Tags: America's Forum | Israel | Donald Rumsfeld | netanyahu | congress | obama | nuclear

Rumsfeld to Newsmax: Obama's 'Unfortunate' Snub Is Diversion Tactic

By    |   Tuesday, 03 March 2015 11:11 AM

The "undiplomatic way" the Obama White House has handled Congress' invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not only "unfortunate," it distracts from the real issue: a potentially nuclear Iran, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Tuesday on Newsmax TV's "America’s Forum."

"Ever since the presidency of Harry Truman, we've had a bipartisan relationship with the state of Israel that's been strong and healthy and steady. And today, if one looks at that relationship between the president and the prime minister, it's probably as bad as I've ever seen in my adult life, and I'm 82 years old," Rumsfeld said.

Republican House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to Netanyahu — or any other foreign leader — to address the bipartisan Congress is absolutely permissible, according to Rumsfeld.

"There's no question but the Congress has a role in the foreign policy, national security decision making, at least in two important respects," said Rumsfeld, who served as defense secretary under President George W. Bush.

"First it's the United States Senate that has to ratify or not ratify any treaty. Second, it's the United States House of Representatives that has the constitutional responsibility to initiate all money bills."

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The trumpeting by the administration that both the invitation and Netanyahu’s acceptance have somehow constituted a breach of protocol and damaged the countries' relationship is ludicrous, he said.

"Prime Minster Netanyahu was correct yesterday in his remarks in Washington, when he said that this was the most publicized speech in history that's not yet been made. So all they've managed to do is call a great deal of attention to the speech."

Echoing Netanyahu’s sentiments, Rumsfeld said that Obama and his Cabinet need to understand that for Netanyahu and Israelis, the possibility of a nuclear Iran means something much different than it does for the United States.

"The Iranian nuclear program is a matter of security, an important matter of security, but for the state of Israel it's a matter of survival," he said. "The Iranians have repeatedly said they want to eradicate or incinerate, shove the state of Israel into the sea.

"Iran is supporting terrorism in a great many countries across the globe, and it seems to me that to behave the way the White House is behaving to the state of Israel is unfortunate and, as I say, a distraction from the important question."

A country worried about its survival "reacts somewhat differently to a country that's looking at its security interests," Rumsfeld added.

The Obama administration’s unremitting desire to strike a deal with Iran at any cost is concerning, he said.

"I don't quite understand why the United States government is negotiating the way it is," Rumsfeld said. "It seems to me the purpose of a negotiation is to get a deal that's in our national security interest. The purpose of negotiating is not to get a deal, any deal, it's to get a deal that accomplishes your goal.

"From what I've seen from the leaks in the press, it's the kind of arrangement that probably the United States would be best walking away from if we can't move it to a point where it's in our national security interest."

Asked if he thinks a nuclear Iran is a threat to the United States, Rumsfeld said that he doesn’t know enough about Tehran’s nuclear program, not having followed it closely enough since leaving government, but "what I do know is that Iran has a lot of American blood on its hands that they're supporting terrorism in a number of countries — and that's a danger to our national security."

He noted that Iran has long cooperated to trade technology with countries like North Korea, among others, resulting in it being able to advance its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

"Some years back, they launched a ballistic missile from a cargo ship," Rumsfeld said. "They don't need intercontinental ballistic missiles to threaten other nations in the event they eventually do achieve a nuclear weapon."

He blames Obama for creating a leadership vacuum in the Middle East that is being filled by "people who wish ill and do not have our values or our interests."

"The United States cannot afford to step back from the world," Rumsfeld said.

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The "undiplomatic way" the Obama White House has handled Congress' invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu distracts from the real issue: a potentially nuclear Iran, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told Newsmax TV on Tuesday.
Donald Rumsfeld, netanyahu, congress, obama, nuclear
Tuesday, 03 March 2015 11:11 AM
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