Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Mike Pompeo Takes Charge

Deposed former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is out and around denouncing the Trump administration for what he sees as its insufficient passion for the truth. The message rings well in the precincts of the alt-left. It’s consistent with the message the #GetTrump crowd has been proselytizing these many months.

It makes some sense that Tillerson would want to suck up to the media. He failed miserably as Secretary of State. He did not seem to have any real understanding of foreign policy. Now, he wants to preserve his reputation in the media by echoing its favorite talking points. In truth, his willingness to mouth arguments that he does not understand shows why he is no longer America’s leading diplomat.

Yesterday, the new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo outlined the new administration strategy toward Iran. The Iranian government poo-pooed it, and America’s alt-left media commentators also dismissed it as: nothing new, unrealistic, nowhere as good as the great Obama sellout. You do not need to pay any attention to these comments. They have one single idea that they pursue monomaniacally: Obama good; Trump bad.

For our edification we turn to a savvy foreign policy analyst, Eli Lake of Bloomberg. Lake explains in detail the clear and important policy shift that Pompeo is proposing. If nothing else it makes you very thankful that the new Secretary is as intelligent as he is. America’s foreign policy is now in good hands. It’s been a while.

First, Lake explains that Pompeo overturned three key assumptions that produced the Obama sellout:

These are: that America can live with Iranian regional aggression in exchange for temporary limits on its nuclear program; that the 2015 nuclear bargain expressed the will of the international community; and that Iran's current elected leadership can moderate the country over time.

How did Pompeo change the equation?

Obama argued that for all of the instability Iran sowed in the Middle East, it was worth relaxing sanctions on Iran's banking system and oil exports in exchange for limitations on its nuclear program. Pompeo says that deal was a loser. "No more cost-free expansions of Iranian power," Pompeo said. Speaking of the commander of Iran's Quds Force, Qassem Suleimani, America's top diplomat said he "has been playing with house money that has become blood money; wealth created by the West has fueled his campaign."

Obama was willing to empower Iran and to give it the means to grow its economy… in exchange for delaying its nuclear program. We mention what everyone knows, namely that the inspection regimen that Obama and Kerry allowed was extremely porous.

Lake continues that the Obama negotiation excluded many of the most important stakeholders—the nations of the Middle East. It was the Obama brand of internationalism. Pompeo has announced that he is ending that bias:

Pompeo on Monday also took aim at one of the more insidious elements of Obama's diplomatic strategy, which was that the countries most effected by the change in U.S. policy toward Iran — Israel and America's Arab allies — were not included in negotiations. The negotiators of the deal were the U.S., China, the European Union, Iran, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom. Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were briefed later about the talks.

Now the Europeans, Russians and Chinese are part of a much larger group America wants to press the Iranians to change their ways. "I want the Australians, the Bahrainis, the Egyptians, the Indians, the Japanese, the Jordanians, the Kuwaitis, the Omanis, the Qataris, the Saudi Arabians, South Korea, the UAE, and many, many others worldwide to join in this effort against the Islamic Republic of Iran," Pompeo said.

Pompeo listed twelve demands that would guide American policy henceforth:

Those demands covered a range of activities, from releasing U.S. citizens arrested in recent years to removing all personnel from Syria and allowing unfettered access to nuclear inspectors to military sites. If Iran complies, Pompeo said the Trump administration would support a treaty agreement (something Obama did not do) that would give Iran access to American markets and full diplomatic recognition.

Naturally, the Obamaphile left has declared the demands to be unrealistic. Lake says that they are missing the point. Obama and Kerry normalized Iran and granted it considerable respect. Iran used the money to destabilize the region and to support terrorism. As for its slowing down its nuclear program, we do not really know what happened:

As many commentators have already quipped, the chance of Iran meeting these conditions is zero. But that misses an important point. In his enthusiasm for a bargain with Iran, Obama was willing to normalize a nation that was aiding and abetting a horrific crime against the Syrian people, overthrowing the government in Yemen and undermining the elected one in Iraq. It arrested U.S. citizens even as its diplomats were negotiating the nuclear deal. It shipped missiles to terrorists in Lebanon aimed at Israel.

All of that was worth it, Obama and Kerry insisted, because Iran had agreed to place temporary limits on its nuclear program that would expire over the next 10 to 20 years. But the norms that separate rogue states from international citizens were weakened in the process. Pompeo on Monday took the first step in trying to restore them.

Pompeo has provided a framework for future policy. Considering that he was working with the appalling situation he had inherited, his is clearly a step in the right direction.

1 comment:

Sam L. said...

"Yesterday, the new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo outlined the new administration strategy toward Iran. The Iranian government poo-pooed it, and America’s alt-left media commentators also dismissed it..."

I wish to take issue with "alt-left". It seems like "Ctrl-left" is a more apt term of description, as "control" is what the Left wants.

See http://www.scifiwright.com/2017/02/ctrlleft/#more-17841