Obama’s Big Idea

kerry iran IIWatching President Trump scupper the Iran Deal made me wonder where we would be today if Hillary Clinton had won the 2016 presidential election. I was reminded of fired FBI Director James Comey’s praise for the defeated Democratic nominee at a Town Hall meeting in April of this year: “Hillary Clinton is more meshed in, trained in, respectful of the norms and traditions that I’m so worried about being eroded today.” Lucky, I thought, Donald Trump is not “meshed in, trained in, respectful of the norms and traditions” that constituted the Obama Doctrine.

Barack Obama’s Big Idea was to ask the US’s traditional adversaries – Russia, Iran, Cuba, China, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, and so on – to show some flexibility and give good relations with America a chance. His entreaty, however, was interpreted by Uncle Sam’s traditional adversaries – or, should we say, “partners in peace” – to mean the US, the self-identified guilty party in international relations, wanted a second chance. The Islamic Republic of Iran, eventually, decided it would play along with Obama’s “feel good” diplomacy, and entered into negotiations with the P5+1 (UN Security Council members plus Germany).

For the Obama administration, and for virtually every progressive we-are-the-world Westerner, the Iran Nuclear Deal was what we had been waiting for, the moment when hope and change meet and the promise of a global people’s community takes a giant step forward. Older hands warned that this was all a recipe for disaster, as I wrote in “Wiser Men on the Iranian Deal back in May 2015.

But Barack Obama, the apotheosis of trendy left-wing millennialism, could not be dissuaded from his heal-the-world mission. He and Secretary of State John Kerry pushed ahead with a deal, their Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed in July, 2015. Given that Tehran retained the right to keep developing a delivery system for nuclear weaponry (that is, it’s a ballistic- and cruise-missile program), inadequate international oversight of its nuclear project and a sunset clause that, more or less, ensured a nuclear-weapons breakout ten years’ down the track, it was reasonable to refer to JCPOA as “Obama’s Munich Moment”.

Obama’s Big Idea was that the nuclear deal, concomitant with the release of billions of dollars of frozen Iran assets and the cessation of Western sanctions, would encourage the Iranian leaders to join the global people’s community as a responsible member. This is what President Obama said with the ink was barely dry on the deal:

The path of violence and rigid ideology, a foreign policy based on threats to attack your neighbours or eradicate Israel – that’s a dead end. A different path, one of tolerance and peaceful resolution of conflict, leads to more integration into the global community, and the ability of the Iranian people to prosper and thrive.

Now we know for sure what we should have known for sure from the beginning: Barack Obama, a professorial-style leftist ideologue, was quite possibly the most dangerous Leader of the Free World imaginable.

Iran, of course, took the billions of dollars released to it through the JCPOA and stepped up its sponsorship of militias in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. Not even Latin America has been safe from Iran’s anti-US adventurism. And all the while the Iranians have persisted with their Death-to-America and Death-to-Israel mania, which is not a treatable malady so much as a terminal psychosis. As Jonathan S. Tobin once politely enquired: “Has Obama read the Khamenei Palestine book?”

One additional indignity was dealt to Obama in August, 2016, when his State Department – while it wasn’t busy conspiring against the Trump campaign – forked out $400 million in cash to secure the release of American hostages in Iran. The JCPOA had bought zero good will from the theocrats who rule Iran. Still, no need to worry, because the State Department at the time assured the world that while the money did not constitute a “ransom payment”, the prisoner release was “contingent” on it. Well, that’s okay then.

The impediment to world peace, nevertheless, was not Barack Obama’s strategic patience but Donald Trump’s volatile impatience – or, at least, that is how the narrative goes. Thus, the mainstream media, Democrats (including those who opposed it in the first place) and European leaders et al are apoplectic about the threat to JCPOA. Naturally, Obama calls Trump’s decision a “serious mistake” while John Kerry says it risks “dragging the world back to the brink”. That said, it is not so easy refuting the specifics of President Trump’s address, even if they are not respectful of the norms of the Obama Doctrine: “At the heart of the deal was a giant fiction that a murderous regime desired only a peaceful nuclear-energy program.”

Far more credible than Barack Obama’s Iran Nuclear Deal is this: Tehran will never dare revive its nuclear-weapons program while Donald John Trump remains in the White House.

Just ask Kim Jong-un.

12 thoughts on “Obama’s Big Idea

  • Jacob Jonker says:

    It is reported that Obama got paid half a million dollars for a chat, basically, with some Air New Zealand minders. How would people who defend what goes for capitalism explain such a thing, if it is true?

    • en passant says:

      If you do not know whether or not your allegation is true, what is there to defend?

      Billary Clinton was paid $$MM for speeches in Russia, but that was not ‘capitalism’, but the crooked cronyism od ‘pay to play’ footsie with Killary.

      • Jacob Jonker says:

        Read it properly. Until it is fairly certain, people may comment or not, put up a defence or formulate criticism hypothetically. You are welcome to wait until it turns out to be true before lodging your denouncement or agreement.

