The Obama Administration appears to have a schizophrenic foreign policy that is guided solely by a desire to project an image to the US domestic political audience of vague leadership. Yet, when you look at the actual effects of the Obama Administration’s forays into the Arab Spring, the Libyan Civil War, Syria and now Iran, you are left scratching your head. One moment Obama is pursuing policies that appear to pander to the interests of the Saudis and the Sunnis. Then Obama does a complete reversal and signs on to a deal with Iran that angers and alienates the Saudis and the Israelis.
This might be understandable if there were a majority in the United States (or a powerful minority for that matter) pushing for a deal with Iran. But there is not. While most Americans hold a very negative opinion of Iran, most would also be hard pressed to find it on a map or explain the difference between Sunnis and Shias.
The pliant, sycophantic media cheerleaders–Dana Milbank is a prime example of those inclined to perform political fellatio on der Leader–were out in force pooh poohing Republican objections to the Iran deal:
“The Iran deal and our allies: You can’t spell abandonment without OBAMA,” he wrote (referring to Ari Fleischer).
This is the sort of trenchant judgment Fleischer was known for as chief spokesman for President George W. Bush at the start of the Iraq war. His anagram analysis was so relevant to the topic that it deserves application to his name, too. Turns out you can’t spell “Re: Chief Liars,” “Hi, false crier,” “Hire Sir Fecal” or “I relish farce” without ARI FLEISCHER.
But Fleischer’s instant and reflexive response — even knees don’t jerk as quickly as he did — set the tone for Republicans. Three minutes after Fleischer’s tweet came one in agreement from Ron Christie, another veteran of the Bush administration. “Precisely,” he wrote, also without the benefit of knowing what was in the agreement. “A disgraceful deal.”
What Milbank and others of his ilk studiously ignore is the backlash likely to come from the Jewish Americans who support Israel and have supported Obama. Their support, especially their financial contributions, could be in jeopardy. Obama’s move on the diplomatic front with Iran is more likely to galvanize significant political opposition in America than it is to create an enthusiastic, powerful group endorsing his move.
The deal with Iran, from my perspective, is a largely meaningless sideshow. The real issue in the Middle East is not whether Iran gets a nuclear weapon (NEWS FLASH–Iran will have a nuke within 8 years). Instead, it is the regional war that is underway that pits Sunnis against Shias. It is happening in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and will likely spread into Saudi Arabia. That’s the real threat in the region. I doubt we would be seeing the kind of threats and histrionics by the likes of John Bolton and other neocons if the Saudis were on the brink of getting a nuke. They seem to be able to overlook the role of the 19 Saudis in the 9-11 attacks and focus, instead, their vitriol exclusively on Iran and the Ayatollahs.
So I leave you with the question posed at the outset–what the hell does Obama hope to achieve by dealing with Iran?