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Washington Post Wakes Up to the Fact That Iran Is Stronger Than Ever

Now that Obama is out of office, the Washington Post is beginning to look at the consequences of his policies. One of the biggest: Iran is now a regional superpower, but still as hostile to the U.S. and its allies as ever.

Oops:

Iran now stands at the apex of an arc of influence stretching from Tehran to the Mediterranean, from the borders of NATO to the borders of Israel and along the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula. It commands the loyalties of tens of thousands in allied militias and proxy armies that are fighting on the front lines in Syria, Iraq and Yemen with armored vehicles, tanks and heavy weapons. They have been joined by thousands of members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran’s most prestigious military wing, who have acquired meaningful battlefield experience in the process.

For the first time in its history, the Institute for the Study of War noted in a report last week, Iran has developed the capacity to project conventional military force for hundreds of miles beyond its borders. “This capability, which very few states in the world have, will fundamentally alter the strategic calculus and balance of power within the Middle East,” the institute said.

America’s Sunni Arab allies, who blame the Obama administration’s hesitancy for Iran’s expanded powers, are relishing the prospect of a more confrontational U.S. approach. Any misgivings they may have had about Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric have been dwarfed by their enthusiasm for an American president they believe will push back against Iran.

If only someone had warned that appeasing Iran was a dangerous policy that could backfire horribly…

When Walter Russell Mead testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee in 2015, he argued that the Iran Deal shouldn’t be analyzed merely as an arms control agreement or even on its own terms. It needed (and still needs) to be assessed in the context of a broader strategic framework for the Middle East. At that point, it was already clear the Obama Administration’s entire Middle East policy pivoted on the deal. Other American interests (in Syria and Yemen, for instance) were secondary to getting an arms control agreement in place with Iran. The mistake wasn’t so much the narrow deal itself as the fact that the deal was promoted not as part of a strategy, but rather in lieu of one.

The consequences of not paying attention to the big picture are now obvious to all. We’re glad the Washington Post is finally getting it. We just wish they’d done so sooner.

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  • PCB

    If the Post has made this concession, you can bet the situation with Iran is 100 times worse.

  • Dale Fayda

    Trump was right – Obama will go down in history as the worst president ever.

    • Tom

      Nope. Still Buchanan.

      • Dale Fayda

        Give it some time. The damage Obama has done to this world hasn’t had time to manifest itself fully yet. The stakes of Obama’s myopism and incompetence are MUCH higher than Buchanan’s.

        • Disappeared4x

          Probably need to wait on the verdict of history until Doris Kearns Goodwin dies a normal, peaceful, graceful death, because, somehow, writing “over DKGoodwin’s dead body” seemed inappropriate.

          “10 Historians on What Will Be Said About President Obama’s Legacy” TIME Staff
          Updated: Jan 20, 2017 11:10 PM Eastern | Originally published: Jan 18,
          http://time.com/4632190/historians-obamas-legacy/

        • f1b0nacc1

          I understand your point, but Buchanan ushered in the Civil War either by design or stupidity. Obama has been callow and foolish, but barring some evidence of actual malice, I don’t think that he can match Buchanan’s record.

          • Dale Fayda

            Looking back, it is exceedingly difficult to ascribe either “design or stupidity” to Buchanan’s actions. A mini-Civil War had already been raging in “Bleeding Kansas” for years; hard to say what he could have done to prevent the big one. Remember, the power of the Federal government, both militarily and politically, was a tiny fraction of what it is now.

            I’m not trying to portray Buchanan in a better light, but if Iran acquires a nuke (a near certainty now, because of Obama’s foolishness), the consequences may be cataclysmic.

          • f1b0nacc1

            You are far too kind to Buchanan. While I absolutely agree that the Civil War was on a low simmer (perhaps more than low) for some time, Buchanan did nothing to take action against those that wanted to raise the heat, and in fact went out of his way (particularly in army deployments, for instance) to make sure that what power the government had to do anything about the problem was dispersed and divided. Consider his response to the first acts of secession, which predated Lincoln’s inauguration by several months.

            I don’t disagree with you regarding the consequences of Iran acquiring a nuke, they will be apocalyptic (and I hope I am speaking hyperbolically!), but unless you believe that the purpose behind Obama’s actions was to enable Iran to get a nuke (along with his understand of what the consequences of that would be), then it is hard to compare Obama (as awful as he was) to Buchanan.

