Obama cites 'strong diplomacy' as key in return of hostages

President Obama took a victory lap on Sunday, saying that "smart diplomacy" led to the Iran nuclear deal and the release of American hostages held by Iran.

The Hill:

“This is a good day,” Obama said from the White House. “Once again we’re seeing what’s possible with strong American diplomacy.”

The president's victory lap came after 24 hours of diplomatic wrangling that led to the release of five Americans and the lifting of sanctions against Iran under the historic nuclear deal reached last year.

"As president I decided that a strong, confident America could advance our national security by engaging directly with the Iranian government. We've seen the results," Obama said. "Under the nuclear deal...Iran will not get its hands on a nuclear bomb."

The president laid out the steps Tehran has taken to dismantle its nuclear infrastructure, saying "we have now cut off every single path that Iran could have used to create a bomb."

"We’ve achieved this historic progress through diplomacy, without resorting to another war in the Middle East," he added.

The president is measuring his success by keeping us out of another war.  That's very nice, I'm sure, but who was advocating going to war with Iran over the hostages?  And no one I'm aware of ever advocated invading Iran to stop their nuclear program. 

But how do the Iranians measure "success"?  More than $100 billion is falling into their lap; they get to keep most of their nuclear program, which can be ramped up to build a bomb in a matter of weeks; they are given a free hand to spread terror and become a regional hegemon; and they can defy the international community at will with their missile program.

This is "smart diplomacy"? 

The president issued some milquetoast sanctions against Iran that won't slow them down a bit in their effort to build up their ICBM program:

Highlighting ongoing tensions between Washington and Tehran, however, the president announced new sanctions in response to two Iranian ballistic missile tests last year that violated international rules and sparked criticism of Obama's approach to Iran at home.

The Treasury Department sanctioned 11 individuals and companies working to advance Iran's ballistic missile program. The penalties were only announced after a plane carrying three of the Americans exited Iranian airspace on Sunday.

The developments are still a major victory for Obama, who pledged during his first campaign that engaging with America's traditional adversaries could advance the country's interests. The U.S. cut off formal diplomatic ties with Iran 36 years ago in the midst of a major hostage crisis.

The Iranian missile program is huge, and sanctioning only 11 individuals and companies is a drop in the bucket – hardly worth a protest from Iran. 

What the president never mentions is that his "smart diplomacy" has turned Iran from a pariah state into a regional and international power.  Substantially strengthening a country whose citizens are directed to scream "Death to America" every single week at prayers is hardly a "victory."  We should revisit this braggadocio five years from now and see how accurate the president's analysis remains.

President Obama took a victory lap on Sunday, saying that "smart diplomacy" led to the Iran nuclear deal and the release of American hostages held by Iran.

The Hill:

“This is a good day,” Obama said from the White House. “Once again we’re seeing what’s possible with strong American diplomacy.”

The president's victory lap came after 24 hours of diplomatic wrangling that led to the release of five Americans and the lifting of sanctions against Iran under the historic nuclear deal reached last year.

"As president I decided that a strong, confident America could advance our national security by engaging directly with the Iranian government. We've seen the results," Obama said. "Under the nuclear deal...Iran will not get its hands on a nuclear bomb."

The president laid out the steps Tehran has taken to dismantle its nuclear infrastructure, saying "we have now cut off every single path that Iran could have used to create a bomb."

"We’ve achieved this historic progress through diplomacy, without resorting to another war in the Middle East," he added.

The president is measuring his success by keeping us out of another war.  That's very nice, I'm sure, but who was advocating going to war with Iran over the hostages?  And no one I'm aware of ever advocated invading Iran to stop their nuclear program. 

But how do the Iranians measure "success"?  More than $100 billion is falling into their lap; they get to keep most of their nuclear program, which can be ramped up to build a bomb in a matter of weeks; they are given a free hand to spread terror and become a regional hegemon; and they can defy the international community at will with their missile program.

This is "smart diplomacy"? 

The president issued some milquetoast sanctions against Iran that won't slow them down a bit in their effort to build up their ICBM program:

Highlighting ongoing tensions between Washington and Tehran, however, the president announced new sanctions in response to two Iranian ballistic missile tests last year that violated international rules and sparked criticism of Obama's approach to Iran at home.

The Treasury Department sanctioned 11 individuals and companies working to advance Iran's ballistic missile program. The penalties were only announced after a plane carrying three of the Americans exited Iranian airspace on Sunday.

The developments are still a major victory for Obama, who pledged during his first campaign that engaging with America's traditional adversaries could advance the country's interests. The U.S. cut off formal diplomatic ties with Iran 36 years ago in the midst of a major hostage crisis.

The Iranian missile program is huge, and sanctioning only 11 individuals and companies is a drop in the bucket – hardly worth a protest from Iran. 

What the president never mentions is that his "smart diplomacy" has turned Iran from a pariah state into a regional and international power.  Substantially strengthening a country whose citizens are directed to scream "Death to America" every single week at prayers is hardly a "victory."  We should revisit this braggadocio five years from now and see how accurate the president's analysis remains.