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The Temptation of an Iran Deal
Maliki, the Mullahs and Obama’s Long Game

America and Iran both want Maliki out of power in Iraq. Does that make them strategic partners in the Middle East?

Published on: August 13, 2014
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  • Chris_8304

    Hillary as Gollum – it was worth reading to the end of the article to get that little gem.

    • Curious Mayhem

      Precious ….

    • azt24

      Yes! Can’t you see both Clintons hissing

      Nasty, tricksy thieves! Bagginses! We hates it forever! We wants our Precious!”

  • Ishmael Whale

    At this point it should be clear that Obama is dribbling the ball while watching the clock run down. Just as they did with Jimmy Carter the Iranians will let the clock run out to get a better deal with the next guy. By then they’ll have a bomb while Obama will have ensured that Israel is held at bay. The Ottomans put the middle east to sleep after 1000 years of warfare. The British, French and then Americans tried to maintain quiet after that. After 60 years of American administrations keeping the middle east from flying apart the one-two punch of Bush and Obama is blowing the place up. No single American President is going to be able to undo the mess these two have made.

  • Obama’s long game? Pray tell, what might that be? Golf while the world burns?

    He’s never had any long game> His only game is self-aggrandizement.

    • Suzyqpie

      Pres 0bama and the sycophants he has chosen to surround him, are incapable of assembling a complex plan. They have zero cognizance of formulating a goal schedule with incremental development milestones and ushering those plans to fruition. There are three kinds of people, people who make things happen, people who watch things happen, and people who wonder, what the heII happens. 0bama & Friends stand in perpetual wonderment of what the heII happens.

    • He wants to destroy the United States.

    • azt24

      Obama’s backers have a long game. Cut America down to size, make it one nation like any other, hand more and more power over to transnational agencies like the UN. That long game seems to be proceeding apace.

  • Anthony

    In view of the referenced long game (strategically), does it matter that Nouri al-Maliki is apparently on his way out as Iraq’s prime minister? (The Christan Science Monitor)

  • dfooter

    This is the foreign policy you get when “A People’s History of the United States” is your lodestar.

  • Destruction of the United States is his long game.

  • wigwag

    In his otherwise excellent essay, Professor Mead goes a little too far I think, when he compares Bill and Hillary Clinton to Gollum lusting after his “precious,” but a different metaphor does come to mind. At the end of the “Return of the King,” Frodo, Bilbo and Gandalf sail off with the Elves to the “undying lands.” The end of the days of magic had come to Middle Earth and the “age of man” had arrived. Magicians like Gandalf and the Elves were no longer relevant and those like Frodo and Bilbo who had tasted magic through the instrumentality of the Ring could no longer happily reside there either. Watching the luster of his magic wear off, it seems that President Obama has checked out emotionally and intellectually and is readying himself to sail off into that good night which is the undying lands. Hillary Clinton, firmly anchored in the here and now seems to have other ambitions.

    Given the recent anniversary of the centennial of the start of the Great War, it does seem like an appropriate time to reread Tolkien’s classic. Tolkien fought in World War I and like all of the combatants, he hated every moment of the War. Tolkien vociferously denied that Lord or the Rings was an allegory to the Great War, but I’ve always found it very hard to believe him. To me, Tolkien has a lot in common with artists clearly associated with the War like his contemporaries, Wilfred Owen, Robert Graves and Siegfried Sassoon.

    Tolkien hated war and he hated modern technology; he wouldn’t have liked the modern Middle East very much.

    • azt24

      Tolkien actually began writing some of the Elvish histories in the trenches. There was quite a fad for elves and fairies during WWI. Tolkien gave himself the mission of rescuing the elves from the vulgar Puck/Tinkerbell treatment that the original mythological elves had been subjected to during the previous four centuries of English literature, which he considered low and vulgar.

  • jukin

    I stopped reading at “and Obama’s Long Game.”

    His long game is let things go whatever way they go. If it turns out positive, it was all his doing. if, as they all do, turns out badly it is somebody else’s fault. Usual culprits, Bush, republicans, or the terrorist Tea Party.

  • Tom Servo

    “like Frodo toiling patiently across the forbidding terrain of Mordor”

    Actually he’s more like Fredo stumbling cluelessly through the forbidding casinos of Las Vegas.

  • Stacy Garvey

    Prof. Meade explains Obama’s grand strategy. Hmmmm. That grand strategy seems to be a construct of the professors imagination rather than reality. Obama and is administration embraced a handful of leftish truisms and called that policy.

  • ib1netmon

    “it’s possible that the Iranians are less interested in reaching a pragmatic and mutually beneficial relationship with Washington than in using Obama’s hunger for a transformative and redeeming diplomatic success to lure him onto a risky and ultimately disastrous course.”

    The smart money is on option “B”.

  • adk

    “…that idealistic freshman senator from Illinois thought”
    Idealistic? Thought?

  • Curious Mayhem

    Why this obsession with “strategic transformation” with Iran — it’s totally beyond me. Iran’s goal is to dominate the Middle East and chase the US out. Got that? There’s no “long game” — this is fatuous. Obama’s game is series of “short games” — reeling from one hole to the next down the fairway, in panicked reaction.

