Saturday, August 27, 2016

Obama Submits to the Ayatollahs

So many Americans are so dissatisfied with the two current candidates for the presidency that they are missing the real story. They ought to be horrified at the way Barack Obama has conducted his presidency. For whatever reason, they are not. The media will not allow them to do so.

And yet, the two current candidates rose up in the Age of Obama. If you think that that is a coincidence, think again.

Today’s topic, scrupulously ignored by the media and the presidential candidates, is Obama’s conduct of the relationship with Iran. Believing that he had to get a deal with the ayatollahs at any price, our bumbling president, a man who was grossly unprepared to conduct foreign or any other kind of policy, was so desperate that he allowed himself to be outmaneuvered and humiliated. When the president allows himself to be humiliated the nation is humiliated also. If you were wondering why so many people are so angry, it’s the place to look.

The Wall Street Journal’s Jay Solomon has written a book about Obama and Iran. Eli Lake has reviewed the book for the Daily Beast. 

It all began with the uprising that followed the stolen Iranian election in 2009. As opposed to the Arab Spring where the Obama administration sided with the protesters and particularly with the Muslim Brotherhood, it refused to do anything to support the rebellious masses of Iranians in 2009.

Eli Lake explains:

One of the great hypotheticals of Barack Obama's presidency involves the Iranian uprising that began on June 12, 2009, after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was announced the winner of contested presidential elections. What if the president had done more to help the protesters when the regime appeared to be teetering?

It's well known he was slow to react. Obama publicly downplayed the prospect of real change at first, saying the candidates whom hundreds of thousands of Iranians were risking their lives to support did not represent fundamental change. When he finally did speak out, he couldn't bring himself to say the election was stolen: "The world is watching and inspired by their participation, regardless of what the ultimate outcome of the election was."

But Obama wasn't just reluctant to show solidarity in 2009, he feared the demonstrations would sabotage his secret outreach to Iran. In his new book, "The Iran Wars," Wall Street Journal reporter Jay Solomon uncovers new details on how far Obama went to avoid helping Iran's green movement. Behind the scenes, Obama overruled advisers who wanted to do what America had done at similar transitions from dictatorship to democracy, and signal America's support.

Obama’s advisers wanted to support and to facilitate a transition to democracy. Our nation had done so on many previous occasions. The president overruled them. Either he had no problem with the ayatollahs or he was in thrall to a real estate developer named Valerie Jarrett. Or both.

What did the administration do?

Solomon reports that Obama ordered the CIA to sever contacts it had with the green movement's supporters. "The Agency has contingency plans for supporting democratic uprisings anywhere in the world. This includes providing dissidents with communications, money, and in extreme cases even arms," Solomon writes. "But in this case the White House ordered it to stand down."

At the time, Solomon reports, Obama's aides received mixed messages. Members of the Iranian diaspora wanted the president to support the uprisings. Dissident Iranians from inside the country said such support would be the kiss of death. In the end, Obama did nothing, and Iran's supreme leader blamed him anyway for fomenting the revolt.

Obama from the beginning of his presidency tried to turn the country's ruling clerics from foes to friends. It was an obsession. And even though the president would impose severe sanctions on the country's economy at the end of his first term and beginning of his second, from the start of his presidency, Obama made it clear the U.S. did not seek regime change for Iran.  

Why did Obama want to make the ayatollahs into friends? Apparently, if George W. saw them as members of the axis of evil, the deep thinking Obama concluded that they must be good. The enemy of my enemy… or something like that.

Clearly, he did not care that they were the leading state sponsor of terrorism. He did not think of how the world would react to see the United States providing support, recognition and money to a state sponsor of terrorism. Did Obama green light Muslim terrorism?

What did Obama do? Lake reports:

As Solomon reports, Obama ended U.S. programs to document Iranian human rights abuses. He wrote personal letters to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei assuring him the U.S. was not trying to overthrow him. Obama repeatedly stressed his respect for the regime in his statements marking Iran's annual Nowruz celebration.

His quest to engage the mullahs seems to have influenced Obama's decision-making on other issues too. When he walked away from his red line against Syria's use of chemical weapons in 2013, Solomon reports, both U.S. and Iranian officials had told him that nuclear negotiations would be halted if he intervened against Bashar al-Assad.

And, we must underscore that Obama let the situation in Syria turn into an unmitigated horror because the Iranians told him not to intervene. What else were you expecting from Jeremiah Wright’s protégé?

Finally, when it came to negotiating the nuclear deal, the Americans were no match for the Iranians:

Eventually, the Iranians wore down the U.S. delegation. At the beginning of the talks in 2013, the U.S. position was for Iran to dismantle much of its nuclear infrastructure. By the end of the talks in 2015, Secretary of State John Kerry and his team "agreed that Iran would then be allowed to build an industrial-scale nuclear program, with hundreds of thousands of machines, after a ten year period of restraint."

