It was supposed to be Obama's first big achievement in foreign affairs. Michael Adler, who has been gushing about a new age of diplomacy and peace called it possibly "an “Audacity of Hope” moment in foreign diplomacy, a potentially transformative development." That was 12 days ago. Thursday, the Iranians announced that they rejected the deal to ship uranium out of the country for processing and asked instead for a new round of negotiations which can have only one purpose: to stall for more time as Iran works to build a bomb.
Look back over the past nine months since Obama took office. He's gone out of his way to be nice to the mad Mullahs who run Iran. He found it difficult to condemn Iran even as it was butchering it's citizens in the streets of Tehran. He bashed his own countries "arrogance" and offered to reset relations with the world. All that hope and change with nothing to show for it.
The day before Michael Adler gushed about Obama's "transformative development" Charles Krauthammer showed his prescience once again:
What's come from Obama holding his tongue while Iranian demonstrators were being shot and from his recognizing the legitimacy of a thug regime illegitimately returned to power in a fraudulent election? Iran cracks down even more mercilessly on the opposition and races ahead with its nuclear program.Yes, we even trashed politically difficult agreements with our Polish and Czech allies hoping for Russian help with Iran and we got nothing. It's actually worse than nothing. We're back to square one with Iran and we've squandered what little diplomatic and political capital we have while at the same time giving Iran's rogue regime legitimacy through high profile negotiations in Geneva.
What's come from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton taking human rights off the table on a visit to China and from Obama's shameful refusal to see the Dalai Lama (a postponement, we are told)? China hasn't moved an inch on North Korea, Iran or human rights. Indeed, it's pushing with Russia to dethrone the dollar as the world's reserve currency.
What's come from the new-respect-for-Muslims Cairo speech and the unprecedented pressure on Israel for a total settlement freeze? "The settlement push backfired," reports The Post, and Arab-Israeli peace prospects have "arguably regressed."
And what's come from Obama's single most dramatic foreign policy stroke -- the sudden abrogation of missile defense arrangements with Poland and the Czech Republic that Russia had virulently opposed? For the East Europeans it was a crushing blow, a gratuitous restoration of Russian influence over a region that thought it had regained independence under American protection.
But maybe not gratuitous. Surely we got something in return for selling out our friends. Some brilliant secret trade-off to get strong Russian support for stopping Iran from going nuclear before it's too late? Just wait and see, said administration officials, who then gleefully played up an oblique statement by President Dmitry Medvedev a week later as vindication of the missile defense betrayal.
The Russian statement was so equivocal that such a claim seemed a ridiculous stretch at the time. Well, Clinton went to Moscow this week to nail down the deal. What did she get?
"Russia Not Budging on Iran Sanctions; Clinton Unable to Sway Counterpart." Such was The Post headline's succinct summary of the debacle.
Note how thoroughly Clinton was rebuffed. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov declared that "threats, sanctions and threats of pressure" are "counterproductive." Note: It's not just sanctions that are worse than useless, but even the threat of mere pressure.
The Iranians know that Obama is a pussycat, or as Gerald Warner at the U.K. Telegraph describes him: "President Pantywaist: the new surrender monkey on the block." Our allies know Obama won't be providing the strong leadership which most of them complain about in public but demand in private (except in the case of the French President who demanded it at the UN Security Council in September). Strategic competitors like Russia and China know all they have to do is string the Obama Administration along all the while asking and most likely receiving gifts like the termination of the Polish/Czech missile deal while giving up nothing in return.
The Obama Administration demonstrates such naive incompetence on foreign policy that it's actually making Jimmy Carter's disastrous presidency look good by comparison. As an example of the idiocy which pervades Obama land, take that of Scott Gration, Obama's envoy to Sudan:
"We've got to think about giving out cookies," said Gration, who wasMeanwhile, the Iranians proceed on their way to building an atomic bomb and the kiddies running the White House take a break from bashing Fox News and send Iran's Ahmadinejad cookies and smiley faces!
appointed in March. "Kids, countries, they react to gold stars, smiley faces,
handshakes, agreements, talk, engagement."!