Thursday, November 28, 2013
A Foreign-Policy Disaster
"For the first time in nearly a decade we have halted parts of Iran's nuclear program," announced a jubilant Barack Obama after the news of the just-signed Geneva six-month interim agreement with Iran.
But the American goal for the accord was that the Iranians not "advance their program" of building a uranium nuclear bomb (and perhaps a plutonium bomb too); the apparent deal exactly permits such advancement, plus grants sanctions relief to Tehran worth about $9 billion.
This wretched deal offers one of those rare occasions when comparison with Neville Chamberlain in Munich in 1938 is valid. An overeager Western government, blind to the evil cunning of the regime it so much wants to work with, appeases it with concessions that will come back to haunt it. Geneva and November 24 will be remembered along with Munich and September 29.
Barack Obama has made many foreign-policy errors in the past five years, but this is the first to rank as a disaster. Along with the health-care law, it is one of his worst-ever steps. John Kerry is a too-eager puppy looking for a deal at any price.
With the U.S. government forfeiting its leadership role, the Israelis, Saudis, and perhaps others are left to cope with a bad situation made worse. War has now become a much more likely prospect. Shame on us Americans for reelecting Barack Obama.
The goal of Obama’s foreign policy is to weaken the State of Israel
It isn’t surprising that the US and the other five powers signed a deal with Iran on Saturday. Over the past few weeks, US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry made it clear that they were committed to signing a deal with Iran as quickly as possible.
And it isn’t surprising that the deal these overeager leaders signed with the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism makes the world a much more dangerous place than it was before the agreement was concluded.
With the US and its allies far more eager to reach an accord with Iran on its illicit nuclear weapons program than Iran was, it was obvious from the outset that any deal ultimately reached, at least as long as these negotiating conditions remained in force, would facilitate rather than inhibit Iran’s quest to build a nuclear arsenal. And indeed, the sanctions relief that Iran has gained simply by signing on the dotted line will be sufficient to buffet the Iranian economy through a successful nuclear weapons test.
Iran will achieve nuclear capability while enriching itself through the deal because the deal gives Iran sanctions relief without requiring Iran to make any irreversible concessions. Indeed, Iran just received the international community’s permission to continue to enrich uranium, keep all its nuclear installations open and build new centrifuges.
While the deal isn’t surprising in and of itself, Obama’s decision to conclude it now makes clear the true goal of his foreign policy. To understand that goal, it is first necessary to consider an aspect of the deal that, on the surface, makes little sense.
The negotiations with the Iranians that culminated in Saturday night’s agreement went on for a year. And yet, the final deal reflects Iran’s opening positions.
That is, over the course of the entire year, American and European negotiators were not able to move Iran’s positions one iota.
So what has the Obama administration been doing for the past year? Since Iran’s positions were the same all along, why didn’t they sign this deal a year ago? The US’s strength relative to Iran did not diminish significantly since a year ago. So the US didn’t need this agreement more now than it did a year ago.
Clearly, Obama did not spend the last year trying to build domestic American support for a deal that enables the regime that calls daily for the annihilation of America to become a nuclear power. With Iran building military bases all over Central and South America, Obama never bothered trying to make the case to the American people that they would be more secure with this regime in possession of the capacity to kill millions of Americans with one bomb.
Obama never stood before the Congress to explain how a deal that gives America’s Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval to Iran’s illicit nuclear weapons program advances US national security. He never explained how allowing Iran to continue to enrich uranium decreases the likelihood of war.
So what did Obama need the last year for? If he wasn’t concerned with getting a less dangerous deal, and he didn’t care what the American people though about his facilitation of Iran’s nuclear weapons program, what prevented him from okaying the agreement last year? To ascertain the answer, it is worth considering Finance Minister Yair Lapid’s comments Sunday morning. Beyond noting the nuclear deal’s danger to Israel’s security, Lapid said, “I am worried not only over the deal but that we have lost the world’s attention.”
And indeed, Israel has lost the world’s attention. Its appropriately deep concerns over Iran’s nuclear behavior were belittled, ignored and derided, first and foremost by the Obama administration. Worse than belittling Israel’s concerns, which are completely shared by the Sunni Arab world, Obama and Kerry have castigated as warmongers those Americans who agree with Israel’s concerns and have attacked them as traitors who seek to push America into an unnecessary war. At the same time, they have presented the dispute as one of Israel against the rest of the world, ignoring that the Sunni Arab world shares Israel’s concerns.
Statements to this effect from US officials have been legion since the details of the deal were first divulged to Israel and the Gulf States by the French and the British three weeks ago.
The brazenness of these anti-Israel statements points to the main action that Obama and his advisors have engaged in for the past year, while not moving Iran a millimeter from its opening position at the nuclear talks.
Over the past year, Obama has engaged in systematically weakening Israel’s position both regionally and in Washington. Regionally, the US has forced Israel into talks with the Palestinians that are engineered to weaken Israel strategically and diplomatically. The US has delegitimized Israel’s legal rights to sovereignty and self-defense, while effectively justifying Palestinian terrorism as a legitimate response to Israeli actions – which themselves were perfectly legal. So, too, the US has given a green light to the EU’s illegal, discriminatory economic war against Israel.
Beyond that, the Obama administration has significantly expanded the prospect of war between Israel and Syria by leaking Israeli strikes against Syrian targets that posed a threat to Israel’s security.
