President Barack Obama is approaching the general election campaign season while stuck between a rock and a hard place. Despite an economy that is slowly beginning to pick up some momentum, the end of the Iraq war, and a steadily improving alternative energy plan, no President has ever been re-elected while the unemployment rate was above 7.2% since FDR. Along with the unemployment rate, President Obama has frequently been criticized for being ‘soft’ on the enemies of Israel, and for keeping gas prices high by refusing to increase domestic production.
On Friday, March 30, The Guardian reported that President Obama has approved measures to place even harsher sanctions on Iran’s oil exports, as well as declaring to take punitive action against any nation that fails to reduce Iranian oil imports. This is a very risky call, given that oil prices remain high and relations with Iran are already tense. These actions hope to weaken Iran’s economy until they suspend their uranium enrichment program, as well as demonstrating support for Israel without using military power.
Israel has openly announced considerations to conduct airstrikes on nuclear facilities, so Obama’s actions are less decisive action against Iran, and more action to prevent Israel from using rash, unilateral force. While no American wants to live a world where a repressive and theocratic dictatorship joins the ranks of the nations with nuclear weapons, the effects of a war between Israel and Iran could be just as destructive. Military conflict would not only take many lives, but it would also destroy any chance of creating stability in the region for a very long time. Barack Obama is quickly running out of ways to appease Israel and its supporters without any force being used against Iran, in an election year where his choices and ability to accomplish anything is severely inhibited by his opposition. President Obama and various other members of NATO have all expressed the consequences of military force, but if the situation does not change the President may soon have to decide to act with Israel or the international community.
Ewen MacAskill, www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/30/iran-sanction-obama-israel-banks, The Guardian