On March 4, President Obama delivered remarks before the annual AIPAC conference held in Washington. Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu met behind closed doors in the Oval Office today.
Obama's speech reaffirmed America's - and his own - solidarity with Israel, Israel's right to sovereign action, and lamented the excessive "loose talk of war." Calling for more time to let sanctions work (citing Europe's new round of sanctions set to take effect in July 2012), Obama highlighted his administration's effort to build an international coalition to place diplomatic, political, and economic pressure on Iran.
While reassuring Israeli leaders that his policy was not one of containment, Obama argued that it is important for Iran to decide its own fate, citing examples of countries that independently renounce nuclear without a motivating military imperative...
While Obama was busy trying to calm rising tensions over the possibility of an Israeli attack on Iran - in part citing Iran's growing regional unpopularity and the diminishing influence of Tehran and its ally Syria - Senator John McCain took the Senate floor and called on the US to lead an international effort to bomb Syria and precipitate the fall of Bashar al Assad's regime.
Although the administration has used strong language to condemn the violence and call for Assad to step down, it has opted for prudence regarding the arming of the opposition forces. Absent a clear understanding of who the opposition are, what they want, and how they hope to achieve it, the administration has chosen caution - caution to avoid sparking a civil war, the use of chemical weapons, or a regional arms race.
On the other hand, American conservatives have long called for action to arm the opposition and put an end to the bloodshed. McCain's comments today represent the first time an American leader has publicly advocated US-led bombing.
Read both mens' remarks here:
President Obama's 2012 AIPAC Address
Senator John McCain's Remarks on Syria on the Senate Floor