As President Obama delivered his final State of the Union address, America once again was given a textbook case of the contrast between the right’s erratic, dangerous leadership and Obama’s calm and effective posture.
When news broke that members of the U.S. Navy had been detained by Iran, the right went into meltdown mode.
Marco Rubio said it was part of a pattern of Iran testing a “weak” Obama administration. Ted Cruz said it was “striking” that Obama didn’t throw out his address and instead speak about the situation. Ben Carson whined, “While President Obama is complaining about global warming 10 of our American sailors are held in Iranian custody.” John McCain thundered that “Iran has already achieved a propaganda victory by announcing that they had ‘arrested’ Americans on board American warships.”
Minutes before the State of the Union address was set to be delivered, Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) told CNN that the President should consider delaying it until the seamen had been returned while Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) described the situation as “humiliating” for Obama.
The pundits were in action too, with MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough tweeting, “Hey Iran, you have exactly 300 days left to push a US president around. Enjoy it while you can. After that, there will be hell to pay.”
But as we’ve seen so many times over this presidency, while the right was throwing feces and freaking out, President Obama was getting something done. The seamen were freed on Wednesday morning without shots being fired, without a lot of noise and fury and drama, without a lot of unnecessary saber rattling.
Iran has released two United States Navy patrol boats and 10 crew members who were described as “trespassing” in Iranian waters near a major naval base, state news media reported on Wednesday.
The Pentagon and the State Department said that one of the boats had experienced mechanical problems en route to Bahrain from Kuwait on a routine mission on Tuesday, and the Iranians appeared to have accepted that explanation.
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter praised the successful resolution:
“I am pleased that ten U.S. Navy sailors have departed Iran and are now back in U.S. hands. I want to personally thank Secretary of State John Kerry for his diplomatic engagement with Iran to secure our sailors’ swift return. Around the world, the U.S. Navy routinely provides assistance to foreign sailors in distress, and we appreciate the timely way in which this situation was resolved.”
America was able to quickly and safely resolve the situation because unlike during the Bush administration, a diplomatic line of communication is now open between America and Iran. Instead of a wall of silence between the two countries, there is now a process in place to deescalate tension and an agreement now in operation to steer Iran away from becoming a nuclear state.
Instead of freaking out and pounding his fist leading to Iran making the world more dangerous, President Obama has chosen the other path and it is a brand of leadership that has and will make the world safer.
Featured image via Vox