Tag Archives: american foreign policy

The Iran Treaty Sideshow

iran nuclear treatyNo one in the West, with the exception of Obama, is hailing the Iran Nuclear Treaty as a piece of brilliant diplomacy or even as a bit of realpolitik; it is a crappy deal with limited inspections and a set of pious promises which, even now, hardline Iranians are indicating they will not keep. Of course it is possible that the US Congress will have the wit to defeat the treaty and Obama’s veto of that defeat but that will take an act of statesmanship which, I suspect, is well beyond the reach of the low information legislators America insists upon electing. A measure of just how bad this treaty is can be had by noting that Russia and China both fully support it.

There are many pixels being dispatched on what the treaty “means”. My view is that the treaty itself means nothing at all because Iran has no intention of any but the most cosmetic compliance with its provisions. What the treaty signifies is much clearer – the United States, under Obama, is prepared to be seen caving into a third, or maybe fourth rate, power at the cost of long standing aliances in the region. bin Laden’s remarks as to the “strong horse” seem prescient in the circumstances. Not that the US did this alone – it had assorted Euro drips along for the ride.

The treaty is, in fact, a sideshow. The main event is an American President saying to the world that America was no longer willing or able to stand up for its allies or even itself. This is the treaty’s real significance.

We saw the beginning of the collapse when Obama drew a red line on Assad’s use of chemical weapons and then allowed that red line to fade out of existence. If anyone was paying attention, and the entire Middle East was, that failure of nerve signalled the collapse of any serious American involvement in the Middle East. From ISIS to Iran, from Syria to Saudi, America hauling down its battle colours told a shocking but apparently true tale of a President willing to countenance crimes against humanity for the sake of a quiet life.

There is a perfectly legitimate line of neo-isolationist argument that says that the US is well rid of the Middle East and its endless wars. But that was not the argument Obama was following; in fact it is not clear that there was any particular rationale at all for the American retreat. America’s allies could make of that what they would. They could also consider America’s ill-advised support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt or its bizarre “pinpricks and lily pads” strategy for dealing with ISIS. But what the Middle East and the world could not ignore was that America has largely given up any coherent strategy in the region. Embracing the humiliations inflicted by the Iranians in the treaty negotiations was just another instance of America’s tacit surrender.

My own interest in the Middle East is almost entirely focused upon Israel. It is a country which I admire and support and I think, contrary to the current Israeli commentary, today’s treaty was a huge win for Israel. One way or another Iran was going to get a nuclear device in the next few years. And the Muslim mystics who run the place are on record as saying that Israel is their first target. The fact Obama sold the farm to get a crappy treaty which might delay the reality of a nuclear Iran for a few years gives the Israelis two huge benefits: first, they know exactly where they stand vis a vis the US. What little trust there had been is now gone. At the same time, the Americans, for domestic reasons but also because they need to try to contain Israel’s actions, are going to spend the next year or two bolstering Israel’s defences any way they can.

Israel has been screwed by this treaty. But it does nothing to change the fact Israel was going to have to deal with a nuclear Iraq sooner rather than later. Now, at least they know that they cannot count on the US when they confront Iran and that means they really have nothing to lose in the manner of that confrontation.

In the course of praising his abortion of a treaty the ever dim John Kerry announced that Iran has the nuclear material to make ten bombs right now. (He claims that the treaty will ensure the destruction of this material…right.) No sensible Israeli war planner will assume that the diplomatic dimwits have found all the material and will further assume that Iran either has or will very soon have at least a couple of bombs. So will any Saudi or Egyptian general. So will anyone interested in the region. So, the simple question to be answered is whether Iran is to be permitted a first strike.

Oddly, the idiot treaty does not change that calculus. Because there are no surprise inspections, because there was no disclosure of the Iranian secret progress to date, the only rational expectation is that Iran has the bomb. A good treaty might have managed to extinguish that expectation, but this treaty leaves Iran’s neighbours with exactly the same level of concern.

The Israelis have their calculation to make, the Saudis have another. While Israel holds a place in Iranian mythology as the little Satan, Saudi Arabia is a much more basic enemy. The Shia/Sunni war is a basic fact of the Middle East. The whole of Israel could be evacuated to Vancouver Island (Just the Jews please, the Israeli Arabs can stay to welcome the Palestinian “refugees”.) and the Shia/Sunni war would continue. If the Iranians had just one bomb and the choice was between Riyadh and Tel Aviv it is not obvious which would be picked. But, and this might tip the scales, if Iran hits Israel, Iran will have large sections which will be glassed in a matter of minutes. The Israelis have that capability. The Saudis do not. Yet. (United Saudi/Israeli opposition to deal...who would have seen that coming?)

