Obama Talks, Ahmadinejad Laughs

Iranian President Ahmadinejad must have had a good laugh when he read the scant foreign policy section of President Obama's State of the Union speech. How did Obama face Iranian efforts to produce nuclear weapons? Referring to negotiations seeking to reduce American and Russian nuclear arsenals, Obama said:

These diplomatic efforts have strengthened our hand in dealing with those nations that insist on violating international agreements in pursuit of nuclear weapons. ... That's why the international community is more united, and the Islamic Republic is more isolated. And as Iran's leaders continue to ignore their obligations, there should be no doubt. They, too, will face growing consequences. That is a promise.

When measured against reality, Obama's remarks are delusional. He campaigned on a promise to "engage" Iran into giving up its nuclear pursuit. Iran consistently rebuffed "engagement" with grim contempt and was revealed to have established hidden enrichment facilities. Obama set shifting deadlines for Iranian compliance with Security Council resolutions. With the advent of a new year, all these deadlines have expired. And Obama is reduced to threatening "growing consequences." These words are guaranteed to be received contemptuously by a regime which murders its own citizens and supplies weapons to terrorists to kill American soldiers. Nor did Obama utter a word in support of Iranian protesters who are being tortured, raped, and killed. 

Obama mocked by reality

Is it true, as Obama contended, that "the international community is more united, and the Islamic Republic is more isolated"? Obama knows that the Russians and Chinese would veto any meaningful sanctions in the Security Council. This is egregious in the case of Russia because Obama rewarded Moscow -- without obtaining anything in return -- when he reneged on America's commitment to establish missile defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic. While Obama has dithered in the face of Iranian defiance, Turkey -- formerly but no longer an American ally -- announced that it has no problem with Iran going nuclear. This blow to American policy is partly attributable to the Islamism of Turkey's AKP regime, which seeks to reverse the secular nature of the country. But it also flows from the reality that in the harsh world of the Middle East, you are judged by what you do rather than by your apologies. The Turks, who are members of the Security Council, see Obama as a loser and Ahmadinejad as a winner.

Obama's assertion that the "the international community is more united" is mocked by reality. Obama delayed congressional action on Iran sanctions until France next month takes over from China the rotating Security Council presidency. But French President Sarkozy was livid when Obama used his unprecedented chairing of a Security Council session last September to pass a non-binding, pie-in-the-sky resolution about eventual universal nuclear disarmament. Sarkozy, concluding that Obama squandered an opportunity for effective action against Iran, said, "We live in the real world, not the virtual world. The real world expects us to make decisions. President Obama dreams of a world without weapons. But right in front of us, two countries are doing the exact opposite. Iran since 2005 has flouted five Security Council resolutions and threatened to wipe a U.N. member state off the map." Ironically, Obama now seeks help from France. 

Retreat as a goal

In discussing two wars which our military is fighting, Obama emphasized that in Afghanistan, "in July of 2011 our troops can begin to come home," and in Iraq, "all of our troops are coming home." To this president, retreat is not only a strategy, but it appears to be our goal. There was neither mention of victory nor of building democracy. Obama is advertising to the terrorists: Content yourself with hit-and-run attacks because the Americans will soon be gone. Obama did not tell us how he will protect Americans from accelerating homefront terrorism, a subject he preferred to avoid after the blunder of Mirandizing the Christmas bomber before effective interrogation. Obama should be made to pay for his myopia about Islamic terrorism by the Senate's denying him the funds to bring the Guantánamo prisoners to our mainland and to try Khalid Sheikh Mohamed in New York. (NOTE: This was written before the announcement that Obama is reconsidering trying KSM in New York; is Obama accessing our columns before they are published?)

Another dysfunction in Obama's world view is that he harbors contempt for leaders of two democracies which are vitally engaged in defense against terrorism. One is Britain, whose forces have sustained substantial casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan while facing domestic terrorism from native-born Muslims. The other is Israel, which Obama could not mention because his missteps made him the only president who prevented Israelis and Palestinians from talking to each other. Thus, Obama gives us the novelty of a foreign policy address which mentions neither of these two allies.

The world takes a second look at Obama

Make no mistake. A world which greeted the Obama presidency with hope is waking up to the reality that what passes for his foreign policy is scandalous. A salient example is the peroration in the London Telegraph column of Nile Gardiner, a Washington-based foreign policy analyst who appears on CNN, BBC and NPR: 

For the hundreds of millions of people across the world, from Burma to Sudan to Zimbabwe, clamoring to be free of oppression, there was not a shred of hope offered in Barack Obama's address. Obama's world leadership in his first year in office has been weak-kneed and little short of disastrous. He has sacrificed the projection of American power upon the altar of political vanity, with empty speeches and groveling apologies across the world, from Strasbourg to Cairo. He has appeased some of America's worst enemies, and extended the hand of friendship to many of the most odious regimes on the face of the earth. Judging by the State of the Union address, we can expect more of the same from an American president who seems determined to lead the world's greatest power along a path of decline.

