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Obamunism Infects the Washington Times

posted at 8:40 pm on September 27, 2009 by

When Barack H. Obama was running for president, then after the election, then even after his inauguration, he told us over and over that the Bush doctrine of isolating Iran and refusing its demand for one-on-one talks was churlish and wrongheaded: The only approach that would work, sayeth the new president, was to start over — to “reset” all foreign policy… not just the war against the Iran/al-Qaeda axis, but the Israeli-Palestinian issue, Russia, China, North Korea, and indeed every other hot spot around the world.

Summit-level negotiations “without preconditions” was the new way; it would lead to a new world order of peace, understanding, diplomacy, and global cooperation among nations. Imagine, using the golden oratory of the One the World Was Waiting For to talk Iran out of pursuring nuclear weaponty — nobody had ever tried such a thing before!

(Well, technically true, perhaps; I don’t think any previous president was naïve enough to believe that mere talk could persuade enemies to agree to positions that helped the democratic West against the enemy’s own interests.)

Included among the assumptions such a policy requires is, quite naturally, that our diplomatic partnets can be trusted. When Obama insisted that he would go anywhere, anytime to have a sit-down and a cuppa with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and just, you know, talk things out, the Obamacle was screaming in subtext that Ahmadinejad could be trusted not to cheat and not to lie: After all, how could we possibly cut a deal with someone who had no intention of abiding by his side of it? In legal terms, there is no “meeting of the minds,” hence no contract exists.

So one would think it a staggering blow to the Obamic metapolicy of “diplomacy not defense” (my term) to learn that for years, Ahmadinejad has been playing the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for saps — lying to the West and lying to America in particular about such a material fact as the existence of another hardened, buried, concealed nuclear enrichment facility in Qom, besides the two known sites: Lashkar Abad (allegedly shut down) and the main uranium-enrichment site at Natanz.

One would think, that is, that the revelation of systematic lying on an international scale (in flagrant violation of international agreements), while building a secret facility that even the Obama administration admits is not suitable for producing fuel for peaceful energy production, might put a crimp in the idea that Iran and its president can be trusted to honor any future international agreements on the very same program.

One might also conclude that, since Obama says he has known about the Iranian deception at least since inauguration and possibly even during the campaign, therefore the One Himself was also lying to the American people and playing us for saps; he knew the Iranians were cheats and liars, but he told us we could trust them to honor agreements and tell the truth.

But one would be wrong… for the Obama administration (and its liberal allies) instead see the entire incident as adding to the luster of the president’s foreign-policy acumen. And in a bizarre twist of the tale, so too does the Washington Times, previously thought to be a “conservative” newspaper:

Mr. Obama’s disclosure Friday that Iran had a secret nuclear facility and that he had known about it since taking office introduced a new way of looking at many of his decisions since January. [Yes, we now look at his past statements and see that he lied to the American people and misled us to believe we had negotiating partners. — DaH]

“You have to go back and look at the nine months and all the moves he’s made since then, and that he knew Iran was lying to him, and he still went ahead with it,” said Joe Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund, a Washington advocacy group devoted to eliminating nuclear weapons from the world.

“He played Iran perfectly, to isolate Iran, unite all the other countries around him, with an open hand to Iran, and then he springs the trap.”

Not only did the president look strong, he looked cunning.

The last line is not in quotation marks; it’s the opinion of the reporter, Jon Ward, hence of the Washington Times itself.

More fawning from the Times:

Now, a question for the White House is whether it can capitalize on this moment and direct this sense of momentum toward its domestic agenda, namely health care reform.

The president’s top advisers, after returning to Washington from the Group of 20 summit in Pittsburgh, acknowledged that Mr. Obama had cut a compelling figure during a week of maneuvering to hem in Iran’s nuclear program.

“The president played a strong and effective leadership role this week on the world stage, and I think Americans appreciate that,” said David Axelrod, one of the president’s closest advisers.

Well, I’m certainly impressed that Barack Obama has the vote of confidence of his own closest confidants!

This is the sort of high-RPM spinning I expect from the Washington Post, not Times, as they frantically pirouette and tapdance, trying to make a silk purse out of a pig’s breakfast. Note that this story includes no analysis by even a single conservative group or person; just three liberals, including the president’s own top advisor, David Axelrod.

