On the subject of bleak (and dull-witted), Thomas Friedman, in a New York Times op-ed entitled "Impossible Missions," discusses Professor Michael Mandelbaum's new book called “Mission Failure: America and the World in the Post-Cold War Era.” Warmly recommending the book, Friedman writes:
"In earlier historical epochs the world relied on imperial powers to come in and control zones of weak governance, as the Ottomans did for 500 years in the Middle East. Then it relied on colonial powers. Then it relied on homegrown kings, colonels and dictators to maintain order.
But what if we’re now in a post-imperial, post-colonial and post-authoritarian age? The kings, colonels and dictators of old did not have to deal with amplified citizens deeply connected to one another and the world with smartphones. The old autocrats also had vast oil resources or aid from superpowers in the Cold War to buy off their people. What if they now have bulging populations, dwindling oil revenues and can’t buy off their people or shut them up?
The only option is more consensual government and social contracts among equal citizens."
Ah yes, Arab Spring II and another Green Revolution in Iran! I can assure you that Morsi and Khamenei know of other options. Go back to sleep, Tom.
Meanwhile, on the subject of Iran, Congressman Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, expresses concern in a Washington Post opinion piece entitled "The United States must not aid and abet Iranian money laundering," that the Obama administration intends to provide Iran with access to the American financial system in exchange for . . . nothing. Royce writes:
"Last summer, in testimony to Congress, Lew vowed, 'Iranian banks will not be able to clear U.S. dollars through New York, hold correspondent account relationships with U.S. financial institutions, or enter into financing arrangements with U.S. banks.' As the secretary made clear, 'Iran, in other words, will continue to be denied access to the world’s largest financial and commercial market.'
Yet when I questioned Lew just two weeks ago about whether he stood by this testimony, he refused to give a direct answer. And so this appears to be just the latest in a long pattern of concessions to protect the president’s 'legacy' deal. In recent months, the administration gutted a new law to strengthen the visa waiver program to please the Iranians and has imposed only minimal sanctions on Iran’s missile program — even as Iran launches missiles stamped with the words 'Israel must be wiped off the face of the earth.'"
You mean to say that the Obama administration, which promised Americans that if they liked their doctors and healthcare plans, they could keep them, in order to sell Obama's "legacy" Affordable Care Act, also lied to Congress to sell his "legacy" nuclear deal with Iran? Yes, I know: Obama's omniscient ends justify his unscrupulous means.
And so we had John Kerry telling us that Iran "absolutely" deserved access to US dollars, although none other than Obama recently acknowledged that Iran is not abiding by the "spirit" of the nuclear deal, and notwithstanding Iran's test launches of ballistic missiles.
The ballistic missiles? As reported by Adam Kredo in a Washington Free Beacon article entitled "Congress Investigating Obama Admin Deception on Iran Nuke Deal":
"[C]ongressional leaders are concerned that the administration no longer considers recent Iranian ballistic missile tests a 'violation' of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231, which codifies the nuclear deal.
Top administration officials including Secretary of State John Kerry vowed to Congress that Iran would be legally prohibited from carrying out ballistic missile tests under the resolution.
Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., shifted course last week, refusing to call recent Iranian launches a 'violation' in a letter she signed criticizing those launches."
Repercussions in the Middle East owing to Obama's duplicity? Read what Yousef Al Otaiba, the ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the US, has to say in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece entitled "One Year After the Iran Nuclear Deal" about Obama's promise that the nuclear deal with Iran would "make the world safer":
"Sadly, behind all the talk of change, the Iran we have long known—hostile, expansionist, violent—is alive and well, and as dangerous as ever. We wish it were otherwise. In the United Arab Emirates, we are seeking ways to coexist with Iran. Perhaps no country has more to gain from normalized relations with Tehran. Reducing tensions across the less than 100-mile-wide Arabian Gulf could help restore full trade ties, energy cooperation and cultural exchanges, and start a process to resolve a 45-year territorial dispute.
Since the nuclear deal, however, Iran has only doubled down on its posturing and provocations. In October, November and again in early March, Iran conducted ballistic-missile tests in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions.
In December, Iran fired rockets dangerously close to a U.S. aircraft carrier in the Strait of Hormuz, just weeks before it detained a group of American sailors. In February, Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan visited Moscow for talks to purchase more than $8 billion in Russian fighter jets, planes and helicopters.
In Yemen, where peace talks now hold some real promise, Iran’s disruptive interference only grows worse. Last week, the French navy seized a large cache of weapons on its way from Iran to support the Houthis in their rebellion against the U.N.-backed legitimate Yemeni government. In late February, the Australian navy intercepted a ship off the coast of Oman with thousands of AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades. And last month, a senior Iranian military official said Tehran was ready to send military 'advisers' to assist the Houthis.
The interference doesn’t stop there. Since the beginning of the year, Tehran and its proxies have increased their efforts to provide armor-piercing explosive devices to Shiite cells in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. A former Iranian general and close adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called for Iran to annex all of Bahrain. And in Syria, Iran continues to deploy Hezbollah militias and its own Iranian Revolutionary Guard to prop up Syria’s Bashar Assad.
. . . .
If the carrots of engagement aren’t working, we must not be afraid to bring back the sticks. Recent half measures against Iran’s violations of the ballistic-missile ban are not enough. If the aggression continues, the U.S. and the global community should make clear that Iran will face the full range of sanctions and other steps still available under U.N. resolutions and in the nuclear deal itself."
"Bring back the sticks"? Reinstate the sanctions? Sorry, but not if it means that a narcissistic Obama must acknowledge that he was dead wrong.