Earlier this month we talked about the second Iranian missile test of the season, a provocation which has largely been ignored by the west in general and the White House in particular. It’s a story which has largely been buried under a pile of news about ISIS on the foreign front and the elections on this side of the pond. But nothing much has changed since then, with Iran seemingly acting with impunity, collecting the benefits of the nuclear deal while waving their triumphs in everyone’s face. It turns out that somebody has noticed, however and they’re taking Barack Obama to task for it. The shocking part is that it’s the editorial board of the Washington Post.
IRAN IS following through on the nuclear deal it struck with a U.S.-led coalition in an utterly predictable way: It is racing to fulfill those parts of the accord that will allow it to collect $100 billion in frozen funds and end sanctions on its oil exports and banking system, while expanding its belligerent and illegal activities in other areas — and daring the West to respond.
Unfortunately, the Obama administration’s response to these provocations has also been familiar. It is doing its best to downplay them — and thereby encouraging Tehran to press for still-greater advantage…
The U.S. response? “We are now actively considering the appropriate consequences to that launch in October,” State Department official Stephen Mull testified at a Senate committee hearing Thursday. In other words, there have so far been none — other than a speech by the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations blaming the Security Council for the lack of action. As for the second missile launch, the administration claims to be investigating it, though it likely has in its possession the intelligence necessary to make a judgment.
My word, that’s a very damning indictment of the White House to show up at the WaPo. Of course, pretty much all of the grievances they list are completely justified. Iran gives every appearance of playing us for a fool and is parading their ability to outplay John Kerry on the world stage. Also, the threat of their missile capabilities can’t simply be overlooked since their reach has expanded greatly.
But there may be another element to the WaPo editorial board’s motives here. The portion of their column which I snipped out of the excerpt above dealt with another subject entirely: Iran’s sentencing of their correspondent Jason Rezaian to prison, as well as the kidnapping of two other American businessmen. What happened to Rezaian is abominable and the White House has absolutely dropped the ball when it comes to his imprisonment. The failure to make that a bargaining chip in the nuclear talks which Iran so badly wanted is a debacle which falls squarely on the shoulders of John Kerry and Barack Obama. But I do have to wonder if the Washington Post would be quite so vehemently on the side of the good guys had it not involved the danger to one of their own.
It’s good to see the editors taking the situation seriously and letting the public know how badly we are doing in terms of dealing with Iran. In the end, the motive doesn’t matter as much as the message. Here’s hoping that somebody in the White House wakes up and gets a grip on the situation soon and that Jason Rezaian is released promptly. What we do about Iran’s other transgressions is another matter and I’m not getting my hopes up at this point.