President Reagan’s policy of peace through strength won the Cold War. FDR
mobilized an unprecedented American response to Pearl Harbor. The buck stopped
with President Truman.
Ike commanded the world’s allied fight against
evil. JFK stared down Nikita Khrushchev. George W. Bush put terrorists on notice
that their evil acts would not stand.
In contrast, President Barack
Obama’s indecisive foreign policy has most Americans longing for the good old
days. This president’s mistakes are undermining our preeminent role in foreign
affairs and making the world more dangerous. His handling of Syria was a
We can’t afford a repeat with Iran.
It’s time for the
United States to start acting like the United States again.
of chemical weapons was morally reprehensible, and that nation’s chemical
weapons stockpile could threaten our national security if it fell into the wrong
hands. But, a nucleararmed Iran is a game changer that would alter the world as
we know it.
That danger is closer than you might think. The International
Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reports that Iran already has 186 kg. of enriched
uranium. It only takes 250 kg. to make a nuclear bomb. If nothing is done, most
experts believe Iran is somewhere between six months and 18 months from
obtaining a nuclear weapon. We cannot let that happen.
happy talk, there is substantial evidence to suggest that Iran is accelerating
its nuclear ambitions.
Tehran continues its large-scale installation of
advanced, higher-speed centrifuges that will enable significantly more rapid
production of weaponsgrade uranium. Iran is also pursuing the plutonium path and
has begun production of heavy water to feed its Arak reactor.
the president called Iran’s new leader, Hassan Rouhani. This historic phone call
marked the first time in more than three decades that the leaders of these two
nations have spoken.
Indications are that they instructed their
respective diplomats to work toward an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program. The
president should listen to diplomatic overtures coming from Tehran. But he
should resist unnecessary delay.
I met with Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu on a recent trip to Israel.
His sobering assessment of Iran’s
nuclear ambitions and analysis of the potential consequences of a nuclearcapable
Iran would strengthen anyone’s resolve. In his October 1 speech to the United
Nations General Assembly, the prime minister was clear that “the only diplomatic
solution that would work is the one that fully dismantles Iran’s nuclear weapons
program and prevents it from having one in the future.” I agree.
should not fear negotiation. But the true test of Iran’s intentions will be
whether they are willing to give up their nuclear program. Given the high stakes
of delay, we cannot allow insincere overtures to buy Iran more time to achieve
Our negotiations must be backed by real resolve. We
should strengthen construction and foreign exchange penalties to prevent Iran
from offsetting existing energy and financial sanctions.
importantly, we must make clear that the use of military force is an option if
Iran fails to reverse its nuclear program. Iran must know that we will not allow
them to obtain a nuclear bomb under any circumstances.
That’s not just my
view. It’s one shared by 78 Republican and Democratic freshman members of the US
House who recently signed a letter I wrote with Representative Brad Schneider
The letter urges the president to broaden and strengthen the
enforcement of sanctions against Iran until Tehran takes verifiable steps to
reverse its nuclear activities.
These are challenging times. The
president’s indecisive response to Syria’s use of chemical weapons has made the
world more dangerous and unpredictable. Russia has been elevated on the world
stage with President Vladimir Putin so emboldened that he recently lectured the
American people in The New York Times, saying that we ought not to consider
But we are exceptional. The US doesn’t use its
military might for territorial conquest. America has sacrificed its sons and
daughters and sought nothing in return except to preserve our security and
promote peace and freedom around the globe. We’ve saved the world more than once
because we were bold and brave, not timid.
President Obama must embrace
America’s unique leadership role and make clear to Iran that we mean what we
say. The world will be a safer place if he does.
The author, a
Congressman, is president of the Republican Freshman Class and serves on the
House Committee on Foreign Affairs and its Subcommittee on the Middle East and
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