Friday, April 10, 2015

Iran: Obama’s “Nixon Goes to China” Legacy at a Crossroads

Barack Obama has a strategy for getting his “go to Tehran by giving Iran the bomb, just not now” program though a Republican congress. He paints Republicans as the party of war, the enemy of peace (see cartoon).

Obama does so not to overpower the GOP, but to force fence-sitting Democrats to choose between backing their president or siding with (evil) Republicans. He wants, as suggested earlier, the most liberal 34 senators to sustain his veto of any GOP-led anti-Iran efforts.

Obama’s execution of his divide-and-rule strategy re. Iran is already underway. Last week, speaking in the Rose Garden, the president said:
when you hear the inevitable critics of the deal sound off, ask them a simple question:  Do you really think that this verifiable deal, if fully implemented, backed by the world’s major powers, is a worse option than the risk of another war in the Middle East?
“inevitable critics. . . sound off.” He means (evil) Republicans, and he means to shame loyal Democrats into backing his Iran sell-out. So he warns:
If Congress kills this deal . . . then it’s the United States that will be blamed for the failure of diplomacy.  International unity will collapse, and the path to conflict will widen. The American people understand this, which is why solid majorities support a diplomatic resolution to the Iranian nuclear issue. 
“If Congress kills. . . solid majorities support a diplomatic resolution” means “Democrats, I’m talking to you! Do you stand with me or with (evil) Republicans; with the people or with the enemy?!”

Obama, as we all know by now, is playing for a place in history similar to that achieved by Henry Kissinger in 1971, when Kissinger turned great enemy Red China into a sometime U.S. partner, a triumph marked by Richard Nixon’s epic 1972 visit to Beijing and Shanghai. Iran is arguably our biggest enemy today, and Obama wants his own historic visit to Tehran and Isfahan. Democratic foreign policy gurus sidelined by Kissinger’s great China triumph also want their own piece of world history.

But now, Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei has threatened the supposed agreement by ruling out “extraordinary supervision measures” over Iran’s nuclear activities, adding that “Iran’s military sites cannot be inspected under the excuse of nuclear supervision.”  Khamenei also said sanctions “should be lifted all together on the same day of the agreement, not six months or one year later.”

And another event is jarring Obama’s reach for destiny. Henry Kissinger, still alive and coherent, has attacked the Obama negotiations with Iran, indirectly calling them no echo of his 44-year-old triumph with China.

Kissinger’s views are bound to carry weight with Congress, including Democrats. Writes Kissinger, along with fellow ex-Secretary of State George Shultz:
Cooperation is not an exercise in good feeling; it presupposes congruent definitions of stability. There exists no current evidence that Iran and the U.S. are remotely near such an understanding. Even while combating common enemies, such as ISIS, Iran has declined to embrace common objectives. Iran’s representatives (including its Supreme Leader) continue to profess a revolutionary anti-Western concept of international order; domestically, some senior Iranians describe nuclear negotiations as a form of jihad by other means.
Kissinger is saying Iran is no China. While China worked with the U.S., Kissinger sees Iran as a danger to all, including the U.S.:
The final stages of the nuclear talks have coincided with Iran’s intensified efforts to expand and entrench its power in neighboring states. Iranian or Iranian client forces are now the pre-eminent military or political element in multiple Arab countries, operating beyond the control of national authorities. With the recent addition of Yemen as a battlefield, Tehran occupies positions along all of the Middle East’s strategic waterways and encircles archrival Saudi Arabia, an American ally. Unless political restraint is linked to nuclear restraint, an agreement freeing Iran from sanctions risks empowering Iran’s hegemonic efforts.
Kissinger and Shultz conclude:
the projected nuclear agreement will reinforce, not resolve, the world’s challenges in the region. Rather than enabling American disengagement from the Middle East, the nuclear framework is more likely to necessitate deepening involvement there—on complex new terms.
From Kissinger’s mountaintop, the Obama effort looks “JV.” And frightening as a result.

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