New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman applauded US President Barack Obama's dealing with the Iranian nuclear arms issue on Tuesday, commending the US president in an opinion piece in the Times for redefining the nuclear threat in a global context rather than politicizing it as an issue of support for Israel.
According to Friedman, who quoted the US president from an interview he gave to the The Atlantic and from comments during his address to the Israel lobby group AIPAC, Obama has explained that were Tehran to develop a nuclear bomb, the regional repercussions would be immense. He quoted the president as saying the fallout from a nuclear-armed Iran could lead to a Middle Eastern nuclear arms race, and push tensions in a region already fraught with animosity between states.
Obama also rightly warned, Friedman wrote, that the risk of a nuclear weapon falling into the hands of a terrorist organization would be profound were Iran to develop a nuclear bomb.
Friedman criticized advocates of a military strike on Iran by Israel, saying consequences of both the US war on Iraq and Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon serve as reminders of what "unintended and unanticipated consequences" may arise from an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.
Still, Friedman said he was not advocating "paralysis." Rather, he wrote in support of Obama's "call to give diplomacy and biting sanctions a chance to work, while keeping the threat of force on the table."