John Pilger and Joshua Frank have written on Obama’s centrist positions and I would like to add my supporting views. Senator Obama’s views of late toward Iran and the Arab-Israeli conflict are not shifts to the center or flip-flopping in his policies. The senator has always viewed Iran as a threat to world peace and has always supported Israel and current Israeli policy toward the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip. Now, he merely expands on his already expressed beliefs that somehow were ignored or forgotten by his die-hard supporters. He is also on track with the Democratic Party leadership in Congress. Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh published two articles in the New Yorker magazine which laid out the collusion of both Democratic and Republican leaders in the House and the Senate, and the fact that they are aware of current military action against Iran.
In his book, Audacity of Hope, published in 2006, Senator Obama wrote, “Our dependence on oil… undermines our national security. A large portion of the $800 million we spend on foreign oil every day goes to some of the world’s most volatile regimes Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Venezuela, and, indirectly at least, Iran… We need to maintain a strategic force posture that allows us to manage threats posed by rogue nations like North Korea and Iran… and to meet the challenges presented by potential rivals like China.”
In a March 2007 speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Obama blamed Hezbollah for the violence in Lebanon and, in turn, blamed Iran for supplying Hezbollah; claiming Iran is a major threat to world peace.
Then, in October 2007, Senator Obama criticized Senator Hillary Clinton voting in favor of a resolution to allow President Bush a “blank check” to attack Iran. Obama opposed the resolution which called an Iranian military unit a terrorist organization. He nevertheless views Iran as a threat to world peace.
In his June 4, 2008 speech before AIPAC, he continued the claim that, “Iran’s President Ahmadinejad’s regime is a threat to all of us… The danger from Iran is grave, it is real, and my goal will be to eliminate this threat… Finally, let there be no doubt: I will always keep the threat of military action on the table to defend our security and our ally Israel. Sometimes there are no alternatives to confrontation. But that only makes diplomacy more important.”
He continued to describe himself as a “friend of Israel” and a supporter of AIPAC. He proclaimed a bond between the United States and Israel that is “rooted in the shared values” of the two nations. His concerns extended to Holocaust deniers, such as President Ahmadinejad of Iran and “terrorist groups and political leaders committed to Israel’s destruction… Those who threaten Israel threaten us,” Obama stated. He will make sure Israel is armed to deal with any “threat.”
These views parallel the mainstream of Democratic Party thinking. So, rather than surprise, it is important that critics realize that Obama is merely expanding on his statements and has always held a centrist policy with regards to Iran.