The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Friday, November 25, 2011


The Washington Post is generally no enemy of the President. It is surprising, therefore, that the WaPo Editorial Board is beginning to question the President’s soft power diplomacy with respect to Iran. In an Editorial Board Opinion, they write:
THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION pledged that Iran would suffer painful consequences for plotting to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington and for refusing to freeze its nuclear program. Key European allies and Congress — not to mention Israel — are ready for decisive action. But on Monday the administration unveiled another series of half-steps. Sanctions were toughened on Iran’s oil industry, but there was no move to block its exports. The Iranian banking system was designated “a primary money laundering concern,” a step U.S. officials said could prompt banks and companies around the world to cease doing business with the country. But the administration declined to directly sanction the central bank.

The result is that President Obama is not even leading from behind on Iran; he is simply behind. At the forefront of the Western effort to pressure Tehran is French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who issued a statement Monday calling on the European Union, the United States, Japan, Canada and “other willing countries” to “immediately freeze the assets of Iran’s central bank” and suspend purchases of Iranian oil. France rejects the Obama administration’s view that these steps would cause a counterproductive spike in oil prices. In any case, higher oil prices are preferable to allowing an Iranian bomb — or having to take military action to stop it.

It’s encouraging to see that some of the President’s staunchest supporters in the media are finally beginning to recognize the vacuity of his administration’s naïve and ineffective foreign policy decisions.

Two years ago (almost to the day), I wrote:
Our pathetic attempts at controlling nuclear weapons development in Iran continue as (to quote the AP): “The United States and five other world powers … meet Friday in Brussels to discuss what measures can be taken to punish Tehran for its refusal to halt its nuclear enrichment program.”

The West has been all too happy to adopt President Obama’s “soft power” approach. As I predicted month’s ago, it has been an abject failure. Obama’s naive attempts at detente impressed his fans on the Left, but have done nothing but project an image of weakness. … harsh words don’t much impress the bad actors in Tehran, unless they’re backed up by a credible threat of force. The Mullahs know, to an absolute certainty, that force is now off the table. So words—even harsh words—mean little.

About four months earlier (July, 2009), I commented on the prevailing meme among many commentator’s on the Left who counseled “strategic patience” with respect to Iran.
According to many on the Left we should do nothing, hoping against hope that change will occur within Iran. But doing nothing will more likely allow the Iranian Islamist regime to strengthen it hold on Power and at the same time ensure that they’ll have a nuclear weapon that might completely destabilize the region. Because if we do anything, the Left argues, it will allow the Iranian Islamist regime to strengthen its hold on Power and at the same time ensure that they’ll have a nuclear weapon that might completely destabilize the region.

Two and a half years later, what happened? The Obama administration did nothing ... and Iran's regime strengthened it's hold on power, and based on recent IAEA reports, Iran is well on its way to a nuclear weapon. Hmmm, the Left's notion of strategic patience didn't work out too well, did it?

Still earlier, just five months into his Presidency (May, 2009), Barack Obama was naively trying to reason with the leaders of both North Korea and Iran by “reaching out” to each. My comments at the time:
Both NoKo and Iran make outrageous threats and then soften their rhetoric if "talks" are promised. They might even agree to a few things, with no intention of keeping their promises. They talk to buy time and that they get. Time to build nukes. Time to prepare for aggressive action. Time to fortify their defenses.

I don’t mean to belabor the point, but President Obama is supposed to be a smart guy, not a dummy like Bush. You’d think he’d better understand the rules of the big game. Like it or not, he’s a player, and to date, he's certainly no Kobe Bryant.

It’s taken some time, but the WaPo editorial board has finally figured it out:
By now it should be obvious that only regime change will stop the Iranian nuclear program. That means, at a minimum, the departure of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who has repeatedly blocked efforts by other Iranian leaders to talk to the West. Sanctions that stop Iran from exporting oil and importing gasoline could deal a decisive blow to his dictatorship, which already faced an Arab Spring-like popular revolt two years ago. By holding back on such measures, the Obama administration merely makes it more likely that drastic action, such as a military attack, eventually will be taken by Israel, or forced on the United States.

The WaPo editorial board is right. But what they say now was “obvious” three years ago.