Obama and Hil­lary: Ain’t too proud to beg

There is lit­tle this duo won’t do to get a nu­clear deal with Iran

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - By Mon­ica Crow­ley

We all know how des­per­ate Pres­i­dent Obama has been to strike a nu­clear deal with Iran. But what about his first hand­maiden of for­eign pol­icy, Hil­lary Clin­ton? She’s been at­tempt­ing to po­si­tion her­self as a more re­spon­si­ble al­ter­na­tive to Mr. Obama, in­ter­ested in ap­ply­ing “smart power” rather than “no power.” So, how des­per­ate was she to reach a deal with Tehran?

Well, at one point in 2010, she aban­doned what­ever mod­icum of dig­nity she had left and stalked the Ira­nian for­eign min­is­ter like a wild-eyed ex-girl­friend.

At a gala din­ner in Bahrain that year, she lit­er­ally chased Manouchehr Mot­taki around the room, hop­ing to get a word with him, only to be com­pletely blown off. Mrs. Clin­ton told re­porters on the plane ride home, “I got up to leave and he was sit­ting sev­eral seats down from me and … he saw me and he stopped and be­gan to turn away. And I said, ‘Hello, min­is­ter!’ And he just turned away.”

De­nied. But Hil­lary went back for an­other in­sult. While they were both stand­ing out­side wait­ing for their mo­tor­cades, Mrs. Clin­ton called out to Mr. Mot­taki again, only to be met once more by his stony si­lence.

I’m just sur­prised she was able to pry her­self away from her pri­vate email server long enough to run around a ball­room in her sen­si­ble shoes, beg­ging the rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the world’s fore­most ter­ror­ist regime to ac­knowl­edge her ex­is­tence.

To­day it’s Gucci loafer-wear­ing Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry, but the U.S. pros­tra­tion con­tin­ues. How did we get here? Dur­ing the 2008 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, Mr. Obama had promised to open ne­go­ti­a­tions with Iran “with­out pre­con­di­tions.” Sev­eral months af­ter he be­came pres­i­dent, Mr. Obama sent good tid­ings to the regime at the start of the Ira­nian new year. He of­fered “the prom­ise of a new be­gin­ning” that was “grounded in mu­tual re­spect.” That came af­ter his In­au­gu­ral Ad­dress an­nounce­ment that he’d cozy up to enemies like Iran: “To those who cling to power through cor­rup­tion and de­ceit and the si­lenc­ing of dis­sent, know that you are on the wrong side of his­tory; but that we will ex­tend a hand if you are will­ing to un­clench your fist.”

Iran greeted his “ex­tended hand” by grab­bing three Amer­i­can hik­ers on its bor­der and hold­ing them for two years, es­ca­lat­ing war games and threat­en­ing to close the Straits of Hor­muz, though which over one-third of the world’s oil flows.

And yet, Mr. Obama was so ob­sessed with strik­ing a grand bar­gain with Iran that noth­ing would dis­suade him — not even the regime’s mass slaugh­ter of its own peo­ple.

He thought through the sheer force of his awesomeness he’d con­vince the mul­lahs to change course. That, of course, was ab­surd on its face. Once Iran got a nuke, it would dom­i­nate the Persian Gulf, threaten Is­rael’s very sur­vival and set off a re­gional nu­clear arms race. The en­tire Mid­dle East would ex­plode in nu­clear-weapons driven in­sta­bil­ity, but Iran would be driv­ing the bus. Tehran was get­ting tan­ta­liz­ingly close to its game-chang­ing pos­ses­sion of a nuke just as Mr. Obama was mak­ing a ya­hoo out of him­self with his “ex­tended hand.”

The Ira­ni­ans knew that with Mr. Obama, they were fac­ing a com­mit­ted left­ist who be­lieved in down­grad­ing his own coun­try’s power while run­ning head­long into their arms. They had hit the jack­pot.

So they dragged out ne­go­ti­a­tions through the United Na­tions and the Euro­peans for years. A lot of talk­ing was done, mostly by ev­ery­one but the Ira­ni­ans. In Novem­ber 2009, Team Obama said it was will­ing to give Iran more time to de­cide whether to ac­cept a U.N.-bro­kered deal to get Iran to move its stocks of low-en­riched ura­nium to Rus­sia or an­other coun­try in ex­change for fuel for a nu­clear medicine lab­o­ra­tory. Iran hemmed and hawed, asked for count­less amend­ments and more talks. Team Obama of­fered all kinds of in­cen­tives, but pre­dictably, the Ira­ni­ans bailed on the deal.

Sound familiar? This is what the Ira­ni­ans do: They per­form a deal strip­tease and then pull the ura­nium rug out at the last mo­ment. Mean­while, they get closer to the bomb.

With­out truly regime-end­ing sanc­tions, Iran will con­tinue its march to­ward be­com­ing a nu­cle­ar­armed ter­ror­ist state, un­less the United States or Is­rael takes some form of mil­i­tary ac­tion to foster regime change, or at least set the pro­gram back, as the Is­raelis did by bomb­ing Sad­dam Hus­sein’s Osirak nu­clear fa­cil­ity in 1981 and a sus­pect nu­clear fa­cil­ity in Syria in 2007.

Ab­sent di­rect mil­i­tary ac­tion or a full covert cam­paign against Iran’s nuke pro­gram, how­ever, Tehran will ca­reen head­long to a “break­out” mo­ment with its nu­clear pro­gram, giv­ing the regime — which de­nies the Holo­caust, calls for elim­i­nat­ing Is­rael, sup­ports al Qaeda, Hezbol­lah and Ha­mas, ex­ports in­ter­na­tional ter­ror, is cre­at­ing a new Persian em­pire across the Mid­dle East and has helped to kill Amer­i­can sol­diers in Iraq and Afghanistan — the abil­ity to ex­tort and com­mit mass mur­der with the ul­ti­mate weapon of mass de­struc­tion. Mon­ica Crow­ley is on­line opin­ion edi­tor at The Wash­ing­ton Times.


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