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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Thomas Friedman, "Look Before Leaping": Obama Gets Tough With the White House Florist

In case you didn't notice, after six years as president of the United States, Obama is finally taking no nonsense. On Tuesday, the White House florist was reportedly "escorted from the building." But wait, there's more! "Senior White House officials" are also letting us know that Israel has been spying on Iran's nuclear talks with the US. Why should it matter that the alleged spying (the information in question was freely handed over to Israel by France, a participant in the P5+1 negotiations with Iran) and was also the product of Israeli espionage involving Iran? Moreover, why should we care that the alleged Israeli spying was discovered by American "intercepts" of official Israeli communications, i.e. US spying upon Israel? And what difference does it make that Israel shared the information in question with Obama's most feared enemy . . . Congress? Netanyahu is not going to prevent Obama from giving nuclear weapons to Iran's mullahs within a decade or less! Israel must be taught that this pussy has claws!

But what about the nuclear deal that Obama is preparing to sign with Khamenei? When Obama acolyte and would-be Middle East expert Thomas Friedman publicly expresses his doubts about the wisdom of this agreement, beware! In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Look Before Leaping," Friedman writes regarding the negative aspects of such a pact:

"Not enough attention is being paid to the regional implications — particularly what happens if we strengthen Iran at a time when large parts of the Sunni Arab world are in meltdown.

. . . .

The challenge to this argument, explains Karim Sadjadpour, a Middle East specialist at the Carnegie Endowment, is that while the Obama team wants to believe this deal could be 'transformational,' Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, 'sees it as transactional' — Iran plugs its nose, does the deal, regains its strength and doubles-down on its longstanding revolutionary principles.

. . . .

[If sanctions are lifted,] Iran would have billions of dollars more to spend on cyberwarfare, long-range ballistic missiles and projecting power across the Arab world, where its proxies already dominate four Arab capitals: Beirut, Baghdad, Damascus and Sana."

Friedman fails to mention that any such agreement with Iran will ignite a Middle East nuclear arms race. If Obama allows Iran to build it first atomic bombs within a decade pursuant to the proposed agreement's "sunset clause," Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the UAE will all immediately begin their own nuclear weapons development programs. In addition, these weapons, in a region known for its instability, will - I promise you - be used.

On the "plus side," Friedman tells us:

"[T]he ending of sanctions could open Iran to the world and bring in enough fresh air — Iran has been deliberately isolated since 1979 by its ayatollahs and Revolutionary Guard Corps — to gradually move Iran from being a revolutionary state to a normal one, and one less inclined to threaten Israel.

. . . .

Patching up the U.S.-Iran relationship could enable America to better manage and balance the Sunni Arab Taliban[*] in Afghanistan, and counterbalance the Sunni jihadists, like those in the Islamic State, or ISIS, now controlling chunks of Iraq and Syria.

. . . .

For 10 years, it was America that was overstretched across Iraq and Afghanistan. Now it will be Iran’s turn."

An agreement "could" transform Iran "from being a revolutionary state to a normal one"? Isn't that a gamble lacking any rational basis?

Patching up the U.S.-Iran relationship "could" counterbalance ISIS, "now controlling chunks of Iraq and Syria"? Friedman forgets to mention that a tyrannical Iran, which hangs homosexuals and stones to death women accused of adultery, also now effectively controls significant chunks of Iraq and Syria.

And now it will be "Iran's turn" to deal with Iraq and Afghanistan? I opposed involvement of American ground forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan, but does this mean that the US should acquiesce to Iran extending its hegemony to both these nations?

Perhaps Obama is only capable of getting tough with flower arrangers.

[*I sent the following email to Andrew Rosenthal of the Times:

"In his most recent Times op-ed entitled "Look Before Leaping," Thomas Friedman writes (my emphasis in red):

'Patching up the U.S.-Iran relationship could enable America to better manage and balance the Sunni Arab Taliban in Afghanistan, and counterbalance the Sunni jihadists, like those in the Islamic State, or ISIS, now controlling chunks of Iraq and Syria.'

The Taliban is not 'Arab' (Afghanistan is not an Arab country, although there is a very small Arab minority). In fact, the word "Taliban" means 'students' in Pashto.'

Let's see if Rosenthal responds.

Thank you, "k," for pointing out this error.]


  1. "...enable America to better manage and balance the Sunni Arab Taliban in Afghanistan, ..."

    Is that a direct Tomf quote? If he thinks the Taliban are Arab just because they are Sunni, his library card needs renewal.

    Of course, Obama thought Hamid Karzai was standing next to him yesterday when it was Ashraf Ghani. Obama thinks all Pashtuns look alike, but after 14 years in Afghanistan, one would think even he would at miniminum know the Pashtuns are not Arabs. or Persians. or Punjabis.

    Who really thinks America can negotiate anything these days, or be believed?

    Maybe Obama is telling Ali Khamenei that he can keep his doctor if he signs a deal?

    fwiw, any Jew who just got their print copy of the April issue of The Atlantic is probably still in shock by the cover art for Goldberg's "Is it Time for the Jews to leave Europe". Maybe Tomf had a similar moment of clarity when he saw this cover.

    As for the ME nuclear arms race, Pakistan just needs the correct GPS aim them west instead of east.


    1. So, if TomF thinks the Taliban are Arabs, does that explain the complete ignorance of American pundits to understand that Netanyahu was talking 'Mizrahi' when he used the word "Arab" before the polls closed?

      I learned the hard way in 2008 that Mizrahis HATE being called Arab, and, for good reason, fear Arabs.

      The founding myth of Pashtuns is that they are descended from one of the lost tribes of Israel (see Olaf Caroe's 1957 anthropological history of the Pashtuns, "The Pathans").

      Maybe Obama got confused and thought Ghani was a Jew...

      I find it far more interesting that President Ghani is a Kuchi Pashtun.

      and to imagine a world with nationstates of Kurdistan, Baluchistan, and Pashtunistan. No more Iran: just a rumplet of Persia...

      thanks for listening.