Figured I’d carve this out into its own thread. A lengthy read, but exhaustive, and damning of the Obama administration. ICYMI.
So, what would the administration’s motive be? Does Obama believe that the ends justify the means? Does he believe the nuclear deal really makes the world a safer place? Or is this more an attempt at a legacy, a major “win” of his administration? Or, is he simply colossally naive?
Evil or stupid seem to be the options.
It’s a number of things, but I think one was a desperation to get a splashy foreign policy “legacy” win in his watch, and he became willing to concede just about anything to get the things from Iran he got. What value is there to us (real value) to give up these individuals and compromise so much of the counterproliferation work? None. All that was just the ever-climbing premium on the price to get the foreign policy feather in his cap. And we know it because the administration took such pains to avoid telling the truth about it.
This is my bet. he was unable to bluff, misdirect, or be anything but predictable in foreign policy and that is a very bad thing especially when facing ruthless self interested leaders of adversarial states.
Combine with a very healthy dose of “attempt at a legacy” and you have a FUBAR mess.
thunderbolt thanks for the article–I hadn’t seen it and it was good (and maddening)
Classic analogy to the poker player “playing on full tilt”. With even less ROI
He was outclassed in every way and absolutely wreaked of desperation and weakness.
C’mon, we were all thinking it.
“my Muslim faith”
Two recent incidents with the Iranian navy - how much, if anything, may these have to do with the topic at hand? Did the capitulations of the previous administration embolden the Iranian leadership to “try” the new guy? Or are these more of a reaction to the possibility of changes to the nuclear deal?
By the way, if Obama was really a Muslim he’d be a Sunnite - therefore the first thing he would have done upon taking office would be to launch strikes against Shiite idolatrous apostates that corrupted the Word of God.
Probably the latter. First of all, sufficiently stable (that means brutal) dictatorships play the long game and try to exploit the natural lifecycle of every democratically elected government against them, including the US administration.
During the Ahmadinejad years the Iranian regime bet everything on a single roll of the dice - getting the bomb. They’d hoped that they’ll be able to complete the bomb before the crippling sanctions completely destroyed the economy.
For a myriad of reasons, probably the major one being active US intelligence/covert countermeasures, they failed and realized they’ve pushed themselves in the corner. And for a brief terrifying (for the Iranian ruling elite) a military option was on the table for the US, not helped by Ahmadinejad’s outrageous statements in the international arena, painting him as the stereotypical villain.
So they decided they needed to back down - hence the Nuclear Deal. Now, negotiations with the Iranian regime were bound to be difficult - if we ignore for the second the hardline religious element and fierce nationalism, the Iranians can be pretty exasperating. They’re often on the verge of hysteria, constantly worrying about “losing face”, “honor”, “giving one’s word” etc. Unlike the Arabs in general, they pretty much believe in that stuff.
But they’re smart. Really smart. Now, I’m speculating that somewhere in the early stages of this delicate balancing act of negotiations the Obama administration pretty much telegraphed them that they’re really interested in closing the deal during Obama’s tenure (see the first paragraph about exploiting the lifecycle of an administration). Was it because the Sunnis (ISIS) were the primary concern for the US or because the relationship with the Sunni superpower Saudi Arabia hit a rocky patch, who knows?
Anyway, this is the part where the Obama’s administration messed up.
So the Iranians probably started exploiting this, especially since Kerry was a horrible SoS, allowing pretty much everyone to impose their will on him. So they started asking for concession after concession (including freeing their agents, cancelling Interpol warrants) under the plausible (and partially true) explanation that they’ll have a hard time selling the Deal to their hardliners.
And not used to the exhausting and complex concept of such negotiations the administration caved in on many points. Rank amateur stuff, I gotta say. As the negotiations progressed, the Administration got carried away and became inpatient so they started conceding ground left and right, as it was nicely summed in the Politico article.
This is key. They understood the clock was running out on Obama’s term and knew they could name their price.
Which is absolutely inexcusable on Obama’s part. I don’t expect anything much from the dictators but I expect the “leader of the free world” to be much better than that.
This is, if a very small and probably yuuugely outweighed aspect, possibly somethi g that can work to Trump’s advantage if he doesn’t screw it up horribly: people already think he’s nuts. If they think he is crazy just enough to go start pushing buttons for military actions they might decide not to be too uppity.
Downside of course is that I have zero faith in Trump’s ability to play a cogent misdirection strategy in geopolitics, but hey…it could happen.
Regarding Iran, I keep thinking of Hitler’s lovely talks about peace and disarmament in the run up to WWII. He was talking peace, while secretly arming Germany and building military might. And so many ideologues in Europe were so eager to “disarm for peace.”
Iran has been lying to the world about it’s missile development, uranium enrichment, and so forth, for how many years now? What I don’t understand is why we’re all pretending that this agreement means anything. Does anyone honestly believe that they will actually follow through, and that it was some kind of finest hour for diplomacy?
At least North Korea is more straight forward with their brand of threats and aggression. I think more about NK deciding if it’s a good day to see if they can hit California, but Iran is probably the bigger threat.
Nope. Mullahs are despicable, but they’re not crazy. One would even say they’re super cynical.
Kim on the other hand is batshit crazy.
Iran is currently winning pretty much everywhere - Saudi Arabia publicly acknowledged that Iran now controls Lebanon, Iraq is under a Shiite majority government (and therefore a client state), the deal with the Kurds and semi-heretic Alawites in Syria enables them access to the much coveted Mediterranean… And the proxy war they’re running on the cheap in Yemen with Shiite rebels is costing Saudi Arabia money and casualties…
Remember, it’s a long game - Shiites vs. Sunnites, the West is just a recent intruder.
So they’re anxious to consolidate and keep these gains, without rocking the boat, Not to blow themselves up in a blaze of religion-induced hysteria. That’s a Sunni salafi thing, not a shia thing.
Possibly why Obama did not back up his “red line” threat explained.