Obama’s press conference yesterday was like the other side of the moon from his comments before and during Netanyahu’s visit. Starting with his Friday interview with The Atlantic magazine, the president emphasized his determination to block Iran from getting a nuke.
He said explicitly, for the first time, he was willing to use military force and added, “I don’t bluff.” While careful to hold out hope for a diplomatic solution, he repeated the tough talk on Sunday to AIPAC, and again Monday with Netanyahu.
Yesterday, he reverted to his old stance, where he is more comfortable. Hours after the United States and Europe agreed to reopen negotiations with Iran, Obama emphasized the “window of opportunity” for Iran to prove its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.
He mentioned the military option only as a pivot to snarl at critics. He accused them of a “casualness” about war, of “beating the drums of war,” of “bluster” and “big talk.”
“This is not a game,” he declared, saying he is always “reminded of the costs of war.”
The turnabout was so striking that a cynic might conclude that Obama was merely courting the Jewish vote with his earlier tough talk.