Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Obama Goes to Iran

Underlining the importance the Obama administration places on turning Iran from enemy into U.S. partner, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes likened an Iranian nuclear deal to Obamacare in a talk to progressive activists last January (audio here):
Bottom line is, this is the best opportunity we’ve had to resolve the Iranian issue diplomatically, certainly since President Obama came to office, and probably since the beginning of the Iraq war. So no small opportunity, it’s a big deal. This is probably the biggest thing President Obama will do in his second term on foreign policy. This is healthcare for us, just to put it in context.
Rhodes also said at the time that the White House wants to bypass Congress, which likely would seek to block any such deal:
We’re already kind of thinking through, how do we structure a deal so we don’t necessarily require legislative action right away. And there are ways to do that.
Matthew Continetti of the conservative Washington Free Beacon, which obtained the tape of Rhodes’ private remarks, noted the Rhodes proposal to bypass Congress echoes what an unnamed “senior administration official” told New York Times correspondent David Sanger last week: “We wouldn’t seek congressional legislation in any comprehensive agreement for years.”

Continetti fears Obama sees an Iran deal not just as his second term health care reform, but as his version of George W. Bush’s Iraq surge: a Hail Mary pass thrown in the fourth quarter in a long-shot attempt to salvage a legacy.

We’ve repeatedly said Obama’s aim is much higher. The president wants his own “Nixon goes to China” historic achievement--a grand re-positioning of U.S. foreign policy, gained by turning our greatest enemy into a new partner.

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