Krauthammer’s Take

by NRO Staff

From The O’Reilly Factor Monday, January 2, 2012

On why Iran tested a long-range missile now:

Well, perhaps they wanted to remind us that there’s a world outside Iowa. The reason [Iran is] doing it now is because of a bill that passed the House and the Senate [and that] the president signed on New Year’s Eve that compels the president to impose really harsh sanctions on Iran. That’s what they’re worried about. That’s why they did the saber rattling. That’s why they threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz….

The sanctions … [target] the Central Bank of Iran, which means anybody who does business with Iran cannot do any [business] with the U.S., which means it can’t export any oil. The Europeans will join us in a boycott of Iranian oil. The economy would collapse, and the mullahs… — that’s what they’re really afraid of.

On the sanctions against Iran in the Defense Authorization Act:

 [The sanctions are tough] except for one thing. The president managed to weaken the bill at the last minute. The bill includes a kind of waiver that gives the president 180 days — that means until July 1 — to study how this will affect the oil markets. …

Then is there’s another waiver, where he can say, for national security reasons, he’s going to exempt India or South Korea or somebody else.

In other words, the administration has worked to put loopholes in here, and now it’s entirely up to the president. Is he strong enough to say, “We’re now going to execute the single most important sanction that we can do”? Because if he doesn’t, there’s only a single option left… Military attack, probably by Israel.

That’s what the maneuvers are all about. They’re trying to intimidate one man. Not the Senate, not the House. They’re trying to intimidate the president…. It’s now up to the president: Will he impose the sanctions that we’ve been waiting for, for three years, for five years, for 10 years, that could really change the regime? Or will he not? It’s entirely up to him.

On whether we should be surprised that Newt Gingrich did not respond to campaign attacks more strongly:

No. Because… the reason that he could be the subject of literally hours of negative attacks is because he had hours of negative baggage in his history, unlike any other candidate: apostasies, wall-to-wall, that were easy to highlight and to cite.

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