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Obama spikes Iran Nuke football

Obama spikes Iran Nuke football

Obama runs to Thomas Friedman at NY Times for softball interview.

President Obama defended his deal to Iran to Thomas Friedman of The New York Times yesterday. It was a bad deal and it represented a retreat on nearly every single element of the deal.

In any case this is what Obama told Friedman:

“We are not measuring this deal by whether it is changing the regime inside of Iran,” said the president. “We’re not measuring this deal by whether we are solving every problem that can be traced back to Iran, whether we are eliminating all their nefarious activities around the globe. We are measuring this deal — and that was the original premise of this conversation, including by Prime Minister Netanyahu — Iran could not get a nuclear weapon. That was always the discussion. And what I’m going to be able to say, and I think we will be able to prove, is that this by a wide margin is the most definitive path by which Iran will not get a nuclear weapon, and we will be able to achieve that with the full cooperation of the world community and without having to engage in another war in the Middle East.”

And what about the opposition to the deal?

”I think it’s doubtful that we get a lot of current Republican elected officials supporting this deal,” he said. “I think there’s a certain party line that has to be toed, within their primaries and among many sitting members of Congress. But that’s not across the board. It’ll be interesting to see what somebody like a Rand Paul has to say about this. But I think that if I were succeeded by a Republican president — and I’ll be doing everything that I can to prevent that from happening — but if I were, that Republican president would be in a much stronger position than I was when I came into office, in terms of constraining Iran’s nuclear program.

Of course this ignores the many retreats taken by the administration, which would prompt doubts in even the most loyal partisans. The Kirk-Menendez bill which forced oversight of the bill that the president desperately sought to avoid passed both houses by overwhelming majorities. So there is plenty of skepticism on the Democratic side.

And here’s how President Obama framed it elsewhere:

“I welcome a robust debate in Congress on this issue,” Obama said. But “now is not the time for politics or posturing.”

However, Obama also promised to veto any legislation that would derail the deal. In other words he wants only debate that leads to a specific result. Then he doesn’t was a robust debate, he wants a rubber stamp session. As with Obamacare he’s stuck with only Democratic support, though opposition is bipartisan, but postures that only his way is the right way.

Later, Obama justified his deal:

The president added: “And what I’ve also tried to explain to people, including Prime Minister Netenyahu, is that in the absence of a deal, our ability to sustain these sanctions was not in the cards. Keep in mind it’s not just Iran that paid a price for sanctions. China. Japan. South Korea. India — pretty much any oil importer around the world that had previously import arrangements from Iran — found themselves in a situation where this was costing them billions of dollars to sustain these sanctions.
“In some ways, the United States paid the lowest price for maintenance of sanctions, because we didn’t do business with Iran in the first place. They made a significant sacrifice. The reason they did was because my administration, our diplomats, and oftentimes me personally, were able to persuade them that the only way to resolve this nuclear problem was to make these sanctions bite. And if they saw us walking away from what technical experts believe is a legitimate mechanism to ensure that Iran does not have a nuclear weapon — if they saw that our diplomatic efforts were not sincere, or were trying to encompass not just the nuclear program, but every policy disagreement that we might have with Iran, then frankly, those sanctions would start falling apart very rapidly. And so, maybe Iran wouldn’t get $150 billion, but they’d get a big chunk of that, because we would not be able to sustain that support.”

First of all what Obama seems to be saying, he knows that the existing sanction regime when he came into office could not be maintained and this deal was the only way to maintain them. (Of course this implies that he got whatever deal he could, not the best deal.)

But a European arms control expert wrote an account of the Obama administration involvement in the nuclear talks. Here’s what he wrote:

However, it appears that some EU members were also worried about the possible drawbacks of full US engagement.79 There was a concern that a more prominent US role might reduce Europe’s leverage to
prevent a military escalation. At the same time, some EU states feared that the USA might shift the goalposts for a diplomatic solution. France particularly opposed any softening of policy on Iran.80

As the Obama administration was becoming privately convinced that the goal of zero enrichment as part of a final agreement with Iran was probably unrealistic, France continued to insist that Iran should not be allowed any enrichment under a future agreement.81 In June 2009 the British Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Bill Rammell, emphasized that while the UK welcomed Obama’s commitment to engage in a dialogue with the Iranians, this was ‘not an open-ended offer’. Should Iran not be ready to fulfill international conditions by the end of 2009, Rammell said, ‘we’re going to be in a much tougher position on sanctions’.82

Thus, ironically, ‘as [the USA] was ready to move toward diplomacy, the enthusiasm for engagement in parts of Europe was waning’.83

A more likely explanation is that Obama signaled his interest in reaching out to Iran. Others in the international community saw his disinterest in keeping Iran as a pariah state and maintaining sanctions. In other words, it appears quite likely that the lack of interest in maintaining the the sanctions regime, was because of how others read Obama’s resolve.

Finally Obama offered this about his successor:

“He will be in a position to know that 98 percent of their nuclear material has been shipped out. He would know that the majority of the centrifuges had been removed. He would know that there is no heavy reactor there. He’d know that the international community had signed on to this. He would know everything that we’ve learned from the inspection regime. And he’d still be in possession of the entire arsenal of our armed forces, and our diplomatic and intelligence services, to deal with the possibility that Iran was cheating. … They’re not going to admit that now. And that’s entire hypothetical, because I feel good about having a Democratic successor. But I think that this builds on bipartisan ideas, bipartisan efforts. We could not have succeeded without the strong support of Congress on a bipartisan basis to impose the sanctions we did on Iran. They deserve enormous credit for that. And as we implement this I think it will prove to be not just good for us but good for the world.”

