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Obama's Iran Policy
Ahab’s Shipmates Head for Lifeboat

With each passing day, more and more of the President’s supporters are letting it be known that, however supportive they are of an Iran deal as an abstract proposition, they are getting cold feet about the actual direction of U.S. policy. Today, it’s Frederic C. Hof, President Obama’s former point man on Syria, who’s written on the Atlantic Council’s website that:

It speaks volumes that a White House furious with the Prime Minister of Israel feels no apparent anger toward Iranian leaders who facilitate slaughter in Syria. No doubt, Mr. Netanyahu has said and done things that have provoked dismay, frustration, and anger. He is not, however, the person mainly responsible for keeping in place a Syrian political actor who for four years has waged a campaign of mass murder that has destroyed Syria, conjured the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL), and destabilized a neighborhood filled with allies and friends of the United States. The energy expended to punish Prime Minister Netanyahu might be more usefully vectored toward protecting Syrian civilians from Assad and his principal benefactor.

The bipartisan consensus against Obama’s Middle East policy is getting wider and deeper all the time.

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  • WigWag

    Yemen is on the verge of civil war. Assad has perpetrated the greatest humanitarian disaster since Pol Pot in Cambodia. Iraq is coming apart at the seams. ISIS is running wild. Lebanon is a sectarian mess. Egypt is busy with the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Libya. Jordan has its hands full with radical Islamists.

    Does any of this trouble President a Obama?

    Nope; he’s got much bigger things to worry about. He’s heard that an Israeli family in Efrat plans to add a second bathroom to their modest family home and Prime Minister Netanyahu refuses to stop them.

    You got to give it to Obama; his priorities are truly unique.

    • Tom

      Maybe. I’d put Assad behind Rwanda and the Ethiopian famine.
      Other than that, yes.

    • Andrew Allison

      Much as I despise conspiracy theories, I’ve begun to wonder what Obama’s goals really are.

      • rheddles

        Really? It was a conspiracy theory in 2007. By 2009 the facts had started adding up leading to no other conclusion. Fundamental transformation.

      • Boritz

        One (1) determined guy.

      • Tom

        There are no conspiracy theories required. Obama is simply doing as he has always done in foreign policy–unless forced, never do anything Bush might have considered doing.

  • JR

    But what about the all-powerful Jewish Lobby? Surely we can blame the JOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOS somehow….

  • Ellen

    What all of this shows is what a cowardly, craven, foreign policy elite we have in this country. It has taken these people, not all of whom are mediocrities and infatuated with Obama, this long – 6 years – to realize what a disaster his MidEast policy has been? Where have these people been all of this time? All of this accumulating incompetence and gross misinterpretation of factual evidence has snowballed into an unstoppable disaster.

    What Mr. Obama and his sycophants (albeit, fewer of them all the time) are now reaping is the total collapse of most of the Arab states in the Levant. That is, except for the oil monarchies, who have bought themselves a little time, and General Sisi’s Egypt which is finally in the hands of a man genuinely trying to reform that very backward country.

    Israel will emerge from this chaos and bloodshed as the strongest country in the region (even more than Iran, which is in a state of decline), and Netanyahu will wreak his revenge when he sees fit, 1-2 years from now. And these fools have been repeating the mantra for years that Israel’s control of the West Bank is unsustainable? Everything in the MidEast is proving to unsustainable EXCEPT Israel’s control of its own sovereign state and the West Bank. What a bunch of blinkered, bigoted morons Obama and his crew have turned out to be. He should return to Rev. Wright’s church and rant there, instead of from his White House pulpit.

    • Andrew Allison

      Ellen, much as I sympathize with your sentiments, I suspect that the foreign policy elite (the minions who actually know where to find their own . . . assets) know as well as the rest of us what an utter shambles US foreign policy has been. We should not be too quick to blame them for the un-American activities of the appointees and their sycophants.

    • adk

      “He should return to Rev. Wright’s church and rant there…”
      Just you wait. Carter’s post-presidential behavior and rants will be an example of seriousness and responsibility compared to what Obama will have to say.

    • Gene

      I agree with Andrew Allison that the foreign policy elite know full well how badly things have been done for a long time now. But public choice theory and human nature also tells us that people like Hof have important jobs and reputations that they are loath to jeopardize. They will protect their own careers and their place in the firmament of “respectable” leading opinion no matter what. (And BTW I’m not sure I would behave any differently in their shoes.) People in that situation will keep their language civil and restrained and their criticism muted far longer than those of us who comment on blogs.

      The same ethic is behind the restrained language and persistent benefit-of-the-doubt-giving we see from the distinguished scholars who write for this site.

    • FriendlyGoat

      Why would Netanyahu wait 1-2 years to wreak his revenge? You’re suggesting that the revenge Netanyahu actually seeks is getting a new GOP president to do the war-making on Iran. You’re probably right about that, but we should all be asking who is the dupe in that scenario?

  • jburack

    Is it too little, too late? The Iran deal appears almost done. Meanwhile, the assault on Israel intensifies. This next 21 months may be the most dire and critical time so far. Will we survive them or will Obama’s destructive policies turn the tide to war irreversibly?

  • ljgude

    Until recently I have done a self check on myself about who I think will become president in 2016. Understand I have little enthusiasm for Hillary, but if I had to put serious money on who I think will win it has been Hillary all the way. Even with the MSM covering for him Obama’s course seems ruinous to me. Worse by far than Carter. If he keeps it up I believe some Republican will get elected…any Republican with a heartbeat. Carter was a pleasant if ineffective fellow, but his bumbling clearly helped elect Reagan. Unilaterally imposing postcolonial foreign policy and a deeply flawed health care ‘reform’ on the country will create a legacy alright that could become an albatross around the Democratic party’s neck for some time to come. New faces will arise eventually, but one problem is that Obama was the new face of the Democratic party and now their only chance is to go with the old familiar face. I don’t know how far the man is prepared to go but we have all seen the beginnings of a veto proof majority begin to form like thunder heads on the horizon. Most presidents back off when they see their own party begin to desert them – much less sic the Justice Department on his critics within the party as he has with Bob Menendez. This one doesn’t seem to understand what he is unleashing.

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