The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take

From Fox’s Special Report with Bret Baier Friday, February 3, 2012

On reports that Israel is planning to attack Iran’s nuclear program:

There is no country on earth that is constantly threatened by its adversaries with annihilation and extermination. [Other] countries have disputes over borders, over interests, fishing rights, or whatever. But there is only one country under the threat of complete annihilation.

[Iran’s supreme leader] Khamenei spoke about that explicitly [in a statement Friday]: “To cut out the cancer,” there is no other understanding of that — when the Iranians parade their missiles publicly, written on them is “Death to Israel.” So everybody understands what it’s about.

The Israelis know all of the possible problems with an attack. They know they’re going to get thousands of rockets from Lebanon, from Gaza, even from Iran. There are going to be all kinds of other attacks. It isn’t as if the Israelis are naive and don’t understand the risk. But they are uniquely under the threat of extermination. And what [Defense Minister] Barak was explaining is [that] there will be a conflict. It’s only: Will it be a nuclear one or a non-nuclear one?

And that’s why I would guess the Israeli high leadership has decided it will attack. The only question is when. That, I think, that’s what Panetta was essentially saying yesterday. And I interpret what he said — unless it was an error — if it was a deliberate leak, I interpret it as a warning from the Obama administration to Israel, “Don’t do it,” and an announcement to the world, “We tried to stop the Israelis. We are not involved. Don’t hit us in retaliation.”

On the efficacy of economic sanctions against Iran:

The administration insists on sanctions, and it is true that the economic sanctions are having economic effects. But when we heard the testimony earlier in the week of all the chiefs of American intelligence, they were asked one question: Have any of these sanctions — and the economic effects — had any influence whatsoever over the progress of the nuclear program? The answer was zero.

Meaning, in a decade of sanctions, it’s had an effect on all kinds of other things, the collapse of the currency, et cetera. But the one constant has been that it’s had no effect on the progress of Iran’s nuclear program.

On Friday’s jobs report showing 8.3 percent unemployment and lower labor force participation:

[Labor force participation] is smaller. But one of the reasons that it looks as if there were a lot of people who dropped out of the force — some people had said a million — it’s actually a misreading. It’s a change in the population [to reflect] the [2010] census. It changed on January, 2012. ….

In fact, [in January] a quarter of a million people who had despaired and were no longer looking [for work] started looking again, which would normally raise the unemployment rate. In fact, it fell, which is a very good sign. And if it continues at this rate, it would drop the rate by a point every year, which would really help Obama.


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