Letter from the Editor October 2012

The Unites States is generally good at “telling it like it is”. When the occasion arises Americans are, as they might say themselves, not slow to let people know “where they get off”.

The trait has become particularly pronounced during the electioneering that will only intensify between now and the presidential elections in November. Presidential hopefuls are jumping on every available bandwagon to say how committed they are to ‘speaking for the people’, and this ‘commitment’ has become particularly pronounced over the nuclear issue with Iran.

What seems crystal clear to outside observers is that the American public do not want to go to war with Iran, or, for that matter, with anyone else. The US public is weary of conflict and the financial hardship it inevitably brings. But still some of those politicians keep banging on.

However, it is one thing having American politicians telling Iran “where to get off” but an entirely different matter when the Prime Minister of another country, uses these “hopefuls” as a mouthpiece to deliver their message, as has become cringingly obvious in the case of Mitt Romney.

The Washington Post noted of Republican presidential contender Romney: “Sometimes, it seems as if he has two running mates. There’s Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan to help him out on budgets, deficits and other domestic matters. And then there’s Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on foreign policy.”

Mr Netanyahu has been increasingly critical of President Obama in failing to designate a ‘red line’ Iran should not cross on the nuclear issue, without facing the very real prospect of military intervention by the US. Mr Netanyahu has said he believes Tehran is already in the ‘red zone’. Meanwhile, Mr Romney noted on a recent visit to Jerusalem that the US should “employ any and all measures to dissuade the Iranian regime from its nuclear course”.

No real surprise to hear that Netanyahu and Romney have been good friends since the time they both worked together as young men in Boston’s financial sector, but some- what bewildering that Netanyahu has chosen to stick his neck out – and his nose into – the US presidential race so obviously. Such hubris, in terms of foreign interference, is completely unheard of.

We often hear, in derisory terms, of countries in various parts of the world being ruled from Washington but what a turn-up if the US was to find itself ruled from Tel Aviv. It’s for sure there would be no getting back to Kansas after that.

Pat Lancaster