Other U.S. red lines were demolished too. The final deal would allow the U.N. ban on Iranian missile development to phase out after eight years, and the arms embargo against Iran to expire after five. Iran would not have to acknowledge that it had tried to develop a nuclear weapon, even though samples the Iranians collected at its Parchin facility found evidence of man-made uranium.

America gave away the store and told the Iranians that they could do as they pleased, as long as Obama’s successors would have to deal with it.

The diplomacy gave us something like a deal. The Iranians correctly concluded that Obama had granted them power, prestige and legitimacy, to say nothing of a free hand in promoting more terrorism and in developing more advanced weapons to use against the West and against Israel. And of course, the deal has set in motion a process that will most likely lead to nuclear proliferation in the region.

Lake concludes:

Kerry's diplomacy succeeded. But the Middle East got war nonetheless. "The Revolutionary Guard continues to develop increasingly sophisticated weapons systems, including ballistic missiles inscribed with threats against Israel on their nose cones," Solomon writes in the book's concluding chapter. "Khamenei and other revolutionary leaders, meanwhile, fine-tune their rhetorical attacks against the United States, seeming to need the American threat to justify their existence." 

There was a chance for a better outcome. There is no guarantee that an Obama intervention would have been able to topple Khamenei back in 2009, when his people flooded the streets to protest an election the American president wouldn't say was stolen. But it was worth a try. Imagine if that uprising had succeeded. Perhaps then a nuclear deal could have brought about a real peace. Instead, Obama spent his presidency misunderstanding Iran's dictator, assuring the supreme leader America wouldn't aid his citizens when they tried to change the regime that oppresses them to this day.

It’s the Age of Obama. If you support the president  you are in favor of coddling terrorists and defending one of the most oppressive regimes in the world. The story is out there. Nearly everyone is ignoring it.


Trigger Warning said...

If it were only coddling terrorists...

The Moron-in-Chief has wrecked everything from the military, to the EPA, to the USDA, to the IRS, and beyond. Everything he touches turns to... well, you know.

The silly berk couldn't manage a Subway shop.

Sam L. said...

I await Ares' statement for the defense.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

This just in: Iran is our greatest enemy in the world. And we just gave them $400 million in untraceable cash. And Obama loves America. Give me a break.

One has to wonder if Obama, Kerry, Earnest, et al actually believe what they're saying.

And if Trump wins, Obama will NOT be going away. He'll probably have daily press conferences. He's saying in D.C. until his youngest daughter graduates from the Sidwell Friends School, where all Obama voters are able to send their children. I love it when people say it's for "security reasons." Uh-huh. Exactly, perhaps the public schools should have more, er, security. D.C. public schools were good enough to for President Carter's daughter. Why aren't they good enough for the Clintons and Obamas? Oh yeah, "security." Don't expect the press to cover this kind of rank hypocrisy... the send their kids to pivate school, too. Public schools are for the little people. Leona Helmsley would be very much at home in today's Democrat Party.

Perhaps Jeb! and the other 15 Republican wannabes who pledged to support the party nominee could help out a wee bit by attacking Obama's presidency and Hillary's corruption instead of their deafening (and dishonorable) silence.

Ares Olympus said...

Stuart: It’s the Age of Obama. If you support the president you are in favor of coddling terrorists and defending one of the most oppressive regimes in the world. The story is out there. Nearly everyone is ignoring it.

Its still curious to me why the Right is so interested in demonizing Iran's fake democracy and supporting Saudi Arabia's true theocratic dictatorship. It looks like they are interchangeably bad, but one is our friend and one our enemy?

Its not clear how to support regime-change in any country. It would be nice to live in a world where we didn't have to coddle anyone, but we need too much oil every year to that game.

But if you're a neocon, Iran is so easy to hate. All you have to do it not look in the mirror against your own country's military and economic manipulations of the world, and pretend Iran is responsible for that too.

AesopFan said...

Ares, I can readily detest Iran's current government AND the Saudi royal family (aka government) at the same time, recognize that America doesn't have a spotless record, and STILL be aghast that we have a President activly supporting an avowed (in word and deed) enemy.
"Obama’s advisers wanted to support and to facilitate a transition to democracy. Our nation had done so on many previous occasions. The president overruled them. Either he had no problem with the ayatollahs or he was in thrall to a real estate developer named Valerie Jarrett. Or both."

Jarrett may well be the "face" of whatever or whomever Obama is in thrall to; that he is supporting Iran's interests over everyone else's is NOW inescapable.

AesopFan said...

PS to Stuart - it should be fairly clear by now that I am NOT a robot, but I have to go through the verify step for every comment, and the last foray took an unreasonable amount of time. Can I get a "trusted traveler" pass somehow?