The Goal of Obama's Foreign Policy
What we can conclude from the Iranian nuke deal.
(/sites/default/files/uploads/2013/11/131123233322-iran-agreement-04-horizontal-gallery.jpg)Originally published by the Jerusalem Post.
It isn’t surprising that the US and the other five powers signed a deal with Iran on Saturday. Over the past few weeks, US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry made it clear that they were committed to signing a deal with Iran as quickly as possible.
And it isn’t surprising that the deal these overeager leaders signed with the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism makes the world a much more dangerous place than it was before the agreement was concluded.
With the US and its allies far more eager to reach an accord with Iran on its illicit nuclear weapons program than Iran was, it was obvious from the outset that any deal ultimately reached, at least as long as these negotiating conditions remained in force, would facilitate rather than inhibit Iran’s quest to build a nuclear arsenal. And indeed, the sanctions relief that Iran has gained simply by signing on the dotted line will be sufficient to buffet the Iranian economy through a successful nuclear weapons test.
Iran will achieve nuclear capability while enriching itself through the deal because the deal gives Iran sanctions relief without requiring Iran to make any irreversible concessions. Indeed, Iran just received the international community’s permission to continue to enrich uranium, keep all its nuclear installations open and build new centrifuges.
While the deal isn’t surprising in and of itself, Obama’s decision to conclude it now makes clear the true goal of his foreign policy. To understand that goal, it is first necessary to consider an aspect of the deal that, on the surface, makes little sense.
The negotiations with the Iranians that culminated in Saturday night’s agreement went on for a year.
And yet, the final deal reflects Iran’s opening positions.
That is, over the course of the entire year, American and European negotiators were not able to move Iran’s positions one iota.
So what has the Obama administration been doing for the past year? Since Iran’s positions were the same all along, why didn’t they sign this deal a year ago? The US’s strength relative to Iran did not diminish significantly since a year ago. So the US didn’t need this agreement more now than it did a year ago.
Clearly, Obama did not spend the last year trying to build domestic American support for a deal that enables the regime that calls daily for the annihilation of America to become a nuclear power. With Iran building military bases all over Central and South America, Obama never bothered trying to make the case to the American people that they would be more secure with this regime in possession of the capacity to kill millions of Americans with one bomb.
Obama never stood before the Congress to explain how a deal that gives America’s Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval to Iran’s illicit nuclear weapons program advances US national security. He never explained how allowing Iran to continue to enrich uranium decreases the likelihood of war.
So what did Obama need the last year for? If he wasn’t concerned with getting a less dangerous deal, and he didn’t care what the American people though about his facilitation of Iran’s nuclear weapons program, what prevented him from okaying the agreement last year? To ascertain the answer, it is worth considering Finance Minister Yair Lapid’s comments Sunday morning. Beyond noting the nuclear deal’s danger to Israel’s security, Lapid said, “I am worried not only over the deal but that we have lost the world’s attention.”
And indeed, Israel has lost the world’s attention. Its appropriately deep concerns over Iran’s nuclear behavior were belittled, ignored and derided, first and foremost by the Obama administration. Worse than belittling Israel’s concerns, which are completely shared by the Sunni Arab world, Obama and Kerry have castigated as warmongers those Americans who agree with Israel’s concerns and have attacked them as traitors who seek to push America into an unnecessary war. At the same time, they have presented the dispute as one of Israel against the rest of the world, ignoring that the Sunni Arab world shares Israel’s concerns.
Statements to this effect from US officials have been legion since the details of the deal were first divulged to Israel and the Gulf States by the French and the British three weeks ago.
The brazenness of these anti-Israel statements points to the main action that Obama and his advisors have engaged in for the past year, while not moving Iran a millimeter from its opening position at the nuclear talks.
Over the past year, Obama has engaged in systematically weakening Israel’s position both regionally and in Washington. Regionally, the US has forced Israel into talks with the Palestinians that are engineered to weaken Israel strategically and diplomatically. The US has delegitimized Israel’s legal rights to sovereignty and self-defense, while effectively justifying Palestinian terrorism as a legitimate response to Israeli actions – which themselves were perfectly legal. So, too, the US has given a green light to the EU’s illegal, discriminatory economic war against Israel.
Beyond that, the Obama administration has significantly expanded the prospect of war between Israel and Syria by leaking Israeli strikes against Syrian targets that posed a threat to Israel’s security.
The US has also weakened Israel’s capacity to take steps short of war to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons possessing state by leaking key components of Israel’s covert operations against Iran’s nuclear program.
In the US, the Obama administration has targeted Israel’s American supporters. This has been advanced, first and foremost, by actively weakening AIPA C. As Lee Smith explained in Tablet, the administration has taken three key steps to neutralize AIPA C as an effective force in Washington.
It has supported J Street and so legitimized anti-Israel policymaking.
Obama appointed outspoken critics of the US-Israel alliance to key positions in his national security team. First and foremost in this arena was his appointment of Chuck Hagel to serve as defense secretary.
Finally, Obama discredited AIPA C, painting it as an unthinking warmonger by forcing the group to lobby Congress to support his helter-skelter rush to war against Syria. The coup de grace was Obama’s sudden abandonment of his plans to bomb Syria, which left AIPA C high and dry, looking like an anti-Semitic caricature of itself.
The culmination of this long process of delegitimizing Israel as a warmongering, ungrateful ally and its supporters as turncoats who are forcing the US to endanger itself for the benefit of the Jewish state was the administration’s hysterical campaign against Israel and its supporters in the lead-up to Saturday’s signing ceremony in Geneva. Everyone, from the White House to Kerry, accused Israel and its supporters of trying to force the US to fight an unnecessary war.
When we consider Obama’s decision to wait for a year to sign the deal that enables Iran to become a nuclear power in the context of his main activities over the past year, we understand his foreign policy.
His goal is not to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power. It isn’t even to facilitate a rapprochement between America and Iran. The goal of Obama’s foreign policy is to weaken the State of Israel.
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