          • Observe&Report

            I’m not familiar with pre-Civil War politics or that period of history generally, but I do have my own two cents to throw in.

            The Civil War claimed about 620,000 lives, whereas the Syrian Civil War alone has claimed close to 500,000 lives. Combined with the chaos in Yemen and Libya, I’d say there pretty much on par in terms of blood already shed.

          • f1b0nacc1

            The Syrian Civil War isn’t our problem, it is theirs, and those 1/2 million lives (good estimate) aren’t Americans. That might sound callous (it is), but an American President is supposed to put American lives first.

          • Observe&Report

            I won’t dispute that particular point.

            Nonetheless, if the metric is which president’s disastrous foreign policy led to more deaths, I’d say Buchanan and Obama are more or less on par; and that’s excluding the spillover effects of the Syrian Civil War.

          • f1b0nacc1

            I understand your point, but I don’t believe that your metric is a viable one. FDR’s decision to avoid confront Germany before WWII contributed to the deaths of millions in Russia, for instance….do we conclude that makes him a worse president than Obama or Buchanan? Sheer volume of deaths cannot be the metric.

          • Observe&Report

            I’ll admit it’s a simplistic metric, but the comparison you draw isn’t great either. To my knowledge, FDR didn’t declare any red lines on Nazi aggression, let alone boast about not following through when those lines were crossed.

            Whether or not it was wise of FDR not to confront Germany earlier on (something the British and French ought to have done themselves sooner), FDR’s non-interventionism was a clear and consistent policy until Hitler declared war on the US after Pearl Harbour. As for the Russians, I would say they got hit by their own boomerang; having struck an opportunistic bargain with Hitler to carve up Poland, Stalin had no right to be surprised when Hitler turned on him next. The point being that, regardless of whether or not FDR should have helped earlier, no one can accuse him of making it worse. He certainly can’t be blamed for Germany invading Russia.

            Obama, however, dithered and waffled and postured when his red lines were crossed. His confused non-interventionism/strategic withdrawal in the face of Iranian expansionism and Russian intervention in Syria enormously worsened the situation, undermining US influence in the region and allowing Russia and Iran to take over the show and effectively own the region as a result.

          • f1b0nacc1

            The problem with your analysis is that whatever FDR said or did, Hitler did not believe him. We have the German foreign office documents, so you can read this for yourself. Hitler was convinced that the US was soft and weak, and would not intervene no matter what he did, even after the sinking of the Reuben James in Nov of 1941. FDR was of course in favor of entering the war, but he didn’t change the perception of the US as unwilling to fight. You could argue that Buchanan failed to communicate the Union’s willingness to fight and that is what caused the war (in fact, I think that is an excellent point), so the deaths are on his watch.

            How, on the other hand, can we argue that Obama is responsible for the deaths that Syrians inflicted on other Syrians because he was weak and dithering (I totally agree with this characterization of him, remember) if we aren’t going to make the same comments about FDR and Buchanan?

          • Observe&Report

            There were many differing circumstances faced by all three presidents, and I don’t know enough about Buchanan’s presidency to offer a cogent response on him.

            However, FDR faced significant Congressional constraints on the executive branch’s control over foreign policy – particularly war policy – hence FDR’s inability to repeal the Neutrality Act. FDR had a clear idea of what he felt needed to be done, but couldn’t do it because Congress wouldn’t let him; a fact no doubt recognised by Hitler.

            Obama, however, faced no such constraints. Congress funded the intervention in Libya, for example, but never formally authorised force or declared war, essentially giving the president a free hand. Obama could easily have taken military action in Syria and followed through on his red lines but expressly refused to do so.

            Whether FDR could have saved a few million Russians by entering the war sooner is an unknowable counterfactual, but he was clearly willing but unable to act which, in my opinion, absolves him of whatever blame might be apportioned for not intervening sooner. By contrast, Obama (and apparently Buchanan, too) were able but unwilling. They each had an unrestricted choice to act and chose not to, and that’s the crucial distinction.

