WaPo editorial: Iran is playing Obama

Remember a few weeks back in Vienna when, with great fanfare, the administration announced an agreement with the Iranians regarding their stockpile of enriched uranium? We were told that the mullahs had agreed to ship 70% of it to Russia in order to complete the processing into fuel suitable for a nuclear reactor.

Well, guess what? The Iranians are going back on the deal. They now say they will ship small amounts of their enriched uranium to Russia over the period of a year - the amount and timing of the shipments to be - you guessed it - negotiated.

This op-ed in the Washington Post lays out the administration's for their utter foolishness and asks: "Can Obama Play Hardball?":

Many of us worry that, for Obama, engagement is an end in itself, not a means to an end. We worry that every time Iran rejects one proposal, the president will simply resume negotiations on another proposal and that this will continue right up until the day Iran finally tests its first nuclear weapon, at which point the president will simply begin negotiations again to try to persuade Iran to put its nuclear genie back in the bottle.

Russia, meanwhile, will continue to be accommodated as a partner in this effort, on the perpetually untested theory that if Obama ever did decide to get tough with Iran, Moscow would join in. Russia thus reaps all the rewards of engagement without ever having to make a difficult decision.

The worst of it is that the Tehran regime is now desperately trying to buy time so it can regain full control of the country in the face of widespread anger after the fraudulent presidential elections in June and a still-vibrant Iranian opposition. For the clerics, an endless negotiating process is not merely a means of putting off any real concessions on its nuclear program. It is also, and more important, a way of putting off any Western sanctions that could produce new and potentially explosive unrest in their already unstable country. That is the best card in Obama's hand right now. It's time for him to play it -- or admit that poker is not his game.

Russia has already said that sanctions are not the answer, that continued engagement with Iran is just fine with them. This means that in a matter of weeks, the president is going to be tested on how serious he is about stopping the Iranians from getting the bomb.

There are already indications that Obama will accept an Iranian fait accompli on a nuclear weapon because the only way to stop them at this point is military action that would result in regime change. All of this "engagement" is for show; Obama has already concluded that taking military action against Iran would cause more problems than it would solve.

The west could try the punitive sanctions route on their own - namely, cutting off deliveries of refined gasoline. But without Russia and China on board, such would be an exercise in futility.

This makes an Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear facilities very likely. Will Obama support our ally for doing something that we will be blamed for anyway? From what we know of this man and his attitude toward the Israelis, it would not surprise me if he took drastic action against our ally if they took the military route in defending themselves - all to curry favor with Iran and stop any attacks on America.

This whole thing is getting more and more depressing. The world's inability to deal with Iran may lead to a general war in the Middle East. And the blame can be placed at the feet of the American president.


Hat Tip: Ed Lasky

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