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Iran debate: If Obama doesn't bluff, he's not a good poker player

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Those are real concerns. And it makes sense to insist that there's a red line for the Iranians as Obama and European allies continue to use sanctions and negotiation to bring Iran's nuclear program under stronger outside oversight. But that's just being a good poker player. There is always some ambiguity. Or as Obama told Goldberg: "I think that the Israeli government recognizes that, as president of the United States, I don't bluff. I also don't, as a matter of sound policy, go around advertising exactly what our intentions are."

Poker metaphors have also been in full flow about the jockeying between Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who's due in Washington over the weekend for the annual meeting of AIPAC, a pro-Israel lobbying group, and a state visit with the president.

Though Obama may be leader of a superpower and Netanyahu the leader of a small Middle Eastern country, the Israeli premier casts a long shadow on US politics. He's been seeking to pry an iron-clad promise from Obama that the US will in fact attack Iran if it nears a nuclear weapon, and the AIPAC conference is expected to largely focus on the Islamic Republic, which Netanyahu and many Israelis view as the biggest threat to their security.

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