          • f1b0nacc1

            You forgive FDR too much. He had significant issues with congress, to be sure, but the democrats controlled both the 76th and 77th congresses by huge margins, something Obama could only dream of. Roosevelt was perfectly willing to bend the rules when he felt he could do so without political loss for his party (he was a deep partisan loyalist), something that in fact didn’t seem to hold Obama back.

            If you are comparing Obama to FDR, I would absolutely agree that FDR was the better president, and you make my case. I merely pointed out that using the metric of deaths in a foreign war WHICH WE WERE NOT INVOLVED IN at the time is a very poor way to evaluate a presidency. Lets remember where we began this thread….who was worse, Obama or Buchanan? I pointed out that Obama, as awful as he was (and he was appalling) was not as bad as Buchanan, whereupon you suggested that we compare the Civil War to the Syrian debacle. I then pointed out that by that (to my mind flawed) standard, we could argue that FDR was worse still. You have now demonstrated that FDR was not, hence your metric is (at best) an incomplete, if not outright misleading, measure.

            To my mind, that is the crucial distinction. All presidents are able to act to some degree, it is what they choose to do that matters. FDR was more than willing to chivvy Congress and bend it to his will when he felt that there was a political priority at stake, but he chose not to here. That was a political judgement (and a wise, though extremely tragic one), we should not forget that. FDR was able to ram through Lend-Lease, for instance, and his Destroyers for Bases deal was of dubious constitutional merit at best. Each of these men made choices, and we must judge them by their choices….

          • Disappeared4x

            Avoiding the temptation to add Woodrow Wilson to a 3- or 4-way tie for ‘worst president’ to this stimulating thread, it is fitting to add Lee Smith’s conclusion from his essay: “Syrian Refugees Are the New Jews. So Who Are the Nazis?”.
            I was struck mostly by Smith’s treatment of President Trump, an example for TAI writers who still add Trump-attacks, whereas Lee Smith sees: POTUS Trump. Until I read the conclusion, when he levels charges that should shape the ‘worst president ever’ debate:

            “For in securing his chief foreign policy initiative, Barack Obama made billions of dollars and American diplomatic and military cover available to Iran, which it has used to wage a genocidal war against Syria’s Sunni Arab population.

            Not only have we failed so far to protect today’s Jews by stopping today’s Nazis, the 44th president of the United States assisted them in their campaign of mass murder. That’s why when people liken Syrian refugees
            to Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazis, no one dares to complete the analogy and identify today’s Nazis—it’s Iran.

            America’s shame is worse than anything that the protesters at airports imagine. Donald Trump is a latecomer who has arrived mid-way through the final act of a tragedy which has been unfolding for the past five years, and in which the US has been something more than an idle or disinterested bystander. The refugees are real, the genocide they are fleeing is real, and the Nazis are also real. What we have done is unspeakable.”

            “Syrian Refugees Are the New Jews. So Who Are the Nazis?: Invoking the Holocaust, and comparing the persecution of Jews to that of Syrian refugees, has become a consensus take. But no one has bothered to identify the murderous culprit.”

            By Lee Smith February 2, 2017 • 1:25 PM

            http://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/223791/syrian-refugees-are-the-new-jews-so-who-are-the-Nazis

            Might be premature for the new Democratic Party to hold annual FDR-Obama dinners to replace those Jefferson-Jackson dinners.

            And, good to know tabletmag.com is NOT on the NNT train.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Wilson was certainly a contender for worst ever, but he lacked the glaring incompetence of a Buchanan or Obama. Whatever else you might say about him (virulent racist – from back when those words actually meant something, total disregard for the Constitution, contempt for anyone who disagreed with him, paranoid, etc.) he was actually reasonably efficient and effective in what he did in office, though that is hardly a good thing.

            Loved the link, by the way….Tablet is always a good place to get some interesting ideas!

          • Disappeared4x

            Maybe not “worst”, but certainly not Top 10 Best, adding: Wilson opposed women’s suffrage; his WW1 military orders spread the flu pandemic in USA; Treaty of Versailles failures that led Europe back into WW2, and other failures that haunt us, Europe, and the former Ottoman Empire today; Palmer raids; hiding his stroke/incapacity…

            “In 1915, President Wilson warned against hyphenated Americans who, he charged, had “poured the poison of disloyalty into the very arteries of our national life.” ”

            and yet, today’s Dems target Jefferson for owning slaves!

