President Obama delivered a speech defending his recently struck deal with Iran at American University in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday. During his remarks he wholeheartedly defended the deal which many critics on both sides of the aisle detest. The speech came across (to this observer) as a petulant and obstinate tirade from a man who seems unaccustomed to defending his ideas and beliefs. He attempted to use history as a barometer for his own actions, failing to realize that the history of our great nation flies in the face of the recently brokered agreement. He sites Kennedy’s brinkmanship with the USSR but fails to realize that the Cuban Missile Crisis was a result of Kennedy’s stiff spine and strong resolve – not an example of Kennedy’s willingness to appease the Soviets!
No, Obama is no Kennedy. Instead, the 20th century politician which Obama bears most resemblance to is Neville Chamberlain.
Partial Transcript below – read the full transcript at the Washington Post.
It is a great honor to be back at American University, which has prepared generations of young people for service and public life.
I want to thank President Kerwin and the American University family for hosting us here today.
Fifty-two years ago, President Kennedy, at the height of the Cold War, addressed this same university on the subject of peace. The Berlin Wall had just been built. The Soviet Union had tested the most powerful weapons ever developed. China was on the verge of acquiring the nuclear bomb. Less than 20 years after the end of World War II, the prospect of nuclear war was all too real.
With all of the threats that we face today, it is hard to appreciate how much more dangerous the world was at that time. In light of these mounting threats, a number of strategists here in the United States argued we had to take military action against the Soviets, to hasten what they saw as inevitable confrontation. But the young president offered a different vision.
Strength, in his view, included powerful armed forces and a willingness to stand up for our values around the world. But he rejected the prevailing attitude among some foreign-policy circles that equated security with a perpetual war footing.
Instead, he promised strong, principled American leadership on behalf of what he called a practical and attainable peace, a peace based not on a sudden revolution in human nature, but on a gradual evolution in human institutions, on a series of concrete actions and effective agreements.
Such wisdom would help guide our ship of state through some of the most perilous moments in human history. With Kennedy at the helm, the Cuban Missile Crisis was resolved peacefully.
Under Democratic and Republican presidents, new agreements were forged: A nonproliferation treaty that prohibited nations from acquiring nuclear weapons, while allowing them to access peaceful nuclear energy, the SALT and START treaties, which bound the United States and the Soviet Union to cooperation on arms control.
Not every conflict was averted, but the world avoided nuclear catastrophe, and we created the time and the space to win the Cold War without firing a shot at the Soviets.
The agreement now reached between the international community and the Islamic Republic of Iran builds on this tradition of strong, principled policy diplomacy.