Obama is still pursuing [his] dream: to be the American president who goes to Tehran, who achieves with Iran what Richard Nixon achieved with China.Comment: We first raised six months ago the idea that going to Iran would provide Obama his “Nixon goes to China” place in history. Kristol is the first commentator I’ve seen to publicize so clearly Obama’s real reason for discounting the Iranian nuclear threat.
There’s a big problem with the “Nixon to China” analogy, however. Nixon was a conservative Republican long known for being tough on “Red China.” Nixon’s willingness to cozy up to China’s mass murderer Mao Zedong disarmed the main source of domestic opposition to a China policy change--those inside his own party.
By contrast, Obama’s domestic opposition to allowing Iran to go nuclear (the obvious price for any visit to Tehran) comes from outside his left-wing Democratic Party base. These forces won’t be silenced or mollified by any attempted Obama appeasement of Iran.
It is Obama's failures that explain his anger—his failures, and his hopes that a breakthrough with Iran could erase the memories of failure and appear to vindicate his foreign policy. . . When you think your policies are going to be vindicated, you ignore or dismiss critics. It's when you suspect and fear imminent failure that you lash out.Comment: We just wrote, “In modern politics you first ignore, then attack personally and without mercy.” Well, it’s of course when your position is strong that you ignore, and when your position weakens that you go on the attack. I don’t know the psychology behind Kristol’s analysis of why people lash out, but I agree with its more general application to (public) life.