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Monday, April 6, 2015

Thomas Friedman, "The Obama Doctrine and Iran": Mr. President, Impotence Is Not a Foreign Policy

Obama is desperate to drum up support for his interim nuclear "understanding" with Iran, whose terms, as described by a US State Department "fact sheet," are being hotly contested by Tehran, and in furtherance of this goal, the president summoned Thomas Friedman, captain of his New York Times cheerleader squad, to the White House on Saturday. Over the course of a lengthy interview published by the Times under the caption "The Obama Doctrine and Iran," Obama sought to convince Friedman that the understanding reached in Lausanne represents the "best bet by far to make sure Iran doesn’t get a nuclear weapon" and a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity." Aware, however, that Netanyahu doesn't think so, Obama plied Friedman with reassurances concerning his kindly feelings toward Israel:

"Now, what you might hear from Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu, which I respect, is the notion, 'Look, Israel is more vulnerable. We don’t have the luxury of testing these propositions the way you do,' and I completely understand that. . . . But what I would say to them is that not only am I absolutely committed to making sure that they maintain their qualitative military edge, and that they can deter any potential future attacks, but what I’m willing to do is to make the kinds of commitments that would give everybody in the neighborhood, including Iran, a clarity that if Israel were to be attacked by any state, that we would stand by them. And that, I think, should be ... sufficient to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see whether or not we can at least take the nuclear issue off the table."

Fascinating. During Israel's most recent 2014 war with Hamas, Obama cut off military supplies to Israel, after Israel objected to Obama's choice of Qatar and Turkey as mediators. Obama has Israel's back in the event of war? No way.

And then fantasy took hold of Obama's mind, as he began to describe the purported terms of his "understanding" with Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei. The president declared:

"For us to examine those options and say to ourselves, 'You know what, if we can have vigorous inspections, unprecedented, and we know at every point along their nuclear chain exactly what they’re doing and that lasts for 20 years, and for the first 10 years their program is not just frozen but effectively rolled back to a larger degree, and we know that even if they wanted to cheat we would have at least a year, which is about three times longer than we’d have right now, and we would have insights into their programs that we’ve never had before,' in that circumstance, the notion that we wouldn’t take that deal right now and that that would not be in Israel’s interest is simply incorrect."

Missing, however, is any explanation how Obama and friends might be able to monitor future "off-site" development of nuclear weapons, e.g., in North Korea. Also, Obama makes certain not to make reference to the conclusions of R. Scott Kemp, Assistant Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, that a "breakout time of three months is technically possible under the current text of the deal."

Concerning future inspection of Iranian nuclear facilities, Obama went on to say:

"Obviously, a request will have to be made. Iran could object, but what we have done is to try to design a mechanism whereby once those objections are heard, that it is not a final veto that Iran has, but in fact some sort of international mechanism will be in place that makes a fair assessment as to whether there should be an inspection, and if they determine it should be, that’s the tiebreaker, not Iran saying, 'No, you can’t come here.' So over all, what we’re seeing is not just the additional protocols that I.A.E.A. has imposed on countries that are suspected of in the past having had problematic nuclear programs, we’re going even beyond that, and Iran will be subject to the kinds of inspections and verification mechanisms that have never been put in place before."

Yeah, right. Who is going to adjudicate such disputes? The United Nations? Moreover, by the time any such adjudication is finished, favorably or unfavorably to the US, Iran will be in possession of an atomic bomb, thus rendering any such procedure futile. By the way, the Iranians are now taking the position that their consent to surprise inspections is only temporary. At this juncture of the interview, Friedman himself declared, "A lot of people, myself included, will want to see the fine print on that."

When asked about the lifting of sanctions against Iran, Obama replied:

"There are still details to be worked out, but I think that the basic framework calls for Iran to take the steps that it needs to around [the Fordow enrichment facility], the centrifuges, and so forth."

Obama can spin all he wants, but he is fully aware that Iran expects a cessation of all sanctions upon the signing of a final deal in June.

The interview's grand finale? Obama declared:

"[I]t’s possible that Iran, seeing the benefits of sanctions relief, starts focusing more on the economy and its people. And investment starts coming in, and the country starts opening up. If we’ve done a good job in bolstering the sense of security and defense cooperation between us and the Sunni states, if we have made even more certain that the Israeli people are absolutely protected not just by their own capacities, but also by our commitments, then what’s possible is you start seeing an equilibrium in the region, and Sunni and Shia, Saudi and Iran start saying, 'Maybe we should lower tensions and focus on the extremists like [ISIS] that would burn down this entire region if they could.'"

The president honestly believes that Iran (which, inter alia, hangs homosexuals, stones to death women accused of adultery, persecutes Baha'is, Christians, Kurds and Sunnis, and hangs poets for "waging war on God") and Saudi Arabia (which, inter alia, beheads persons for the crime of "witchcraft and sorcery" and punishes women who are gang raped with whipping and jail time) are morally superior to ISIS? Unfortunately, Obama, still so very much in love with himself, may never wake up to reality.

1 comment:

  1. Harvard law school in action: words words words, no sign of reality. The Dem Party is all lawyers, which is why we get est. 1000 pages of regulation for dust in Iowa :)

    The real Obama Doctrine? If he could, #44 would send the Marines into Yarmouk while publicly criticizing Israel for oil drilling on the Golan Heights instead of installing more solar panels in Tel Aviv (in his view, the only possibly legal Jewish settlement colony in palestine).