Magazine article Tablet Magazine

McConnell Shows How It's Done

Magazine article Tablet Magazine

McConnell Shows How It's Done

Article excerpt

Mitch McConnell, Republican from Kentucky and the Senate Minority Leader, presented a model tonight, I thought, of how to criticize administration policies without inappropriately politicizing Israel's security (unlike others). "The current administration's policies," he said, "however well intended, aren't enough."

But it wasn't just his Southern politeness. McConnell presented rigorous, specific grounds for disagreement with the president: and not with his values or even his strategies, but his tactical policies.

Joining with AIPAC, he identified Iranian weapons-capability as the crucial red line, referring, in language borrowed from Israeli Defense Minister Barak, to a "zone of immunity from which [Iran] can coerce and intimidate other countries."

Laying out Iran advances, McConnell concluded: "These things present not only a compelling case against Iran, but also, regretfully, against the administration's current efforts to halt the Iranian regime's nuclear weapons program."

And: "The question isn't whether we have the same goal. We do have the same goal. The question is why the administration's efforts haven't succeeded in halting Iran's nuclear weapons program."

His answer? The first two years and change of engagement were an abject failure. "The administration's mistake has been to attempt negotiations and sanctions consecutively rather than simultaneously," he said. Again, disagree if you want, but there is no reason McConnell shouldn't be allowed to respectfully point this out. …

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