    I’ll say it slowly. The US interest in replacing Maliki is that he’s too sectarian a figure to continue to lead Iraq and expect Iraq to hold together. He’s always been Iran’s man — he spent his exile in Tehran and Damascus. The US had the opportunity to continue with Allawi in 2010, but pushed Maliki as well, even though Maliki did not win the election. Iran’s interest in replacing Maliki is the opposite: Iran wants someone more sectarian — that is, more 110% Shi’ite.

    Both the US and Iran want Maliki replaced, but for opposite reasons.

  • Attila

    Apparently so, thanks to president cockroach and the Democratic Party.
    It’s as if America was a hapless drunk who has been shoved down a flight of stairs by Zero, Reid and Pelosi. He smacks into a handrail (the “humanitarian border crisis”), bounces off (ISIL’s murderous and messianic genocide) and rolls ever downward (the ongoing bleeding of Ukraine), bang into the opposite wall (Obamacare), hits his chin on steps (ongoing attacks from HAMAS against Israel) and keeps on going over and past the landing (persistent high unemployment and the lowest workforce participation rate since 1978). The drunk will keep tumbling ever downward and America will keep declining as long as our Nobel Prize-winning, “genius”, “Spock-like” “Messiah” is in office.

  • Techster64

    He may not like the job much, but it only takes him about 30 minutes to get changed and on the first tee. What a joke for a president.

  • John Wondra

    Early afternoons, I catch up on news from NPR and the BBC. One of the leading stories on each was Iran’s refusal to extend negotiations with the U.S. beyond enrichment.
    I was so disappointed to see this as Prof. Mead’s only input into the situation while such other media luminaries as ABC and Al Jazeera were running with a Reuters story and commentary.
    This is how ABC has presented the developments:
    Iran’s Supreme Leader Dismisses Direct US Talks
    “Some pretended that if we sit down with Americans at the negotiating table, many of the problems will be resolved. We knew that won’t be the case but developments in the past year proved this reality once again,” Iranian state television quoted Khamenei as saying. “Americans not only didn’t reduce animosity but increased sanctions. They say these are not new sanctions but in fact they are new. Talks about sanctions didn’t bear any benefits.”
    Khamenei called ties and negotiations with U.S. harmful outside of very specific cases. He did not elaborate.”

    Do these recent developments affect any of the opinions expressed in the article?

  • altoman69

    Obama and his followers will be dust under the feet of the Iranians and the other radical Muslims. He will be remembered as one the most destructive of all modern figureheads. How could so many Americans be so blindly stupid as to elect this buffoon twice let alone once. Crazy sheeeite..

  • azt24

    Frodo was a modest, unwilling hero, forced into the Quest by chance (if chance you call it, as Gandalf reminded him) and by his innate decency and willingness to sacrifice himself to protect those he loved.

    Obama is a narcissist who drank his own Kool-Aid (as he once admitted), who believed good things would always happen to him because he is just so special. A less Frodo-like protagonist can scarcely be conceived of.

    If you have to cast Obama as a LOTR figure, I suggest Saruman, who thought he was clever enough to manage an alliance with Sauron, but became Sauron’s dupe and cats-paw instead. That is a better comparison for the relationship of Obama to the mullahs of Iran. That would cast Valerie Jarrett as Grima Wormtongue, also a excellent fit.

  • Beagle

    “It’s not clear that the President’s goal of a grand bargain with Iran is within reach, or that it will deliver the kind of stability he hopes for.”

    Charitable. I would run with Iran uses Obama like a prison bit(h, trading him for cigarettes and meth. Nobody thinks Obama will use force, and sanctions have been lifted. What incentive does Iran have to give up its nuclear program? Home videos of Quadaffy being dragged around before being sodomized years after he gave up his program are far more persuasive.

  • Neo

    The Mullahs in Tehran must feel even worse knowing that they have thrown in with the fickle idiot head of the “Great Satan.”
    Don’t expect any of this to make a nuclear deal any better.

  • RichardD1835

    Unlike arab Muslims, the Persians have shown little interest in being militarily venturesome in the last 2,000 years. While arabs expanded across the northern Mediterranean, through Spain and northward into the Balkans, the Persians stayed close to their own borders. They defend when attacked as shown in the war with Iraq and when they deposed the Shah. The Sykes Picot agreement, the Brits and French imposing mandates in the Levant after WW1, screwed up the mid-east. Why would Iran changed after thousands of years of history? I don’t think we’re being told the entire truth.

  • Much of the discussion in America now is about assigning blame. There is a lot of that to go around. Yes,
    the Bush administration should have executed the early stages of the Iraq war better. Yes, if Mr. Bush had explained the aims of the war better, the momentum of his policy might have induced President Obama to work harder for a new Status of Forces agreement in 2011. And yes, leaving Iraq — abandoning the peace after having fought the war — was a terrible mistake, for which Mr. Obama must bear the primary responsibility, however much his administration spins the story in the short term.

  • U Nderwater Glockenspiel

    Odious comparison Frodo is a good naif, member of a race of innocents.
    Hussein is a disgusting diarrhea-coloured Kenyan born Indonesia qoran-raised liar and destroyer.

  • bruceamcallister

    Why do those who espouse ideals and fight for them always get accused of naïveté, as Mr. Mead implies, when inevitable trouble intervenes. Shimon Peres, e.g., could be and often is charged with naïveté ( what else could keep him a zealot for the “peace process”?)
    Staying out of war is not harder than that idealistic freshman Senator from Illinois thought – it’s simply more worth fighting for than the aging pundit from American Interest apparently thinks.

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