Like the elite left media, this fairy tale reads as though it was written by White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, under a “nom de rotation.”

Yet conservatives have not been silent; they’ve already opined on what the hasty, overdue revelation means; and any newspaper writer or editor should have been aware of that fact.

After all, the Obama administration is certainly not known for self-effacing modesty; it has never shied from admiring itself the mirror. Maybe, just maybe, Obama’s opinion of himself is not particuarly newsworthy.

For just one example, John Hinderaker at Power Line wrote a lengthy post taking a look at how this revelation re-colors a series of inexplicable foreign-policy missteps that now should fairly be seen as direct appeasement of a powerful enemy:

  • Knowing that Iran was lying in its teeth, cheating us and the U.N., and laughing at our unwillingness to hold it accountable in a meaningful way, Obama still begged Ahmadinejad for a face-to-face meeting “without preconditions.”
  • Knowing what he knew, he nevertheless betrayed Poland and the Czech Republic by reneging on the missile shield.
  • Knowing what they knew, our allies still refused to join Obama in any tough sanctions regime against Iran.
  • And knowing what everyone but “we the people” knew, and even now after all has been revealed, the president is still publicly dithering about whether to grant the plea of Gen. Stanley McChrystal for a change to a counterinsurgency (COIN) strategy in Afghanistan that would require more troops.

Rather than making the Obamacle look stronger, this revelation makes his foreign policy look pathetic and limp, almost surreal. We know that Obama rushed to reveal the existence of the Qom nuclear site because he knew Iran itself was about to disclose it:

Mr. Obama’s hand was forced, however, after Iran, apparently learning that the site had been discovered by Western intelligence, delivered a vague, terse letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency on Monday disclosing that it was building a second plant, one that it had never mentioned during years of inspections.

Given Obama’s earlier willingness to play along with Iran and trick the American people into believing the mullahs and Ahmadinejad were reliable partners, the only rational conclusion is that Obama thought he could better spin the suddenly looming disclosure if he jumped out and did it first himself. Was he hoping the American people would never find out about it, so he could continue his appeasement tour of the Middle East?

And one more question: Is Obama considering rejecting McChrystal’s request because he’s afraid that when next-door Iran gets its nukes, which likelihood he seems strangely complacent about, they can then hold our entire Afghanistan force hostage?

The Washington Times article ends thus:

The biggest impact of the Iran secret-site announcement may be that in the future, when critics level the boom [sic] on the president for a decision they don’t like, they might hesitate for fear that, like the past week, he might have an ace up his sleeve. [“Level the boom” must be a mangling of “level their sights” and “lower the boom”; I’ll have to remember that one and steal it later!]

So critics might hesitate to “level the boom” on the One — because they’re worried he might be concealing other material facts from the American people that make him look weak and weird? I’m unfamiliar with this political calculus.

Sadly, but not unpredictably, conservatives seem just as eager as liberals to cooperate in retailing President Obama’s paralogical reimaging of his own pratfalls into examples of unalloyed genius. Lying to the American people and trying to trick us into supporting “negotiations” with a “partner” who is utterly untrustworthy is evidently not a bug. It’s a feature.

Cross-posted on Big Lizards

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An ace up his sleeve? Cunning? Time will tell.
All it says to me so far is what I already knew. He and his cannot be trusted.

jeanie on September 27, 2009 at 9:11 PM

And one more question: Is Obama considering rejecting McChrystal’s request because he’s afraid that when next-door Iran gets its nukes, which likelihood he seems strangely complacent about, they can then hold our entire Afghanistan force hostage?

In a word, no. That’s the least of our worries. Even if you can think of a scenario under which it would make sense for Iran to threaten our troops with nukes – which I don’t think you can – just having nuclear material is not the same as having an explosive. Just having an explosive is not the same as having a munition. Just having a munition is not the same as having a delivery system. Just having a delivery system and munition is not the same as having a reliable delivery system. Just having a reliable delivery system is not the same as having a reliable and accurate delivery system. And just having a reliable and accurate delivery system and weapon is not the same as having a usable reliable and accurate delivery system and weapon.

CK MacLeod on September 27, 2009 at 9:20 PM

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