In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "The Age of Protest," Thomas Friedman writes:
"I asked Dov Seidman, the author of the book 'How' and C.E.O. of LRN, which advises companies all over the world on leadership and how to build ethical cultures, for his take on this age of protest.
. . . .
With all of this moral arousal, it’s as if 'we’re living in a never-ending storm,' he said. Alas, though, resolving moral disputes 'requires perspective, fuller context and the ability to make meaningful distinctions.'
That requires leaders with the courage and empathy 'to inspire people to pause to reflect, so that instead of reacting by yelling in 140 characters they can channel all this moral outrage into deep and honest conversations.' If we can do that — a big if — Seidman concluded, 'we can be truly great again because we’ll be back on our journey towards a more perfect union.'"
Ah yes, a "more perfect union" anchored upon "deep and honest conversations," which brings me to yesterday's State of the Union address in which President Obama declared:
"We also can’t try to take over and rebuild every country that falls into crisis. Even if it's done with the best of intentions. That’s not leadership; that’s a recipe for quagmire, spilling American blood and treasure that ultimately will weaken us. It’s the lesson of Vietnam. It's the lesson of Iraq, and we should have learned it by now.
Fortunately, there is a smarter approach, a patient and disciplined strategy that uses every element of our national power. It says America will always act, alone if necessary, to protect our people and our allies, but on issues of global concern, we will mobilize the world to work with us, and make sure other countries pull their own weight.
That’s our approach to conflicts like Syria, where we’re partnering with local forces and leading international efforts to help that broken society pursue a lasting peace.
That’s why we built a global coalition, with sanctions and principled diplomacy, to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, and as we speak, Iran has rolled back its nuclear program, shipped out its uranium stockpile, and the world has avoided another war."
"America will always act, alone if necessary, to protect our people"? I suppose that is why Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian is still confined to a cell in Iran's notorious Evin Prison.
Obama is "partnering with local forces and leading international efforts to help that broken society pursue a lasting peace"? Oh really? As Michael Gerson observed yesterday in a Washington Post opinion piece entitled "On foreign policy, Obama was ‘behind the curve’":
"Historians will also record the collapse of sovereignty at the heart of the Middle East, creating a vacuum that has attracted, inspired and empowered some of the worst people in the world. These events have produced more than 250,000 Syrian dead, including more than 10,000 children; driven one of every five Syrians from their country; resulted in a refugee crisis that now reaches to Europe and beyond; revealed the United States as an unreliable strategic partner; and allowed Iran and Russia to make a play for greater regional influence."
"[A]s we speak, Iran has rolled back its nuclear program, shipped out its uranium stockpile, and the world has avoided another war"? Fascinating. No mention of Iran's recent ballistic missile tests in violation of UN Security Council resolutions. No mention that two weeks ago, Iran fired a rocket 1,500 yards away from the USS Harry S. Truman in the Strait of Hormuz. No mention that Iran seized two US Navy vessels on Tuesday, and at the time of the SOTU address, it was holding their crews captive. What will happen to the 10 American sailors? As was reported by Iran's Fars News Agency:
"Senior Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) officials in Tehran said Washington's claims about the immediate release of the 10 US marines detained in the Persian Gulf on Tuesday are no more than guesses, cautioning that Iran's national interests are no joke.
. . . .
Senior US officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry, are in contact with their Iranian counterparts to release the US marines, but according to Iranian officials, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has told Kerry that the US should extend a formal apology first."
And although Obama decided yesterday not to address the capture of the naval boats and their crews in his SOTU address (claiming that an apology was received, Iran has released the crews), White House Spokesperson Josh Earnest stated yesterday in response to Jake Tapper's question why, in light of recent Iranian provocations, the US is preparing to grant Tehran sanctions relief:
"Because these were sanctions that were imposed on Iran over their nuclear program, and as soon as Iran takes the steps that they’ve committed to take and those steps can be verified by international nuclear experts, then we’ll know that Iran will not develop a nuclear weapon.
. . . .
We continue to be concerned about this situation. That precisely is why the president made preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon a top national security priority, and we’re making progress in actually accomplishing that goal."
Or stated otherwise, Obama's unsigned nuclear deal with Iran is sacrosanct, no matter what additional travesties are perpetrated by Khamenei and friends against America.
My characterization of Earnest's remarks in this "Age of Protest": Dishonest, craven and morally reprehensible. Unfortunately, in this instance, with Obama's unsigned legacy-building nuclear deal with Iran hanging by a thread, there is no room for "deep and honest conversations."