Bob Schieffer: 'What's the Difference in Iran and Russia Having a Nuclear Weapon?'

After the anti-American hostilities in the Middle East this week, one would think it's pretty obvious why it's in our interest to prevent Muslim extremists from getting nuclear weapons.

Apparently not, for CBS Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer actually asked Sunday, "What is the difference in Iran having a nuclear weapon and Russia having a nuclear weapon or China or Pakistan?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

BOB SCHIEFFER, HOST: Tom Friedman, is a military showdown inevitable in this? I mean, I, just to be the devil's advocate, let me just say, we’ve coexisted with first the Soviet Union and now Russia for a long, long time, and they have nuclear weapons. What is the difference in Iran having a nuclear weapon and Russia having a nuclear weapon or China or Pakistan?

I understand he qualified this question by saying he was playing devil's advocate, but one quite believes many in the media maybe including Schieffer really don't see a difference, even with what happened this week in Egypt and Libya.

Liberals just can't imagine what folks willing to storm our consulate and kill our ambassador might do if they possessed nukes.

For his part, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman apparently does, but with a predictable qualifier:

TOM FRIEDMAN, NEW YORK TIMES: Well, I think the argument is that this is a much more unstable regime, and the Russians, even during the Cold War, didn't, weren't out there vowing to wipe the United States off the map. So, I certainly understand why the Israelis are concerned.

From there, Friedman predictably made the case that American support for an Israeli attack on Iran would have to involve a solution to the Palestinian issue.

His point was that if the United States backed Israel in such an act of aggression without tossing a huge fig leaf to the Palestinians, we'd see anti-American attacks throughout the Middle East that would dwarf what we saw last week.

Maybe so, but should the need to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons involve the Palestinians in any way?


After all, it's Israel's national security being threatened by Iran as well as the future of the entire region.

The Israeli-Palestinian issue has existed for decades with no solution in sight. Quite the contrary, when Yasser Arafat was presented with 97 percent of his demands by President Clinton and Prime Minister Ehud Barak in 2000, he refused and instead began the Al-Aqsa Intifada.

With this in mind, neither America nor Israel should be tying its anti-nuclear Iran requirement to concurrently appeasing Palestinians, especially as so many of them side with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's desire to wipe the Jewish state off the face of the map.

It's not surprising the pro-Palestinian Friedman doesn't get this - most of his ilk don't and never will.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.