Where are the president's priorities?

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Republican candidate Mitt Romney responded, saying, “This is time for a president who will shape events in the Middle East, not just be merciful or be at the mercy of the events.”

Romney is right. The U.S. cannot watch our buildings be attacked and our countrymen murdered. It’s time for a strong and direct foreign policy.

Obama’s boldest statement came when discussing Iran’s nuclear capabilities. He said, “Make no mistake: A nuclear-armed Iran is not a challenge that can be contained. It would threaten the elimination of Israel, the security of the gulf nations and the unraveling of the nuclear nonproliferation treaty.”

He went on to say that there is “still time and space” to resolve the issue through diplomacy, but that time is “not limited.”

This bold statement appears to be nothing but empty words.

Just days after Obama’s “tough talk,” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad countered, claiming that Iran also has long-range drones capable of reaching Israel or other Mideast targets.

Ahmadinejad also warned that if Iran’s nuclear facilities were attacked, the nation would plant as many as 5,000 mines in the Strait of Hormuz, at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, and cut off the flow of one-fifth of the world’s oil.

These threats sent jitters through the region and caused gas prices to spike.

In his address on Sept. 27, Netanyahu reminded us that Iran was on track to build an atomic bomb by next summer. He urged the global powers, especially the U.S., to set a strict limit on Iran’s nuclear fuel production. Crossing this “red line” limit would trigger a military strike.

Some question Ahmadinejad’s threats. Do we really want to wait to see if they’re real? Obama’s foreign policy has been a complete failure, and his “apologetic” policies have sent a message that you can attack our embassies and murder our representatives with impunity.

During this time of turmoil, we can no longer apologize. It is time to stand up with our allies, like Israel, and continue our fight for democracy.

Al D’Amato, a former U.S. senator from New York, is the founder of Park Strategies LLC, a public policy and business development firm. Comments about this column? ADAmato@liherald.com.

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