Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Obama's Foreign Policy Disarray

Israel Alone - Bret Stephens

In recent conversations, senior Israeli officials can't understand what's become of U.S. foreign policy. They fail to grasp how a president who pledged to work toward the abolition of nuclear weapons is pushing an accord with Tehran that guarantees their proliferation. They are astonished by the nonchalance with which the administration acquiesces in Iran's regional power plays.

That leaves Israel alone to deal as best as it can with a broadening array of threats: thousands more missiles for Hizbullah, paid for by sanctions relief for Tehran; ISIS on the Golan Heights; an Iran safe, thanks to Russian missiles, from any conceivable Israeli strike. Israel must seek its security with an America that, say what it will, has nobody's back but its own. 
(Wall Street Journal)

Nonproliferation Standard Is Dead - Matthew Kroenig
  • The U.S. has always opposed the spread of sensitive nuclear technologies to all states, including its own allies, because the risk of proliferation was simply too great, and it is a mistake to make an exception for Iran. The U.S. even played hardball with friends, forcing Taiwan and South Korea to shut down reprocessing programs in the 1970s and convincing France to cancel the sale of a reprocessing plant to Pakistan in 1978. The agreement with Libya in 2003 was a textbook example of successful nuclear diplomacy. But then, suddenly, the Obama administration abandoned this cornerstone of American foreign policy.
  • In the interim agreement struck in November 2013, Washington granted Iran the right to enrich, and over the past 18 months it has engaged in the unprecedented act of bargaining over the scale - not the existence - of an aspiring proliferator's enrichment program. Moreover, the Iran deal sets a dangerous precedent.
  • The U.S. is making this exception to its nonproliferation policy for a longstanding U.S. enemy, a leading state-sponsor of terrorism, a country that has violated its nonproliferation commitments in the past, and a country that at present stonewalls the International Atomic Energy Agency's questions about the military dimensions of its nuclear program.
  • In the wake of the Iran deal, it will be difficult for Washington to explain that it trusts Tehran with sensitive nuclear technologies, but not other countries, including its allies and partners. Expect additional bids for enrichment and reprocessing programs as countries follow Iran's example and assemble the components of a nuclear weapons capability under the guise of "peaceful" nuclear power.
  • The Obama administration claimed a zero-enrichment deal with Iran was impossible. Perhaps it was. But it would have been much better for Iran to enrich in the face of strong international condemnation than for its dangerous enrichment program to receive the solemn blessing of the international community.
  • We abandoned a clear international standard we had established in order to meet Iran halfway in its unreasonable demands. What we have to show for it is not a historic deal, but the death of a 70-year-old bipartisan pillar of American foreign policy.The writer is associate professor of government at Georgetown University and a senior fellow in the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at the Atlantic Council.
(Weekly Standard)


David Horovitz, the well known Israeli journalist formally with The Jerusalem Post, has penned an excellent article reviewing all of Obama's presidential missteps with regard to the US - Israel relationship.  Pay particular attention to his list.  See:

Obama’s 67 degrees of separation from Israel

[I]n the heartfelt but likely forlorn hope of a change for the better in this unnecessarily fraught relationship, [here] are an anniversary-appropriate 67 ways in which the president and his mighty administration, unfortunately, have put daylight between the US and Israel. Sixty-seven ways they’ve distanced themselves, or haven’t been as much help as they could and should have been...
[The Times of Israel]
Hat tip: Marty P


Arms-Control Expert: "A Huge Retreat by U.S.; Big Victory for Iran"

Former assistant secretary of state for international security and nonproliferation Stephen Rademaker told the House Foreign Affairs Committee:

"The United States is abandoning the policy pursued for more than twenty years by the Clinton, Bush, and, until now, Obama administrations, to make sure Iran neither had nuclear weapons nor was on the threshold of producing them. [T]his is a huge retreat in U.S. nonproliferation policy, and a big victory for Iran in its decades-long quest to gain acceptance of its nuclear program."

"The economics of this deal suggest to me that we are about to diminish the prospects for transformation in Iran rather than enhance them."  
(U.S. House of Representatives)

Anointing Iran - Charles Krauthammer

In December, President Obama said that he wished to see Iran ultimately become a "very successful regional power." His wish - a nightmare for the Western-oriented Arab states - is becoming a reality. The strategic reality of the new Middle East is clear to everyone: Iran rising, assisted, astonishingly, by the U.S.
(Washington Post)

Obama's Goal Is Detente with Iran - Michael Doran

While President Obama has persuaded much of the world that the primary goal of his Iran diplomacy is to negotiate a nuclear arms-control agreement, in fact, the primary goal is détente with Iran.

Obama has put an end to containment of Iran as a guiding principle of American Middle East policy. To be sure, he continues to pay lip service to the idea of countering Iran's influence, but his actions do not match his rhetoric. In Syria and Iraq, especially, Obama has long been respectful of Iranian interests while treating Tehran as a silent partner against Islamic State (IS).

Détente with Iran requires Obama to demote all of those allies who perceive a rising Iran as their primary security threat.
The writer, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, is a former deputy assistant secretary of defense and a former senior director of the National Security Council. 

Deal or No Deal? - Thomas L. Friedman

There is a hard core in Tehran for whom nuclear weapons are a deliberate thumb in the eye of the world meant to block the very integration that would open Iran to influences from America and the West - an opening they fear would dilute whatever revolutionary fervor is left in its youths, many of whom are fed up with Iran's isolation. 

(New York Times)

The Danger of the Iran Deal - Jeff Jacoby

Virtually everything we know about Iran's nuclear program was uncovered only after years of stonewalling, concealment, and denial. The construction of a vast uranium enrichment installation near Natanz and a heavy-water reactor in Arak didn't come to light until an Iranian exile group exposed their existence. With such a track record, it's logical that Iran's commitments are so widely regarded as worthless. No piece of paper signed in Switzerland will take the ayatollahs' eyes off the nuclear prize they have so long pursued. And of what value is any agreement if one of the signatories can't be trusted not to cheat?

But the mullahs don't lie about what matters to them most: death to America, the extermination of Israel, unrelenting global jihad. They say they are deadly serious. Believe them.
(Boston Globe)

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