            Yes, Tablet is once again a safe reading space. Their neverTrump hysteria seems over.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Well, he opposed Women’s Suffrage….nobody is wrong about EVERYTHING (grin)…

          • Disappeared4x

            He did deploy a flock of sheep to mow the WH lawn…

            Glad you are better, looking forward to your insights at Security Assistance. No rush. It is a meaty post.

            Westminster Dog Show starts Feb 13, and now you can enter the million dollar bracket challenge.

            https://www.proplan.com/dogs/dog-show-bracket/registration

          • f1b0nacc1

            Thanks for the link! I will have to put my bracket together now….grin… Hopefully I will do better than I do with March Madness…

            Which security assistance post are you referring to? Link?

          • Disappeared4x

            Good luck! Far be it from me to suggest Corgis are discriminated against by being forced to compete in the Herding Group, despite blowing past Shetland Sheepdogs in Agility. Or that Terriers are the dogworld equivalent of ‘white working class males’…or if Poodles will regain their dignity by protesting ‘artful grooming’ …

            Behind TAI paywall, ‘Security Assistance’ as foreign aid, proxy for American ‘boots on the ground’:

            http://www.the-american-interest.com/2017/02/07/training-wreck/

            Time to see if my Mole has met his match with the Rat Terrier to the north, or the pack of Chihuahuas to the south, or, even better, struck by lightning last night. Targeted airstrike!

          • f1b0nacc1

            My wife and I have been watching Westminster for decades (wow, does that make me feel old!), and we are convinced that there is a secret terrier mafia that skews the results…

            Speaking of which, are you a fan of Christopher Guest? His “Best in Show” is absolutely a must-see …

          • Disappeared4x

            My suspicion is with Schnauzers, crossing-over from Terriers to infiltrate Working Group. TY for must-see.

          • f1b0nacc1

            I don’t know how long you have been watching Westminster, but if you remember the glory days of Joe Garagiola, you will adore Fred Willard’s performance. The movie is superb (like all of Guest’s work…I am a big fan of his stuff), but this one is special even at that high level.

          • Disappeared4x

            It took a new neighbor who friended me in 2012 to really love dogs. Was shoveling serious snow, felt a nudge on the back of my knee, and there he was. A Newfoundland, who taught me so much. And, thus noticed Dogs 101, and Westminster…
            Better late than never. TY.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Ah newfies are such wonderful dogs….big and friendly…

          • Disappeared4x

            Karma! Walking past the dvds at my new favorite job lot store, saw a two-fer: “Hotel for Dogs” and “Best in Show” for $3. Without your recommendation, might have just continued my quest for other good. stuff. cheap. TY!

            btw, Steve Mnuchin’s RatPacDune Entertainment has impressive dog film credits, in addition to Eastwood films: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RatPac-Dune_Entertainment

            This was such a fine comment thread. TY TAI.

          • Disappeared4x

            That Security Assistance post disappeared the initial comments, but, who cares? Stripe won 12 inch Agility. Shetland sheep dog!
            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b1862eb0cd725f8ad9b37825c33150283cf4bfb5f76312b109b39d17272f9807.jpg

          • Observe&Report

            I just double-checked. It turns out FDR was actually in favour of intervening to curtail the rise of Nazi Germany but was unable to persuade Congress to overturn the Neutrality Act until Pearl Harbour. It was therefore a clear and consistent policy of the US rather than FDR himself not to intervene in Europe earlier.

            However, I believe my general point still stands.

          • Dale Fayda

            Once again, I’m not trying to make Buchanan look better in retrospect, but I don’t know how much he could have done, short of mounting a Federal invasion of the South on his watch. A lame-duck president, with a tiny and under-equipped Federal military, most of which was based on the Western frontier. Combine that with a very strong existing tradition of states’ rights and his (likely genuine) reluctance to escalate what has heretofore has only been localized violence on the fringes of the country.

            I can’t speculate on Obama’s true motivation in pushing the Iran “deal”; a “gentlemen’s agreement”, really. I suspect that, like with everything else Obama has ever done or will do, this was a way for him to cement his “legacy”. As I have written on this site before, I don’t think that even Obama is deluded enough to believe that Iran will now give up on its nuclear ambitions, having spent decades pursuing them, with untold billions invested and having ruined its economy in the wake of Western sanctions in the process. But he sure acted as if he did.

