|Rhodes w/President on Air Force One|
Obama's black father was absent, he was raised by a white mother and grandmother, he was the first black president of the Harvard Law Review, he understood the power of race in America in our time, and he knew how race--the American civil rights movement--became supercharged when the feminist movement joined the path toward equality, helping make minorities plus women the new national majority.
Obama’s “Dreams” years, 1961-88, a childhood and youth spent in nonwhite, nonblack Hawaii, newly-independent Indonesia, and black South Side Chicago, unfolded against the world backdrop of anti-colonialism, collapsing white empires, and the U.S. failure in Vietnam. Obama was not only part of a new American majority, he would move toward a presidency that enabled him to fit America into the world’s anti-colonialist majority.
On this changed globe, the white outpost of Israel artificially planted by Europeans in the Arab Middle East seems the relic of an older era, to Obama a last vestige of white imperialism. Obama’s “dream” would use U.S. power to re-balance the Israeli-Palestinian relationship, gaining Iran as an ally in the process.
When leaders come to power, they carry out ideas formed earlier, when they actually had time to think. I now realize how much the Iraq Study Group Report: The Way Forward – A New Approach, written in 2006 under the guidance of former Republican Secretary of State James Baker and former Democratic House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Lee H. Hamilton, influenced Obama.
An “expert adviser” to that report had anticipated the panel’s recommendation that the Bush administration should pressure Israel to make concessions so as to “entice Syria and Iran to a regional conference on Iraq,” and the report itself found “critics of the Bush Administration's handling of the [Iraq] war, including liberal media outlets and think tanks, applaud[ing] the report's recommendations [of] increased diplomacy with Syria and Iran.” [emphasis added]
Obama had to be among those applauding. As president, Obama made Ben Rhodes (see picture) his deputy national security adviser. Rhodes spent five years as Lee Hamilton’s assistant, helping to draft the Iraq Study Group Report, and in 2007, Rhodes began working as a speechwriter for the 2008 Obama presidential campaign. He later wrote Obama's 2009 Cairo speech "A New Beginning,” during which Obama addressed “the Islamic Republic of Iran:”
In the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically-elected Iranian government. Since the Islamic Revolution, Iran has played a role in acts of hostage-taking and violence against U.S. troops and civilians. This history is well known. Rather than remain trapped in the past, I have made it clear to Iran's leaders and people that my country is prepared to move forward. The question, now, is not what Iran is against, but rather what future it wants to build. . . we will proceed with courage, rectitude and resolve. . . we are willing to move forward without preconditions on the basis of mutual respect.Rhodes said recently that a deal with Iran is the “biggest thing President Obama will do in his second term on foreign policy.” Iran-born Valerie Jarrett. Ben Rhodes. Iran--front and center since Obama’s 2009 Cairo “new beginning” speech.