Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Obama Has Failed on Iran

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By Richard Grenell, Newsmax /

Let’s face it; President Barack Obama’s hope for a dialogue with dictators was a naïve gamble to begin with. Even many people in his own party thought it was an academic exercise from an inexperienced law professor that wasn’t rooted in reality. But during the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama was on one side of the argument of what to do about Iran, and Hillary Clinton and John McCain were on the other. Obama championed the idea that he could rally the international community to do more to isolate the government of Iran and that he could sit down with its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to convince him that he should give up the illegal pursuit of a nuclear bomb. Clinton and McCain, however, advocated for a tougher approach that included immediate new sanctions, using the White House bully pulpit and possible military action. While Obama believed that he could convince Ahmadinejad of the error of his ways through direct dialogue, Clinton and McCain warned that it was a waste of precious time. One year later Obama has single-handedly allowed the Iranians more than a year of unfettered progress toward a nuclear weapon with less pressure and inquiry from the international community. Even the slow-moving, state-the-obvious International Atomic Energy Agency announced this week that it fears Iran is working toward a nuclear warhead to go along with its undisclosed uranium enrichment activities. And although the United States has been negotiating with Iran for more than 30 years, Obama has been acting like this nation has never tried diplomacy.

Recently, the president has been trying something "new." “The next step is sanctions,” President Obama said on Feb. 9. The problem with the president’s latest pronouncement is that the next step was sanctions — 14 months ago. Over the last 14 months, the U.S. should have been enforcing the existing U.N. sanctions, ratcheting up the pressure with new penalties, urging the Europeans to abide by the current financial restrictions, and supporting the opposition inside Iran. Now, a new round of sanctions and the inevitable protracted process getting to a U.N. vote may play into the Iranian’s hopes for more time. U.N. sanctions will take months of consistent pressure. To begin a U.N. sanctions process now will only compound the dangerous mistakes Obama has already made. And his U.N. ambassador, Susan Rice, may be too weak to negotiate a Security Council resolution on Iran. Shockingly, Obama and Rice haven’t produced a single U.N. Security Council resolution on Iran since they’ve been in office. Putting Rice up against the Iranians or even the Chinese or Europeans should give every American a cause for concern. This past year, Rice has spent more time in Washington looking to trip up Hillary and take her job than she has spent working the halls of the U.N. negotiating a resolution on Iran. And like Obama, she has not paid attention to the priority issues. While Rice claims that her Cabinet-level job requires more D.C. face time, in fact, U.S. Mission employees have confirmed that Rice isn’t leading the Iran negotiations from New York or Washington. (Read more...)