The Conversation

Netanyahu Schools Obama on Diplomacy, Again

President Barack Obama has apparently been quite desperate to meet his Iranian counterpart--so desperate, according to Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, that he has persevered despite being rejected over five times. Contrast that with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who told CNN's Piers Morgan that he would "consider" talking to Rouhani, but the request would have to come from Iran, not the other way around.

“Yeah, we’re not the first to call,” Netanyahu told Piers Morgan, a CNN host who asked him in an interview broadcast Thursday if he would take a call from Hassan Rouhani.

Separately, Netanyahu told NPR in an interview broadcast Thursday that he would consider an offer to engage directly with Rouhani, but also suggested such engagement was beside the point. More urgent was the need to get Iran to suspend its suspected nuclear weapons program, he said.

Note that Netanyahu does not rule out diplomacy--but he does not run after it, either. Netanyahu understands that 1) a democracy does not grovel to a dictatorship, much less a rogue one, and 2) diplomacy for its own sake is not an answer. These are fairly basic principles, neither of which President Obama seems to understand.


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