George Graham

When Good Sense Prevails



The President’s State of the Union speech was a humdinger, resounding oratory with a core of reasonableness and perceptiveness. But to me, the most compelling argument for his policies transpired behind the scenes, away from the cameras and the politics.

President Obama didn’t mention it in his speech. but you can bet it was on his mind.

obama2For while he was talking about the need for optimism and cooperation in Washington, two US Navy vessels and 10 crew members were being held by the Iranian National Guard.

The ships had strayed into Iranian territorial waters yesterday morning and the Guard had captured them.

Imagine what that could lead to if any of the Republican presidential candidates were in the White House instead of Barack Obama.

Imagine what that could have led to a year ago.

But because the man in the White House is sensible and sane, nothing dramatic happened. Secretary of State John Kerry picked up the phone and called Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif (photo above). He explained the ships had accidentally strayed off course when one of them developed engine trouble.

Today, the two patrol boats and their crews are headed home.

To me, that illustrates the power of diplomacy and the value of common sense. In the face of bitter opposition, the President insisted on talking to the Iranians, working out a deal to stop them from developing a nuclear bomb.

The pact is to take effect in a few days.

Kerry had developed an amicable personal relationship with the Iranian foreign minister during the negotiations, and Iranian officials said this was one reason for the sailors’ quick release.

That’s the pact you may have heard Republican presidential candidates and media pundits raging against.

They want war with Iran, not diplomacy.

As for me, I would much rather have a peacemaker in charge of America’s armed forces than a hothead. War must be the last resort, not the first choice, of any candidate who wants my vote.

Click for more on the incident.

Click for the President’s speech.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for