The US has also weakened Israel’s capacity to take steps short of war to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons possessing state by leaking key components of Israel’s covert operations against Iran’s nuclear program.
Obama appointed outspoken critics of the US-Israel alliance to key positions in his national security team. First and foremost in this arena was his appointment of Chuck Hagel to serve as defense secretary.
The culmination of this long process of delegitimizing Israel as a warmongering, ungrateful ally and its supporters as turncoats who are forcing the US to endanger itself for the benefit of the Jewish state was the administration’s hysterical campaign against Israel and its supporters in the lead-up to Saturday’s signing ceremony in Geneva. Everyone, from the White House to Kerry, accused Israel and its supporters of trying to force the US to fight an unnecessary war.
When we consider Obama’s decision to wait for a year to sign the deal that enables Iran to become a nuclear power in the context of his main activities over the past year, we understand his foreign policy.
His goal is not to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power. It isn’t even to facilitate a rapprochement between America and Iran. The goal of Obama’s foreign policy is to weaken the State of Israel.
US Shuts Down Vatican Embassy After Striking Deal with Iran
The White House has recently announced that they will shut down the US Embassy to the Holy See, and relocate it to a “safer” location on the grounds of the American Embassy in Italy.
Officially, the US is explaining the relocation effort as a security measure in reaction to the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi. . . Because, ya know, those crazy Vatican Catholics are a naturally militant bunch. Heaven forbid someone makes an anti-Christian movie! Whoa, the whole place could erupt into a deadly string of mass prayers and forgiveness! (Ahem… Sarcasm.)
The decision on part of the US Administration to move the American Embassy is being interpreted by many as a slap in the face to the Vatican. At the very least, it is likely to produce a tension that will lead to a deterioration of US/ Vatican communication and cooperation.
Adding to the suspicion that America’s decision is primarily political, and not based in security concerns, is the fact that the current Embassy has state of the art security. According to former US Ambassador James Nicholson, the current location is highly secure, and pivotal to continuing relations with the Holy See.
Furthermore, the move illustrates our President’s perspective on “right” and “wrong” when it comes to world events. It says something about the Administration’s world view when they champion an Iranian Nuclear deal that lifts sanction and emboldens our enemies the very same week they withdraw diplomatic ties from the Vatican.
At least When Neville Chamberlin was trotting around Europe declaring “peace in our time”, he was primarily naïve. That’s not necessarily the case with our current leader of appeasement.
Irreconcilable Ideological Demarcation
The last five years of the Obama administration have been like living on a volcano. The country has gone from one crisis to another. The skyrocketing deficit, welfare reform, immigration policy, Social Security, and environmental regulations were just a few of the issues on which the Democrats and Republicans were far apart. Americans have been suffering a catastrophic loss of trust in their government, democratic institutions, and the president. In September 2011, Obama said he hoped that:
"in the midst of a crisis like this that we could pull America together to move forcefully on behalf of the American Dream and on behalf of all those who aspire for something better for their kids. And what has been clear over the last two and a half years is that we have not had a willing partner."
Apparently, at least half of the country does not share the president's peculiar vision of the American Dream.
After experiencing five years of infighting, not the least of which were the government shutdowns over the debt limit and Obamacare, Americans might be likely to name dysfunctional government as the most important problem facing this country. Yet Americans don't seem to be able to identify the major cause of this dysfunction. Some think it is the Tea Party, some blame Republicans in general or Democrats or both, some blame the president. Some think, and for a good reason, Barack Obama and John Boehner do not like each other. Americans continue emphasizing the obvious, overlooking the important. The inability of the Republicans and Democrats, and the president to come together and solve the nation's problems is the obvious. The important is that the current brinkmanship is another chapter in the epic struggle between socialism and freedom.
President Jefferson declared in his inaugural address that "we are all Republicans, we are all Federalists." Many years later another president reconfirmed the sentiment. In his State of the Union Address in January 1989, President Reagan said, "Yes, we will have our differences. But let us always remember: what unites us far outweighs whatever divides us."
The point both presidents were making was that we are all Americans and we all share the same ideals and aspirations: self-reliance, belief in a free-market economy, and commitment to the democratic process. It was the key reason the previous administrations, Democratic and Republican alike, despite ideological differences over a wide spectrum of issues, including the role of government and a variety of social concerns, could work out their disagreements and get important legislation passed.
The current political environment, however, is fundamentally different. The rise of Left radicalism culminated with the election of a Marxist socialist government that is fostering the replacement of American self-reliance with government dependence. The government's control over the economy and the proliferation of the welfare state, led to the emergence of the Right radicalism that is committed to the preservation of the Constitution and the capitalist free-market economy.
The radicalism on both sides became too intense, and as a result the ideological Great Divide became impossible to bridge. "The bonds of affection" Abraham Lincoln talked about in his inaugural address were broken. Any attempt to negotiate a settlement between Democrats and Republicans is doomed from the start because they are pursuing diametrically opposed visions of America.
This is a struggle directed from two bitterly opposed and ideologically hostile irreconcilable camps. One is desperately trying to preserve the old political reality and the other is aggressively fighting to replace it with a new order. Therefore, the government is not dysfunctional; it functions as should be expected in these desperate hours of a highly polarized environment of the cold civil war.
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Posted by JR at 1:41 AM