President Obama reveals himself to be quite the gambler. He is reversing 20 years of bipartisan policy establishing that a nuclear Iran was not in the best interests of the United States or world peace.
Three presidents, Bush 41, Clinton and Bush 43, were determined to use military force to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear capability. Obama, however, is signing off on a deal that slows down Iran’s creation of a nuclear weapon, but that doesn’t deter it. It keeps the infrastructure in place.
Why the change?
In an interview with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, Obama defends his policy of engagement with governments hostile to the United States, such as Iran and Cuba, as opposed to isolation, even if it leads to marginalizing traditional allies.
It’s not like this administration has been gifted in foreign policy. Take Egypt, for example. In his first international trip as president, Obama was a guest of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, whom he later pressured to resign, opening the door to the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization that defends jihad.
After a military coup, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is gravitating more toward Russia, which is a new player in the Middle East.
Obama also miscalculated with ISIS, comparing it to a junior varsity team just before it took over a number of cities in the region.
He threatened Syria’s Bashar Assad not to cross the line when it came to the use of chemical weapons against civilians. Assad called Obama’s bluff and found that he was, in fact, bluffing. A coup d’état in Yemen also caught President Obama off guard. He touted the U.S. counterterrorism effort there, but the government collapsed. Both al Qaida and Iran are a growing menace there.
Then there is Israel.
The U.S.-Israel relationship has never been so poor, and all the while Israel is continuously threatened. Last year, Iranian-backed Hamas was caught red-handed having constructed elaborate underground tunnels stemming from Gaza to attack Israel. That is where the cement donated to build Palestinian homes is being used for tunnels. Can Israeli survive if Iran goes nuclear?
Obama is not completely alone in dealing with Iran, a group of nations known as the P5+1 will also sign off on this agreement. But these are the same nations that let Putin partition Ukraine.
Obama tells Friedman that he will provide Israel with support if necessary, acknowledging the deep mistrust it has with his abilities to negotiate the right deal: “But what I would say to them is that not only am I absolutely committed to making sure that they maintain their qualitative military edge, and that they can deter any potential future attacks, but what I am willing to do is make the kinds of commitments that would give everybody in the neighborhood, including Iran, a clarity that if Israel were to be attacked by any state, that we would stand by them.”
That is, of course, if there is a country left to save. What would Obama do if Israel did a preemptive strike on Iranian nuclear facilities? Would he support Tel Aviv or Tehran?
Then there is Cuba: “For us to test the possibility that engagement leads to a better outcome for the Cuban people, there aren’t that many risks for us. It’s a tiny little country. It’s not one that threatens our core security interests. … If it turns out that it doesn’t lead to better outcomes, we can adjust our policies.”
This “tiny little country” posed quite a nuclear threat to the United States during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and Vladimir Putin is looking to revive military operations on the island. Cuba continues violate international law by selling military arms.
Just a few weeks ago, Colombia detained a Chinese ship headed for Cuba that contained 100 tons of gun powder, approximately 3 million detonators and 3,000 cannon shells. The ship’s records indicated it was transporting grain. Two years ago, Panama detained a North Korean ship that was carrying arms from Cuba. These, too, were intercepted, but it’s anyone’s guess how many made it to their destination. The Raúl Castros of the world have no desire for world peace.
The world today is more dangerous than when Obama took office; incredibly, he isn’t alarmed. He should know that he is the only one who’s not worried.