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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Michael Gerson, "What is the president doing on Iran?": Naivete, Narcissism or Enfeebling Israel?

Testifying on Wednesday before the foreign operations subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee of the US House of Representatives, US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power declared:

"We will look to see what will advance Israel’s security and what will advance peace in the region."

In fact, we have heard something very similar in the past from Power, who in 2002 advocated sending a mammoth protection force to prevent a massacre of Palestinians by Israel. At the time, Power further declared:

"What we need is a willingness to actually put something on the line in the service of helping the situation. And putting something on the line might mean alienating a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import."

Needless to say, Power subsequently denied any animus toward Israel; however, she obviously now appears willing to impose a peace upon Israel of Obama's design.

Today in a Washington Post opinion piece entitled "What is the president doing on Iran?," Michael Gerson observes that a final nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 is "likely — and likely to be bad — unless Khamenei is incapable of getting to 'yes.'" Actually, such an agreement is likely only if Obama is incapable of getting to "no," notwithstanding total abrogation of the US State Department's "fact sheet," which purports to describe the basis for the Lausanne framework understanding.

Gerson concludes:

"Obama’s grand strategy, meanwhile, remains a cipher. He could believe that a nuclear agreement and the lifting of sanctions will help transform Iran into a more benevolent regional power — which is naive. He could be making the move of an uber-realist — trying to extricate the United States from involvement in the Middle East by recognizing Iranian hegemony and developing a working relationship with the worst of the worst. This would fulfill the nightmares of Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

Or Obama could have no strategy at all — in need of a political win, desperately hoping for a legacy and too invested to walk away."

Or stated otherwise, Gerson is asking whether Obama is acting out of naivete or narcissism. However, a third possibility exists: Obama sincerely believes that enfeebling Israel by empowering an implacable foe, i.e. Iran, can bring peace to the Middle East. Regrettably, this possibility, seemingly amenable to Power, cannot be discounted.

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