      • Jacob Jonker says:

        Newshub just tells me Einstein was wrong on quantum physics. If that is correct, I award myself one hundred points. Chances are better now for the story about Obama collecting half a million dollars plus, courtesy Air New Zealand, to also be correct. Quantum philosophy is amazing.

        • en passant says:

          Do you know Ian MacDougall? Are you Ian MacDougall?
          Can you provide the refeerence to Air NZ paying $500K to Obama. Until you do, it is fake news (aka a ‘Jonkerism’).

          “How would people who defend what goes for capitalism explain such a thing, if it is true?” – You quite frequently allude to the inequities of capitalism and that ‘capitalism’ is the ploy of a elite who use a combination of the Big C with Communi-fascism to rule the world. I think you added that it would soon collapse ‘just wait and see’. I have been waiting for 200 years, so when exactly do you predict this apocalypse and why?

          As an ‘informational’: Capitalism has collapsed many times, but like a phoenix it rises from its own ashes. I was in Russia when its totalitarian ‘system’ was collapsing. However, a capitalist black market arose like magic and saved the nation from starvation and possible civil war.

          • Jacob Jonker says:

            The black market is indeed capitalism. As to Russia, I know that is the way it went, and under the circumstances possibly inevitable, but just now, and for the foreseeable future, Russia is some kind of robber baron kleptocracy. Within a country’s economy, there are different isms at work, different kinds of capitalism, if you like. So, yes, I don’t like the kind of capitalism in Russia, or Europe, or Australasia. I know it could be worse, I know it can be better, but not any time soon. There may be different kinds of capitalism, there is no viable alternative to capitalism. However, in the old West, in which I include Australasia, the kleptocratic part of the economy is growing at the expense of capitalism. In Europe, in some countries, the black economy is huge. Supposed to be 40% in Italy, for instance.

            500 k for Obama came via google up on newshub. Is it true? I am awaiting confirmation. Yes, it could be just click bait, fake news, or just the usual run of the mill leakage to gauge public reaction. It could be a few years before we know for certain. It’s a public relations strategy of pushing the envelope to get people used to this kind of thing. Now, we don’t have to wait for confirmation to discuss the issue in principle. Is there no limit to remuneration of politicians, top-bureaucrats, executives in private enterprise, the top hierarchy and their supporters? If anything goes, by what right are we being critical of anyone? People in power simply do what they can get away with.

            It’s a free world, isn’t it. Maybe Air New Zealand’s controllers reckon its good value to have Obama showing up for a few days. The expense is tax-deductible and the other customers will just have to pay a bit more. Nobody is hurt. If the government raises taxes by a few dollars per family, nobody is hurt. Possibly, the ongoing comments about taxation are a kind of lobbying. Keep lobbying, no matter how much the government gives the rich the advantage. I have always believed in a free market within nation-states. Obviously, transnationalism is directly opposed to free markets. Globalisation means a global oligopoly. They call it capitalism, I don’t.

            So, of course, capitalism will keep coming back, in a fashion. Tyranny and kleptocracies also keep coming back. It goes in cycles.

          • Jacob Jonker says:

            No, I’m not he. I’m just posing as me.

        • en passant says:

          On the separate issue of your self-awarded 100-points. Einstein, like all theoretical scientists made errors because he made predictions based on available information. However, he made several huge & inspired intellectual leaps beyond the available evidence. Most were right, but he was willing to admit error and challenged others to find them. He was not an expert on Quantum Mechanics and disagreed strongly with Neils Bohr. When some of Bohr’s theories were proven, Einstein said it was his greatest blunder. Einstein was a true scientist in that he welcomed challenges to his ideas, and if wrong, then that was good, because now the correct (better) answer could be developed. You know, just like the Climate Cult Pseudo-Scientists today …

          Einstein demonstrated thet the 300-year ‘certainties’ of the Newtonian model were wrong (as well-described in the film “Eddington & Einstein”. Another enjoyable film to watch is “The Man Who Knew Infinity”.

          • Jacob Jonker says:

            Einstein was a genius.A true scientist if ever there was one. More so than Newton, who, it is beyond doubt, according to fellow scientists, fudged the numbers to suit his theories.
            I wasn’t having you on. Just Dutch humour. Or Westfriesian. Or a Jonkerism. Even people from the next village don’t get it sometimes.

  • en passant says:

    Trump is the Churchillian giant who is dragging the USA back into the light from the Obamanation of the darkest 8-years of the past two centuries.

  • padraic says:

    Most people would like to think that if they are polite and respectful towards another human being the politeness and respect will be reciprocated. In such a situation the other human being may (a) reciprocate, or alternately (b) may consider politeness and respect as a weakness to be exploited. You don’t need to be a genius to recognize which option the other human being is taking. You may miss option (b) on one occasion, but you learn from it and don’t make the same mistake again. If you do you are stupid. This approach applies to relations between countries as well as individuals.

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