reason. Israel is an island of freedom surrounded by a sea of oppression and hate, surrounded by enemies who seek its destruction.
Israel is on the front lines of the ideological and violent clash we are confronting. The attacks against it – whether through acts of violence, international criticism, or manipulation of laws of war – are often the vanguard of what our country will face.
America has stood by Israel since Harry Truman sat in the Oval Office. Our commitment to this long-standing friendship should be no less strong today.
Where I come from, you stick by your friends, you stick by people who share your values. You do not send a message of strength to your enemies by shunning your friends and allies.
The foreign policy of the United States should not be built on a platform of apologies, corrections, and reset buttons. We will not confront and defeat the terrorist threat by blurring America’s exceptionalism and backing out on America’s commitments.