George W. Bush is upping the ante towards a war with Iran. And a number of prominent Democrats seem to be telling the President to go all in. Take one recent example: John Edwards.
During a speech via satellite at a security conference last week in Herzliya, Israel, Edwards joined the chorus of those threatening the Iranian government. “Iran threatens the security of Israel and the entire world,” Edwards said, echoing a line peddled by many neoconservatives. “Let me be clear: Under no circumstances can Iran be allowed to have nuclear weapons.”
A few moments later, he strongly hinted at the need for possible US military action. “To ensure that Iran never gets nuclear weapons, we need to keep ALL options on the table,” Edwards said. “Let me reiterate – ALL options must remain on the table.”
Such a provocative speech seems out of character for the ‘08 contender, at least in political terms. As he’s moving left on Iraq—by calling on Congress to deny funding for an escalation of troops and advocating the immediate withdrawal of 50,000 US soldiers—why is Edwards veering right on Iran?
There’s a few possible explanations. One, Edwards sincerely believes in a more confrontational Iran policy. Two, he’s pandering to win the support and money of hawkish “pro-Israel” voters and donors. Three, he’s trying to impress the foreign policy intelligentsia by talking tough.
No matter the rationale, speeches like these won’t help Edwards with Democratic primary voters and could potentially injure his presidential prospects. Preventing a war with Iran is as important as getting out of Iraq to many in the peace movement. Indeed, those goals are now intertwined. Edwards can’t have it both ways.