            What do you think Obama’s long-term strategy with Iran was?

          • f1b0nacc1

            I suspect that he didn’t have one. My best guess (and it is nothing more than that) is that a combination of misplaced ideology, intellectual laziness, and Jarrett’s malign influence led him to believe that the Iranians wouldn’t be in a position to field a nuke until much later, when it would be someone else’s problem, and that in the interim the US would be constrained in its dealings with Iran as a result. As a bonus, I suspect that it also appealed to his thinly-disguised antisemitism, but but I can offer no proof of that.

          • Dale Fayda

            “My best guess (and it is nothing more than that) is that a combination of misplaced ideology, intellectual laziness, and Jarrett’s malign influence led him to believe that the Iranians wouldn’t be in a position to field a nuke until much later, when it would be someone else’s problem, and that in the interim the US would be constrained in its dealings with Iran as a result.”

            Substitute “the South” for “Iran” and that may have been Buchanan’s overall strategy as well, sans Jarrett, of course. After all, the South did not definitively begin the secession process until after Lincoln’s election and, in large part, because of it.

            Whereas Buchanan could not have prevented war without at least some putative violence against fellow Americans, Obama had the option of doing nothing but maintain already existing international sanctions. If he had just done that, along wth some vague lecturing on the value of “international community”, of which he was the undisputed master, his record on Iranian diplomacy would have been deemed lukewarm, at worst.

            He, however, chose to go in the completely opposite direction – gutting the sanction regime, which well likely NEVER be re-established again, giving Iran in excess of $150 billion to spend as they see fit and ignoring any and all violations of the spirit and the letter of this “deal”. Just like in Syria, he willingly painted himself into a corner and then pretended that “he meant to do that” all along.

            America’s slide toward Civil War was decades in the making, involving the political establishments of most of the states, hundreds of thousands of civilians on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line, the press and the rest of punditocracy of its day, not to mention vital economic interests of both North and South. That’s a lot of moving parts; vastly more than any President of its time would be able to influence, much less control.

            Obama’s Iran “deal” was the feeble-minded child of Obama and his brain trust alone (no pun intended). It’s not like he chose to ignore the Congressional Republicans, Israel, Saudi Arabia, et al screaming at him from the rooftops not to do it. Oh, wait…

          • f1b0nacc1

            You are being far too generous to Buchanan. Lets remember that several Southern states seceeded immediately (or close to it) after Lincoln’s election, when Buchanan was in a fine position to round up the malefactors and make an example of them. This wasn’t like blocking traffic, after all, this was the textbook example of treason. His choice to look the other way encouraged states on the fence, and make the whole process almost unstoppable. We do not disagree that the ACW was a long time coming, and was far more complex than one man’s actions, but Buchanan did nothing to stop it or even try to slow it down. His deliberate deployment of troops (there is no other word for it) left places like Sumter essentially abandoned, while numerous cavalry units (which would have been ideal for dealing with insurrectionists) were sent west in the months immediately before, and immediately after the election for no discernible reason.

            I am not going to defend Obama, who I suspect rates second (or possibly third, Carter was a very, very bad president as well), but I will point out that he at least has the defense of not being terribly bright, and being surrounded by advisers who were if anything even less bright.

          • Arlete Santos

            But you feel safer now that President Bannon is in power.

          • M Snow

            Actually, yes.

          • Dale Fayda

            Of course. With whom would you feel safer – Neville Chamberlain, who shamefully caved to Hitler in the craven attempt not to face harsh political realities, a la Obama OR with Winston Churchill, who willingly and resolutely picked up the burden of dealing with the disastrous state of the world his predecessor helped to bring about, like Trump has?

          • Disappeared4x
          • Andrew Allison

            As you know, I was educated in European, not US history, so I crave your indulgence, and education. My question is, given the Northern abhorrence of slavery, was the Civil War an inevitable alternative to secession? If there was no way other than war to preserve the Union and abolish slavery, does Buchanan really deserve the approbation heaped upon him.

