As I watched the Obama/Netanyahu Press Conference Moment of More-Than-Chuck-Todd-Bargained-For live, I noticed tweets flying by saying things like:
“Chuck Todd. Sigh.”
“I know. I caught that. Hope msm is listening (Hear that FOX?) Todd’s pissing me off again tho”
Seems Chuck overstepped just a tad by jamming in more questions than was allotted to each reporter. The responses he got were in fun, but made the point.
“Chuck, How many you got? Do you guys do this in the Israeli press? You say you get one question and then you add like five? You see how the young lady from Channel One, she had one question, she was very well-behaved, Chuck?”
“These are Talmudic questions — they have iterations.”
“I thought I had four questions. Passover starts in a couple days, I get four questions, right?”
“Look, and this is not a kosher question, but don’t hog it.”
Chuck, to Netanyahu:
“My question to you was going to be, why do you believe the Israeli people have not embraced President Obama the same way they’ve embraced our last two U.S. presidents?”
“So you had to get a polling question in there right at the end. Chuck. I mean you’re just incorrigible.”
Then there was Todd’s question about why peace talks have stumbled during the president’s first term. Here is the president’s answer:
“Look, the opening premise to your question was, having failed to achieve peace in my first term, then I must have screwed up somehow… My commitment was not to achieve a peace deal in my first year, or my second year, or my third year, that would have been nice. What I said was, I was not gonna wait to START on the issue until my second term, because I thought it was too important, and that’s exactly what I did.”
Here are the opening remarks:
Um, this is kind of important. It’s also very under-reported and under-appreciated. In fact, other than Rachel Maddow, I can’t remember a single person at any cable news outlet that pays much attention to President Obama’s relentless efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons.
Remember this? Anyone? Bueller?
President Obama, 2009:
As a nuclear power as the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon, the United States has a moral responsibility to act. We cannot succeed in this endeavor alone, but we can lead it. We can start it. So today I state clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons. [applause] I’m not naive. This goal will not be reached quickly. Perhaps not in my lifetime. It will take patience and persistence. But now we, too, must ignore the voices who tell us that the world cannot change. We have to insist, yes we can.”
Now the president is renewing that push for a nuclear treaty at the United Nations. Per The Hill, progress on a treaty has been stalled due to Pakistan’s opposition:
Administration officials and arms control activists believe they now have a new window for action. They point to increased cooperation on the UN Security Council and the beginning of John Kerry’s tenure as secretary of State as reasons for optimism. [...]
[Daryl Kimball, the executive director of the Arms Control Association] said progress on Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT) would depend on cooperation from Pakistan, which harbors fears of archrival India having more access to fissile material. The five permanent members of the UN Security Council might hold side talks with India and Pakistan in April to try and move the treaty forward, he said. [...]
Kerry is seen as a potential facilitator in those talks because of his long-standing relationship with Pakistan. [...]
Kimball said that if Pakistan won’t agree to let the treaty talks proceed, another option would be for other nuclear powers to jointly declare that they will collectively observe a moratorium on fissile material production. The United States, Russia, France and Great Britain have already acknowledged they’ve stopped producing fissile material, and China is believed to have ended it as well.
Maybe it’s finally time to get this news around, whaddya think?
File under SchmoMentum: Another Republican talking point has bitten the dust, at least for now.
Now Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta smothered another one, at least for now. Apparently, Republicans can put down their military weapons, stop hyperventilating, stop frothing at the mouth, and start backing off of their accusations that President Obama (and Chuck Hagel, while we’re at it) is a big ol’ wuss, especially when it comes to Iran.
If you recall, Saxby Chambliss is one of the panicky GOP who think Iran is on the verge of having their very own nuke, and the U.S. better be ready to pounce. And by pounce, I mean attack. And by attack, I mean create a brand spankin’ new and enormous Middle East crisis. And by Middle East crisis, I mean world crisis.
“If your position is truly prevention and not containment, Chuck, what is the redline [on Iran], what is the point?” asked Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA). “We know there’s some things happening over there right now that are very serious.”
Yes, we must take Iran very seriously and keep our ideas and options wide open, but let’s not revive this golden oldie quite yet, mmkay chickenhawks?
Panetta on Meet the Press:
Leon Panetta: What I’ve said, and I will say today, is that the intelligence we have is they have not made the decision to proceed with the development a nuclear weapon. They are developing and enriching uranium, they continue to do that…
Chuck Todd: Why do you believe they’re doing that?
Panetta: I think it’s a clear indication — They say they’re doing that to be able to do their own energy source. I think it is suspect that they continue to enrich uranium, because that is dangerous, and that violates international rules.
Todd: You believe that they are probably developing nuclear weapons, but you don’t, the intelligence doesn’t —
Panetta: No, I can’t — I can’t tell you they are in fact pursuing a weapon, because that’s what not intelligence says they’re doing right now.
...he reports, a bit mysteriously, that late in the Clinton administration, the president’s authorization codes to use nuclear weapons strike were lost. He doesn’t really explain what happened or who knew about it, except that the guy who was supposed to make sure once a month that an aide to the president had the codes kept getting the runaround, and putting up with it. It turned out that an aide to the president had misplaced the codes, and had no idea where they were. The situation only came to light when it was time to collect the old codes and replace them with new ones, and the aide apparently confessed. Shelton tells the story a bit oddly — I had to read this section a few times. I am guessing that the story is about the nuclear “football” that a military aide carries. It made me wonder what happened to that aide. Also, what would have happened if the president had decided to launch a nuclear strike? (392-393)
Western and U.N. nuclear officials are evaluating a secret Iranian technical document that appears to show the country’s nuclear scientists testing a key component used in the detonation of a nuclear warhead, according to intelligence officials and weapons experts familiar with the document.
The document, if authenticated, could rank as one of the strongest pieces of evidence pointing to a clandestine Iranian effort to build nuclear weapons, said former intelligence officials and weapons experts. They were responding to a published report of alleged sophisticated research by Iran on one of the final stages in the construction of a nuclear device.
Excerpts from the technical paper, first reported on the Times of London Web site late Sunday, detail a four-year program by Iranian scientists to develop and test a neutron initiator, a device used to trigger a nuclear explosion.
Nothing says, “Trust us” like a neutron initiator.
The Iranian government approved a plan Sunday to build 10 new uranium enrichment facilities, a dramatic expansion in defiance of U.N. demands it halt the program.
The decision comes only two days after the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency censured Iran, demanding it immediately stop building a newly revealed enrichment facility near the holy city of Qom and freeze all uranium enrichment activities. [...]
[T]he announcement is likely to stoke already high tensions between Iran and the West over its controversial nuclear activities.
Nothing like escalating tensions to start our Sunday off right, huh?
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