Netanyahu is right?to sound the alarm

The recent editorial criticizing Benjamin Netanyahu's efforts to persuade the United States to articulate "red lines" for Iran's illegal nuclear weapons program was flawed in two major ways. First of all, The News asserted the mistaken idea that such "red lines" are rarely if ever seen in U.S. foreign policy. Yet recent history is replete with use of such "red lines," from the current one stated by President Obama that Syrian use of chemical weapons against its own citizens will precipitate U.S. military action, to President George H.W. Bush's "red line" limiting Iraq's maintenance of its military occupation of Kuwait, to President John F. Kennedy's "red lines" against Soviet importation of nuclear-armed missiles to Cuba.

The second major flaw was the assertion that Netanyahu is attempting to interfere in American politics by advocating such "red lines." In fact, the United States has often been urged by its allies to undertake various actions without similar condemnation by The News. For example, I am quite sure that it never condemned Winston Churchill's efforts to persuade President Franklin Roosevelt to act against the Axis powers as interference in American politics. Similarly, when President Ronald Reagan was urged by Margaret Thatcher to assent to Britain's retaking of the Falkland Islands, a request that President Ronald Reagan refused, The News did not describe this as an attempt to interfere in American politics.

Netanyahu is rightly sounding the alarm about the global threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, and rightly calling for the rest of the world to stand up to this threat. The use of "red lines" in addressing such a threat is in the best traditions of American foreign policy, and is in accordance with American values, politics and national interests.

Daniel H. Trigoboff