          • f1b0nacc1

            That is a great question, and one that scholars have argued over for a century and a half. My own take on it is that the Civil War was inevitable, but Slavery (while an important factor, and the proximate cause of the war) was not the root problem. The real issue was the role of the states vs the central government, an issue that was settled by the war. Slavery was ONLY an issue because this relationship was not well-defined (the result of too many early compromises by the Founders, which in turn were due to the geographical peculiarities of the original colonies and the unexpected intervention of new technology like the cotton gin), which is why it came to war. The South (formerly dominant in terms of governmental control) was declining in both economic and political authority, and Slavery was just one stage upon which this played out….

            Ultimately it might have come to war, but had it not been for Buchanan, it might have been put off till a time when the South was less able to resist, thus the war would have been less bloody and destructive. On the other hand, we might not have had Lincoln as president, so it could have been far more destructive….so you never know…

          • Andrew Allison

            Thank you.

          • Andrew Allison

            When, not if (thanks to the late and unlamented BO), Iran acquires a nuke, there’s no question that there will be a cataclysm.

          • FluffyFooFoo

            Buchanan definitely didn’t usher in the Civil War by design. And he was a book smart guy like President Obama. So it was his stupidity.

            President Obama didn’t help start a Civil War (yet), but he has seriously divided the country. It’s arguable he has actual malice towards some Americans.

          • Andrew Allison

            Not up to your usual standard [grin]. Was Buchanan smart (saw the need for the Civil War) or stupid? I suspect the latter. While Obama gives new meaning to narcissism, he’s clearly not stupid. Might I suggest that the encouragement, if not instigation, of BLM, the politicization of both the administrative branch and the judiciary (most recently demonstrated by Robart’s clearly unsupportable opinion), not to mention the catastrophe in the Middle-East and rise of Iran, do suggest actual malice. Get back to us with your opinion after the first Iranian atomic bomb goes off.

          • MyWord245

            I think ‘f1’ has it about right (not that he needs my help). Buchanan has proven model to confront the South: President Jackson when he threatened to shoot southern leaders. At least one could argue that BO, the smartest man, didn’t have a proven approach to countering Iran. Short of an open war, I wonder what could really be done to stop Iran from Nuclear Weapon.

          • Andrew Allison

            If you follow this blog you must be aware that f1b and I have the very greatest mutual respect, even when we differ. The question which I posed was, was the Civil War inevitable and if so, does Buchanan deserve his bad rap. It was, let me emphasize, a question based on ignorance of the background, not an opinion.
            The answer to you question is that whatever might have been done was negated by an agreement which, I fear, may prove to be even more catastrophic than the infamous “Munich Agreement”.

          • f1b0nacc1

            I am recovering from an illness, so I am a bit off my game (grin)….

            Buchanan wasn’t terribly bright (the consensus of most of his cabinet), but he also had deeply divided loyalties, which is a bigger problem. Oddly, for a man of the North (he was from PA) he was extraordinarily sympathetic to the South, and this led to him creating conditions which gave the South the opening for open resistance to the central government.

            I don’t share your view of Obama. Yes, he is a toxic narcissist, but this is compounded by the fact that he simply isn’t terribly bright. He doesn’t learn from errors, shows no real grasp of anything he engages with, outside of a certain superficial facility, and has never demonstrated any real depth of thought in any of his public statements. He has an impressive reputation, but what precisely is this based upon? I am not trying to be insulting here, but I have heard about what a deep thinker he is for years, and I have never seen anyone point to specific examples. One can easily point to Jimmy Carter’s engineering background, for instance, or Richard Nixon’s written work to show their intellectual chops (I have deliberately chosen two men that I loathe, since I don’t want this to be a question of my impression of them as human beings), but Obama seems to have a reputation built almost entirely upon the admiration of people who wanted to admire him in the first place.

            Regarding Obama’s failed administration….I don’t for a moment suggest that he was a VERY bad president, all of your complaints are in fact precisely right), only that there was one other (out of the 43 that preceded him) that was worse. All of your crtiques of his incompetence are spot on, but he didn’t manage to encourage a part of the country to revolt and lead to a civil war. Remember, if we ‘scale up’ the casualties of the Civil war (the US had about 1/10 of the population that it does now, give or take a bit), we are looking at 6 million deaths, something that even Obama cannot be blamed for.