We should be grateful that Obama kept this part of his speech brief and thus did not inflict greater damage on  hope for coherent American foreign policy, which leads the world by aligning with like-minded countries to build democracy and combat terrorism.
Iranian President Ahmadinejad must have had a good laugh when he read the scant foreign policy section of President Obama's State of the Union speech. How did Obama face Iranian efforts to produce nuclear weapons? Referring to negotiations seeking to reduce American and Russian nuclear arsenals, Obama said:

These diplomatic efforts have strengthened our hand in dealing with those nations that insist on violating international agreements in pursuit of nuclear weapons. ... That's why the international community is more united, and the Islamic Republic is more isolated. And as Iran's leaders continue to ignore their obligations, there should be no doubt. They, too, will face growing consequences. That is a promise.

When measured against reality, Obama's remarks are delusional. He campaigned on a promise to "engage" Iran into giving up its nuclear pursuit. Iran consistently rebuffed "engagement" with grim contempt and was revealed to have established hidden enrichment facilities. Obama set shifting deadlines for Iranian compliance with Security Council resolutions. With the advent of a new year, all these deadlines have expired. And Obama is reduced to threatening "growing consequences." These words are guaranteed to be received contemptuously by a regime which murders its own citizens and supplies weapons to terrorists to kill American soldiers. Nor did Obama utter a word in support of Iranian protesters who are being tortured, raped, and killed. 

Obama mocked by reality

Is it true, as Obama contended, that "the international community is more united, and the Islamic Republic is more isolated"? Obama knows that the Russians and Chinese would veto any meaningful sanctions in the Security Council. This is egregious in the case of Russia because Obama rewarded Moscow -- without obtaining anything in return -- when he reneged on America's commitment to establish missile defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic. While Obama has dithered in the face of Iranian defiance, Turkey -- formerly but no longer an American ally -- announced that it has no problem with Iran going nuclear. This blow to American policy is partly attributable to the Islamism of Turkey's AKP regime, which seeks to reverse the secular nature of the country. But it also flows from the reality that in the harsh world of the Middle East, you are judged by what you do rather than by your apologies. The Turks, who are members of the Security Council, see Obama as a loser and Ahmadinejad as a winner.

Obama's assertion that the "the international community is more united" is mocked by reality. Obama delayed congressional action on Iran sanctions until France next month takes over from China the rotating Security Council presidency. But French President Sarkozy was livid when Obama used his unprecedented chairing of a Security Council session last September to pass a non-binding, pie-in-the-sky resolution about eventual universal nuclear disarmament. Sarkozy, concluding that Obama squandered an opportunity for effective action against Iran, said, "We live in the real world, not the virtual world. The real world expects us to make decisions. President Obama dreams of a world without weapons. But right in front of us, two countries are doing the exact opposite. Iran since 2005 has flouted five Security Council resolutions and threatened to wipe a U.N. member state off the map." Ironically, Obama now seeks help from France. 

Retreat as a goal

In discussing two wars which our military is fighting, Obama emphasized that in Afghanistan, "in July of 2011 our troops can begin to come home," and in Iraq, "all of our troops are coming home." To this president, retreat is not only a strategy, but it appears to be our goal. There was neither mention of victory nor of building democracy. Obama is advertising to the terrorists: Content yourself with hit-and-run attacks because the Americans will soon be gone. Obama did not tell us how he will protect Americans from accelerating homefront terrorism, a subject he preferred to avoid after the blunder of Mirandizing the Christmas bomber before effective interrogation. Obama should be made to pay for his myopia about Islamic terrorism by the Senate's denying him the funds to bring the Guantánamo prisoners to our mainland and to try Khalid Sheikh Mohamed in New York. (NOTE: This was written before the announcement that Obama is reconsidering trying KSM in New York; is Obama accessing our columns before they are published?)

Another dysfunction in Obama's world view is that he harbors contempt for leaders of two democracies which are vitally engaged in defense against terrorism. One is Britain, whose forces have sustained substantial casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan while facing domestic terrorism from native-born Muslims. The other is Israel, which Obama could not mention because his missteps made him the only president who prevented Israelis and Palestinians from talking to each other. Thus, Obama gives us the novelty of a foreign policy address which mentions neither of these two allies.

The world takes a second look at Obama

Make no mistake. A world which greeted the Obama presidency with hope is waking up to the reality that what passes for his foreign policy is scandalous. A salient example is the peroration in the London Telegraph column of Nile Gardiner, a Washington-based foreign policy analyst who appears on CNN, BBC and NPR: 

For the hundreds of millions of people across the world, from Burma to Sudan to Zimbabwe, clamoring to be free of oppression, there was not a shred of hope offered in Barack Obama's address. Obama's world leadership in his first year in office has been weak-kneed and little short of disastrous. He has sacrificed the projection of American power upon the altar of political vanity, with empty speeches and groveling apologies across the world, from Strasbourg to Cairo. He has appeased some of America's worst enemies, and extended the hand of friendship to many of the most odious regimes on the face of the earth. Judging by the State of the Union address, we can expect more of the same from an American president who seems determined to lead the world's greatest power along a path of decline.

We should be grateful that Obama kept this part of his speech brief and thus did not inflict greater damage on  hope for coherent American foreign policy, which leads the world by aligning with like-minded countries to build democracy and combat terrorism.

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