If Iran has a bomb or is about to get one, the Saudis will absolutely want a bomb of their own. And they have the money to buy several from the North Koreans or the Pakistanis. Unlike the Israelis, the Saudis do not have a history of proportionate, nuanced response to aggression.

In general treaties are supposed to make the world a marginally safer place. The Iran Nuclear Treaty did the precise opposite. It made an already unsafe region less safe. And it revealed the intellectual bankruptcy of the Obama regime.

UPDATE: The great Mark Steyn says:

But that’s not what the talks were about. Obama’s vision of the post-American Middle East sees Iran as the dominant power, and that’s what the negotiations were there to finesse. As I said to Sean, Obama’s belief that American power and influence has been bad for the world extends beyond America itself to America’s allies. So on missile defense he takes the side of Russia over US allies like Poland and the Czech Republic; in the Falklands he takes the side of Argentina over the United Kingdom; and now in the Middle East he takes the side of Iran over the Sunni Arab monarchies and Israel.

This agreement will have bloody and brutal consequences.

Mark Steyn

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Liberals Fail…but it doesn’t matter

American foreign policy

Soft Power

Liberals don’t see failed liberal policies as “failed,” any more than people of faith think that unanswered prayers are “failed” prayers. The difference is that people of faith abnegate themsevles in prayer to a wholly-other divine person, while liberal poster-children subject the world to the narcissistic demands of their own spiritual needs. Jody isn’t the first to make the point. “Remember the war against Franco/That’s the kind where each of us belongs,” sang Tom Lehrer. “He may have won all the battles/But we had all the good songs.” But he makes it in a theologically-informed way that exposes the phemonology of liberal self-worship.

The slaughter in Syria is a minor annoyance to the poster children, whereas peace and prosperity in Israel are cataclysmic disasters. That sounds funny, but it isn’t to the liberals: bringing a liberally-conceived peace to the Middle East is one of those Great Opportunities for Redemption, and to miss it is a tragedy of unimaginable proportions. Darwin forbid that Israel might carry on as a pocket superpower in science, business, and the arts, educating and empowering a new Arab middle class, without submitting to the demands of liberal theology. It’s not only John Kerry who stands to lose his last shot at a Nobel Prize. Liberals of all stripes stand to lose the chance, to demonstrate that particularity (or example, Zionism) is inherently wrong and that liberal universality is right. Spengler, PJ Media

The disaster that is Obama’s flight from the real world no longer even has the virtue that it might prevent war. The Assad regime is back to gassing children , the Russians are playing cat and mouse in Ukraine, there is a full scale civil war in Iraq and the Taliban are simply flowing back in Afghanistan.

And why not? The Rices and the Powers and the excretable Kerrys of the Administration have taken it upon themselves to make America loved rather than feared. To no one’s surprise this has meant America is mocked, ignored and rendered incapable of intervention where intervention is needed. The Syrian red line’s erasure marked the end of the Obama regime’s international credibility.

Unfortunately, there is nothing to do but to wait out the term of this sorry little man and the midgets who surround him. The best America and the rest of the world can hope for is that the damage he is doing is reparable.

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The crunch and clangs you are hearing is the sound of the car wreck which passes for American foreign policy at the moment.

Russia is not keen at this stage for a binding U.N. Security Council resolution that would provide a framework to control Syria’s chemical weapons’ stocks, France’s foreign minister said after talks with his Russian counterpart on Tuesday. reuters

There was never much chance that Syria and Russia would actually act to sequester the chemical weapons. In the middle of a civil war it is not all that terrifically easy to deal with the logistics leave aside the politics.

However, faced with certain defeat in the House and a good chance of defeat in the Senate and the American people 3 or 4 to 1 against the idy, biddy, no really, really small, attack on Syria, Obama needed a way out. Putin threw a lead life buoy and the very dim Obama and the even dumber Kerry grabbed it. (The laughter echoing through the halls of the Kremlin can be heard in Damascus.)

Hitting Syria, or, more accurately blowing a raspberry in its general direction, was not the credibility piece here. Everyone knows that the US has awesome raspberry blowing capacity. The credibility was all about the President’s ability to deal with a complicated international situation. While the Court Press will hail the Russian “deal” as proof Obama can wield the power of his office for a peaceful outcome, anyone paying attention will know just how badly he and his team have done.

The audience here is not the Washington tounge bathing media nor, in fact, the American people: rather it is the Iranian, North Korean, Syrian, Russian, Israeli, Egyptian and world strategic elite. People whose job it is to assess the resolve of the American President.

I rather suspect that, no matter what the Big Zero and his spinners say tonight, the universal verdict will be:


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