            I suspect that future historians will have an extremely negative view of Obama (assuming that there are future historians left around to have opinions), but Buchanan remains the ‘coal standard’ (as opposed to the gold standard) for real incompetence.

    • Andrew Allison

      Our fellow commentator Jacksonian Libertarian was way ahead of President Trump.

    • Arlete Santos

      That is until the impeachment of the “so called” president.

      • Dale Fayda

        Well, maybe if you sit in a lotus position for a few weeks and repeat this as a mantra, you have help make that happen. Ha, ha, ha, ha!

        In the meantime, I still haven’t become tired of winning: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=daOH-pTd_nk

  • sacip

    Agree with the “better late than never” point,but it wouldn’t have made any difference in Obama’s thinking/actions toward Iran.

  • Beauceron

    We’ll see a lot of this in the coming months and years on both international and domestic issues.

    I cannot forget the sheer venom with which the press treated Bush in his second term. And Bush certainly in my opinion deserved an awful lot of criticism– but the nastiness of it, bordering on open hatred, was eye opening. Then I watched as the press spun on a dime and not only didn’t criticize Obama, but actively worked for him in every instance. That was eye opening too. Now that Trump has been elected, we’re back to an even hotter level of nastiness and hatred.

    I can’t look at the press as journalists any longer; they are not journalists– or at least most of them are not. They are political operatives. That loss of the fourth estate should trouble the country more than it seems to. And the press seem untroubled by it; they are in fact so far gone in their bias, they would simply deny that it exists at all.

    In any case, I doubt very much the WP “is finally getting it” as you put it. I think rather they see coming tensions with Iran as a hammer to use against their real enemy– American conservatives. Had Hillary won, I don’t think we’d be seeing a story like this from the WP. Do you?

    • Psalms564

      I think with availability of information on the Internet, the press is getting cut out of the loop between news and information consumers. Their bias is making them irrelevant. Once again, free market is assigning a proper value to things. I expect the value of media companies to continue to decline, since how many newspapers do you actually need to parrot the same Leftwing line? In Soviet Russia the answer was one, and I believe that the equilibrium number may be one or two or maybe three but certainly not as many as we have today.

      • Beauceron

        I think that’s true of conservatives. But remember that conservatives were locked out in the cold for so long by the mainstream media, they got used to looking for alternative sources for information and discussion.

        I don’t think that is true for a lot of moderates. 25 million people still get their news from one of the three alphabet stations every evening. CNN, plays in most travel stations and bars. Many people who read the NYT or WaPo are not raving liberals, but regular people who still consider those papers set the highest standards of journalism. While the “legacy” media is dying off and is certainly less powerful than it was, it still maintains a lot of power.

  • Angel Martin

    ” Iran is now a regional superpower, but still as hostile to the U.S. and its allies as ever…”

    “We look at America as our first enemy, the source of all evil on the Earth,” he said. “American interests in Iraq are within our sights and our fire range. If they act foolishly, their interests will be wiped out . . . ”

    Jaffar al-Hussaini, Kitaeb Hezbollah’s spokesman.

    These Washington reporters – they are so shrewd. If something is happening they are right on it from the start. You can’t put anything past them.

  • Disappeared4x

    New Narrative in town. Perhaps WaPo is now listening to the new Senior Director of Strategic Communications at the National Security Council, Michael Anton, instead of would-be fiction writer Ben Rhodes, the Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications for Obama44.

  • hjc2

    I can’t help but think that the consequences mentioned are intentional. Obama’s goal seemed to have been to lesson the relative power of the United States and its allies and transfer it to Iran and other Islamists.

    • LarryD

      “… to lesson the relative power of the United States …” An explicit goal of no small faction of the Progressives. Lump the rationales under “anti-colonialism”.

    • Arlete Santos

      Why would “the founder of ISIS”. want to do that?

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    Modern civilization is fragile, power plants, pipelines, refineries, oil storage, all take years to build, but can be destroyed in an instant with one smart bomb. I’m sick of these Iranian barbarians, Trump should bomb their energy industry out of existence, and thereby remove the problem.

    • Arlete Santos

      Anyone else you would recommend bombing out of existence?

  • Why is he open to reconciliation with Russia but not Iran? A bit ironic, as Obama was very hostile towards Moscow and less so towards Tehran.

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