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.
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.