But Iran will be a lot richer. With even greater influence in the Middle East. It may not have broken out with a nuclear test yet but its nuclear program will be no more than a year away.

The sanctions regime will have been shredded, so nothing short of military force would dissuade Iran from going nuclear. Iran likely has a hidden nuclear program, the scope of which we probably still won’t know. If Iran is suspected of cheating, there will be a committee, that includes Iran, that will make a determination, no sooner than a month, meaning that the threat of “snap-back” sanctions is meaningless.

Friedman asked Obama no hard questions, though he allowed Obama to address his own criticism that the United States had not done enough to force Iran to give up its nuclear program. Of course this was an interview, a chance for Obama to spike the ball.

And Friedman was there to be Obama’s stenographer.

What would have been nice would have been for Friedman to ask Obama just one tough question. Like: if all the punishments for Iran’s illicit enrichment program are erased, how can you hope to enforce the nuclear nonproliferation regime in the future?

The interview displayed Obama in all of his arrogant self-assuredness abetted by a journalist who hoped to be a part of history rather than do his job.

[Photo: The New York Times / YouTube ]


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“The interview displayed Obama in all of his arrogant self-assuredness abetted by a journalist who hoped to be a part of history rather than do his job.”

That’s because they look up to and want to be just like Walter Duranty…..

Finally, Barracula has this to say about his successor:

“He will be in a position to know…

“He would know that the majority…”

And so forth.

So. NOT a ringing endorsement for Hellary, huh? Or any woman. Sexist pig.

As Rush said yesterday, you can’t look at what has been done here to our interests and the implications for the future and not be stunned.

Why? Two reasons…

1. magic thinking by the Obami

2. a lust for legacy.

When (not if) war breaks out with Iran at its heart, Obama will blame someone else with the exact same assurance that he now shows when he claims that Republicans are criticizing the surrender (better word than Deal) only because he’s not a member of their party.

Thomas Friedman, admirer of the Chinese government’s “managed economic” success. One Red to another.

smalltownoklahoman | July 15, 2015 at 9:30 am

What’s really diabolical about this is Obama’s deliberate weakening of our military. He’s practically ensured that when Iran goes nuclear on it’s enemies we will hardly be able to do anything to stop them. This is especially true if Iran waits till right at the end of O’s term or shortly thereafter before they strike, doing as much damage as they can before whoever comes after Obama can build back up our military enough to put a stop to the mad mullahs.

Desert_Rat45 | July 15, 2015 at 10:42 am

It gets worse. According to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action everyone at the conference agreed to:

Europe and the United States will “cooperate with Iran on the implementation of nuclear security guidelines and best practices,”

This will include “training courses and workshops to strengthen Iran’s ability to prevent, protect and respond to nuclear security threats to nuclear facilities and systems as well as to enable effective
and sustainable nuclear security and physical protection systems,”

“Training and workshops” would “strengthen Iran’s ability to protect against, and respond to nuclear security threats, including sabotage, as well as to enable effective and sustainable nuclear security and physical protection systems,”

If Israel or Saudi Arabia are going to do something to stop this, they’d better act fast.

How in the *world* can either party in that ‘interview’ say the things they said without knowing for certain that their words will be played back over and over when (not if) Iran sets off its first nuke on some other country, possibly ours.

They are blind to the long-term and see only today.

    Yes, and this is what leads me to believe that he is deliberately hobbling the United States both strategically and militarily against a regime that has vowed to destroy us. How is this not treason? Somebody remind me again what the penalty for treason is.

Sammy Finkelman | July 15, 2015 at 4:09 pm

Obama has got some nice rehearsed arguments, but – as is the case actually with most things he is propounding – he kind of misses the obvious flaws in his arguments.

Well, in some cases he doesn’t know – he’s not looking for them anyway, but we here have not just wrong facts, but bad logic.

Sammy Finkelman | July 15, 2015 at 4:13 pm

One flaw in his argument that Obama probably doesn’t realize:


The reason they [countries like China, Japan, South Korea and India] did [went along with the sanctions] was because my administration, our diplomats, and oftentimes me personally, were able to persuade them that the only way to resolve this nuclear problem was to make these sanctions bite.

It is not necessarily the case that they agreed on the idea that Iran needed to be prevented form getting a nuclear weapon. Any more than they agreed on the idea – and Obama says they didn’t agree – on the idea of eliminating all of Iran’s nefarious activities around the globe.

In actuality, they probably went along with the sanctions because the alternative might have been an American or Israeli attack on a type that interfered with oil exports or extending the sanctions to include a form of a secondary boycott.

They went along either because of fears of a secondary bioycott or because, in the estimation of China, a military attack might have resulted in preventing them from importing oil from Iran even more than going along with the sanctions, eiher because maybe if there was a miliatry attack something would happen to the Iranian regime, or their exporting facilities or even oil engineering equipment would be destroyed.

Obama also seems to think that if we pushed for more than just preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and were getting nothing for the time being, not a halt to terrorism and not a halt to the nuclear program either, these nations would give up on the idea of participating in sanctions altogether.

Which would mean they didn’t actually care about stopping Iran from getting a nuclear bomb, or didn’t think sanctions that included them was the way to do it.

And if they care so much about the Iranian bomb, or even wanted it to happen, and/or didn’t think sanctions meant anything, then why would agree to reimpose them if Iran was found in violation of the terms of the agreement?

“If all the punishments for Iran’s illicit enrichment program are erased, how can you hope to enforce the nuclear nonproliferation regime in the future?”

That’s just though, doesn’t Obama subscribe to this asinine ivory tower theory that says nukes for everyone will “frighten” the world into begging for non-proliferation and they are and there by engineering the “success” of groups like Global Zero or something to that effect?