Obama Should Assert Resolve the World Can Believe In

Scott Erickson /

With his address to the United Nations this week, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stated, “I do believe the system of empires has reached the end of the road. The world can no longer see an emperor commanding it.”

The very real threat of hostilities continues to rise as Iranian posturing escalates—a course destined to intersect with the diminishing patience of an Israeli leadership frustrated with the dithering Obama Administration.

Addressing the U.N. General Assembly, President Obama sought to warn that Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons was a phenomenon that could not be “contained,” tacitly emphasizing the notion that all means necessary would be employed to prevent Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons.

Unsurprisingly, though, President Obama equivocated on the issue by again insisting that more time remained for a diplomatic resolution, casting doubt upon the extent of U.S. resolve in preventing Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Such irresolute statements, as have been characteristic of the Obama Administration’s position toward escalating tensions in the Middle East, only serve to undermine the faith of our allies and embolden the resolve of our enemies.

And the equivocation of the Obama Administration could not be coming at a worse time, as Islamists seek to foment terror amid the darkening of the Arab Spring and Iran ratchets up its inflammatory rhetoric.

Coinciding with the meeting of the U.N. General Assembly this week, Iran unveiled one of its newest military instruments, the Shahed-129, a domestically produced long-range drone that Iran claims has a range of more than 1,200 miles—a distance that places the drone within range of Israel as well as multiple strategic American assets.

General Ali Hajizadeh, a commander in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, stated that the Shahed-129 could be outfitted with “bombs and missiles” and that U.S. military bases in the region could be subjected to retaliatory strikes in the event of an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Doubling down on its incendiary bombast, Iran also test fired a medium-range surface-to-air missile system, known as Ra’ad, that it declared capable of intercepting incoming aircrafts.

Hajizadeh described the Ra’ad system as having been “built in a bid to confront US aircraft and can hit targets 50km in distance and 75,000 feet in altitude.”

In spite of a continued reliance on sanctions and diplomacy, Iran appears uninhibited in its pursuit of a nuclear capability, and its outright provocations toward the U.S. and Israel point toward a fundamental reality: Iran continues to take advantage of an unresolved and ill-defined commitment from the U.S. toward the unequivocal rejection of Iran becoming a nuclear-armed nation.

While such an effort requires the active cooperation of myriad partners, leadership in such an endeavor should necessarily emanate from the U.S.