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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Is This Really It on Iran

If you follow the Obama administration closely, you sometimes forget that there are enemies overseas that hate us and would like nothing more than to destroy us. Foreign policy is often an after thought in the administration so far. It makes some sense because the economy is such a massive issue. Still, our enemies won't wait for the economy to recover. I was thinking about this when I heard about this message from the president to the people of Iran.

Every few weeks we hear about another outreach by the Obama administration to Iran. Each outreach is often put down by our counter parts in Iran. That's what happened this time as well.

Mr. Obama has talked of change, but has taken no practical measures to redress America's past mistakes in Iran," said Ahmadinejad's media advisor Ali-Akbar Javanfekr, quoted by semi-official news channel PressTV.

The spokesman went on to say that the U.S.' support of Israel must stop and a series of apologies must be paid. In fact, each and every public outreach are countered with similar statements.

Worse than that, the Obama administration falls silent for weeks and months following these public statements. In other words, they reach out, Iran slaps back, and the Obama administration does nothing else.

I assume and hope that they are doing plenty in back channels. Yet, they must know that when they go out publicly and reach out, are slapped back, and then do nothing, that such a stance makes them look weak. Yet, the administration comes out with these statements and then sits silent after they are rebuked.

I hope I am wrong but it appears as though there is an arrogant and terribly naive foreign policy view. Trying to reach out to enemies without turning such an outreach into a disaster is no easy task. It takes a very delicate balancing act. Simply putting out a public statement from time to time is not enough. Yes, much of such a plan is done behind the scenes and it is entirely possible that there is a lot being done behind the scenes right now. Yet, such an approach cannot allow for such a public rebuke with absolutely no response. That the Obama administration hasn't responded doesn't speak well of his overall policy.


Anonymous said...

I think Obama's people know that Israel is going to attack Iran in a few months and this was Obama's attempt to try to postpone that.

Anonymous said...

To which "weeks and months" are you referring? The current administration has been in office for just a hair over two months. Your hyperbole is showing.

Reza said...

"Worse than that, the Obama administration falls silent for weeks and months"

How can this be since he has only been in office since Jan 20. or two months ago.

mike volpe said...

His first outreach was about two weeks into the administration. This is his second and there has been no response when rejected to either.

That he has made two public outreach appearances in two months is not much publicly. If you are concerned about my overestimation then fine, but let's not pretend as though he is making a serious public effort to reach out.

Anonymous said...

Of course it makes Obama look weak, Mike. It takes a lot of work to make such a defenseless country with no nuclear weapons program such as Iran look strong enough to be a threat.

While a nuclear weapons program would make sense for Iran to have since it seems to be the only real deterrent to US invasion, I really think this is a red herring designed to distract from Iran's conventional weapons program.

Even that kind of program wouldn't do much against the US though. The vast majority of any weapons systems Iran could develop at this point could be neutralized easily by America's heavy reliance on standoff weapons. That being said, it would still make them stronger than Iran's #1 enemy in the middle east: Saudi Arabia.

Ultimately I think an accommodation will be reached between the US and Iran that will make Iran a cheap labor platform for US companies while giving them access to the Iranian market with extremely favorable conditions. The only question is whether Obama will tolerate Khominaei and Rafsanjani sticking around to benefit from that accommodation. I mean, we're buddy buddy with the Saudis and they're fundamentalists.

Talitha Halostar said...

Helicopter Ben Bernanke is swamping us with Massive Quantitative Easing....The Undertow is likely to destroy us all!