The lost year: Obama's Iran engagement policy a spectacular failure

Rick Moran
The New York Times' Helene Cooper tries to let the Administration down easy but there's no hiding the fact that Obama's Iran engagement policy has failed and that they have decided to do what they should have done a year ago: isolate the Islamic state.

White House officials maintain that they have not abandoned Mr. Obama's pledge of engagement, and point to the numerous times in the past year that he reached out to Iran, including a YouTube video to the Iranian people; a letter from Mr. Obama to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei; and even an offer to help Iran buy isotopes for a medical research reactor.
But the nonencounter in Munich between General Jones and Mr. Mottaki, like the full court press on Iran by Mrs. Clinton and other envoys to the region this week, shows that the administration is coming to terms with the limits of its engagement policy, many foreign policy experts say.

Ray Takeyh, a former Iran adviser to the Obama administration, said administration officials were learning from experience.

"There was a thesis a year ago that the differences between the United States and Iran was subject to diplomatic mediation, that they could find areas of common experience, that we were ready to have a dialogue with each other," Mr. Takeyh said, but "those anticipations discounted the extent how the Iranian theocracy views engagement with the United States as a threat to its ideological identity."

And if Mrs. Clinton is correct that the Revolutionary Guards, not the politicians or the clerics, are becoming the central power in Iran, the prospects for rapprochement can only look worse.

Trying to cover for their mistake, the White House insists:

Instead, administration officials say, the biggest benefit of Mr. Obama's engagement policy now is not dialogue or understanding with adversaries, but simply a defusing of a worldwide view that the United States is part of the problem, a demonstration that the problem is Tehran's intransigence, not Washington's pique.
"What the president has achieved is that he has outed Iran," a senior administration official said Friday. He said Iran, by refusing to respond positively, had exposed itself as uninterested in a better relationship with the United States.

This is a fantasy position. Who besides European leftists - and those predisposed to anti-American views anyway - ever thought the US was "part of the problem" when it came to Iran? Incredibly, they actually believe reaching out to Chavez in Venezuela has also "exposed" the thug for being an unreasonable autocrat.

They have swallowed their own campaign rhetoric hook line and sinker. No one in contact with reality in the world really believes that Iran hates the west because George Bush treated them like the pariahs they should be treated as. It is disturbing that even at this late date, with the scales supposedly falling from their eyes regarding Iran's nuclear intentions, that they would believe their moralistic posturing towards the thugs of the world did anyone any good anywhere.

God save us from liberal "good intentions."



The New York Times' Helene Cooper tries to let the Administration down easy but there's no hiding the fact that Obama's Iran engagement policy has failed and that they have decided to do what they should have done a year ago: isolate the Islamic state.

White House officials maintain that they have not abandoned Mr. Obama's pledge of engagement, and point to the numerous times in the past year that he reached out to Iran, including a YouTube video to the Iranian people; a letter from Mr. Obama to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei; and even an offer to help Iran buy isotopes for a medical research reactor.
But the nonencounter in Munich between General Jones and Mr. Mottaki, like the full court press on Iran by Mrs. Clinton and other envoys to the region this week, shows that the administration is coming to terms with the limits of its engagement policy, many foreign policy experts say.

Ray Takeyh, a former Iran adviser to the Obama administration, said administration officials were learning from experience.

"There was a thesis a year ago that the differences between the United States and Iran was subject to diplomatic mediation, that they could find areas of common experience, that we were ready to have a dialogue with each other," Mr. Takeyh said, but "those anticipations discounted the extent how the Iranian theocracy views engagement with the United States as a threat to its ideological identity."

And if Mrs. Clinton is correct that the Revolutionary Guards, not the politicians or the clerics, are becoming the central power in Iran, the prospects for rapprochement can only look worse.

Trying to cover for their mistake, the White House insists:

Instead, administration officials say, the biggest benefit of Mr. Obama's engagement policy now is not dialogue or understanding with adversaries, but simply a defusing of a worldwide view that the United States is part of the problem, a demonstration that the problem is Tehran's intransigence, not Washington's pique.
"What the president has achieved is that he has outed Iran," a senior administration official said Friday. He said Iran, by refusing to respond positively, had exposed itself as uninterested in a better relationship with the United States.

This is a fantasy position. Who besides European leftists - and those predisposed to anti-American views anyway - ever thought the US was "part of the problem" when it came to Iran? Incredibly, they actually believe reaching out to Chavez in Venezuela has also "exposed" the thug for being an unreasonable autocrat.

They have swallowed their own campaign rhetoric hook line and sinker. No one in contact with reality in the world really believes that Iran hates the west because George Bush treated them like the pariahs they should be treated as. It is disturbing that even at this late date, with the scales supposedly falling from their eyes regarding Iran's nuclear intentions, that they would believe their moralistic posturing towards the thugs of the world did anyone any good anywhere.

God save us from liberal "good intentions."