With Iranian-backed Houthi rebels running rampant in Yemen, Iranian-backed militias committing ISIS-style atrocities in Iraq, and Syria mired in a hell imposed by Iranian-backed madman Bashar al-Assad, Ignatius, in a Washington Post opinion piece entitled "Deal or no deal, the Iran talks have borne fruit," would have us know that Obama's failed negotiations with Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei in Lausanne have reaped measureless bounty. Ignatius writes:
"Whatever the endgame produces, it’s useful to focus on the process of negotiation itself, which is nearly as important as whether there’s a sustainable deal.
First, there is the fact of U.S.-Iranian engagement. For more than 18 months, Iran has been in direct talks with a power it once demonized as the 'Great Satan.' Iranian hard-liners certainly remain, but the nation that chanted in unison 'Death to America' is probably gone forever."
"[T]he nation that chanted in unison “Death to America” is probably gone forever"? Yeah, right. As recently as 10 days ago, Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei responds to chants of "Death to America" by declaring "Of course yes, death to America."
"President Obama’s personal investment in this process is easy to forget, since so much of the heavy lifting has been done since 2013 by his tireless secretary of state, John Kerry. But it was Obama who conceptualized the outreach and pledged in his inaugural address in January 2009, in clearly decipherable code: 'To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect.'"
Ah, yes, "mutual respect." Saudi Arabia and its Sunni Arab allies are livid with Obama, and as regards "mutual respect," Ignatius might also wish to contemplate the ongoing incarceration of WaPo reporter Jason Rezaian in Iran's notorious Evin Prison since July 22, 2014.
Of course, Obama the Great and Wonderful could not, according to Ignatius, have ever foreseen the disaster that befell the Muslim Middle East as the result of the Arab Spring:
"What Obama couldn’t have anticipated was how the Arab revolutions that began in 2010 would shatter regimes in Egypt, Syria, Libya and Yemen and weaken the Sunni Arab world. The Saudis and the United Arab Emirates, in particular, were terrified. Iran, fighting through its proxies, seemed to be on the march — making the idea of a regional accommodation with Tehran all but unthinkable. The Sunni world was too weak for a grand bargain."
True, if someone was stupid enough to believe the rosy reporting of would-be Middle East expert Thomas Friedman (whose recent claim that the Taliban is "Arab" required a New York Times correction at my insistence) from Tahrir Square in 2011, one might honestly believe that we would all be singing "Kumbaya" in 2015. However, one regime not shattered in 2009 was that of Supreme Leader Khamenei: Consumed with his own televised overtures to the tyrannical mullahs, Obama sat on the sidelines as Iran's Green Movement, begging for the US president's intervention, was mauled on the streets of Tehran by the Revolutionary Guards' Basij militia.
"Keep your eye on the details of the Iran nuclear negotiations as they emerge. But many of the big, transforming changes in the region are already underway."
"[B]ig, transforming changes in the region are already underway"? Oh really? In case you didn't catch it, Basij militia chief Mohammad Reza Naqdi declared earlier this week that "erasing Israel off the map" is "nonnegotiable." Yup, David, everything has changed as a result of Obama's earthshaking overtures to Tehran.
[I have asked Ignatius to correct his claim that "the nation that chanted in unison 'Death to America' is probably gone forever." Let's seee how he responds.]