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Khamenei calls ‘Death to America’ as Kerry hails progress on nuke deal

Day after Obama urges Iran to seize ‘historic opportunity,’ supreme leader says US seeks to create insecurity

by Times of Israel Staff     •     The Times of Israel

Obama IranIran’s Supreme leader Ali Khamenei called for “Death to America” on Saturday, a day after President Barack Obama appealed to Iran to seize a “historic opportunity” for a nuclear deal and a better future, and as US Secretary of State John Kerry claimed substantial progress toward an accord.

Khamenei told a crowd in Tehran that Iran would not capitulate to Western demands. When the crowd started shouting, “Death to America,” the ayatollah responded: “Of course yes, death to America, because America is the original source of this pressure.

“They insist on putting pressure on our dear people’s economy,” he said, referring to economic sanctions aimed at halting Iran’s nuclear program. “What is their goal? Their goal is to put the people against the system,” he said. “The politics of America is to create insecurity,” he added, referring both to US pressure on Iran and elsewhere in the region. [Read more...]

The ObamaCare of Arms-Control Agreements

The Iran nuclear deal has the same political weaknesses as the Affordable Care Act.

By Daniel Henninger     •     Wall Street Journal

Obama Iran Nuke DealThe Iran nuclear deal is going to be the ObamaCare of arms-control agreements—a substantive mess undermined by a failure to build adequate political support.

Next Tuesday is the deadline for completing the “political” terms of an agreement with Iran. “Technical” details arrive in June. From news reporting on the negotiations, it appears the agreement is turning into a virtual Rube Goldberg machine, a patchwork of fixes that its creators will claim somehow limits Iran’s nuclear breakout period to “a year.” Which is to say, it’s going to be another ObamaCare, a poorly designed mega-project others will have to clean up later.

Just as ObamaCare was a massive entitlement program enacted with no Republican support (unlike Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid), the administration’s major arms-control agreement is bypassing a traditional vote in the Senate. Instead, it will get rubber-stamp approval by, of all things, the U.N. Security Council. [Read more...]

Iran Declares Pre-emptive Victory in Nuke Talks

Iran FlagIntroduction by Peter Huessy     •     National Security Roundtable

Iran’s foreign minister and chief negotiator in nuclear talks with the West declared victory for his country, stating that no matter how the negotiations end, Tehran has come out “the winner,” according to remarks made on Tuesday (see below).

While some may dismiss this as typical Iranian bluster, we (NSR) would venture to say it’s one of those rare moments where Iran is actually telling the TRUTH.

As we and others have been saying from day one, Iran’s main goal in its negotiations with the West has been to gain TIME. Time to complete its nuclear weapons program and delivery systems, and operate freely, while under relaxed sanctions.

But the truth is Iran is doing much more. Its Revolutionary Guards have taken over and are leading the Iraqi military and Iraqi Shia militias in the fight against ISIS. That would explain the recent sightings of General Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Iranian Quds Force (a division of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards) in places like Tikrit, Iraq and even in Amman, Jordan. [Read more...]

The Iran Letter

by Peter Huessy

Obama IranThe Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) forbids any of its signatories, other than the five permanent members of the UN National Security Council, from having nuclear weapons. Of the 190 signatories to the treaty, Iran is one. So there already is an internationally agreed upon law that forbids Iran from getting nuclear weapons even if it meets all the rules in producing nuclear energy for electricity.

So why do we need another agreement between the US and Iran to stop Tehran’s nuclear program?

Can’t we just enforce the current NPT?

Apparently not. [Read more...]

5 times Democrats undermined Republican presidents with foreign governments

by Philip Klein     •     The Washington Examiner

Obama Foreign Policy FailedOn Monday, 47 Republican senators led by Tom Cotton, R-Ark., released an “open letter” to Iran’s leaders noting that any deal the regime signs with President Obama without the approval of Congress could be revoked by a future president or changed by Congress. The White House went into a tizzy trying to portray the move as somehow “unprecedented” — a view that has found a friendly audience with the media.

Vice President Joe Biden claimed the letter “ignores two centuries of precedent and threatens to undermine the ability of any future American president, whether democrat or republican, to negotiate with other nations on behalf of the United States.” The New York Daily News featured an editorial blasting the letter on its front page, with photos of the senators and the bold-faced headline “TRAITORS.” A more muted NBC roundup called the move “extraordinary — if not unprecedented.” In reality, whatever one’s view of the letter, to call it “unprecedented” is to ignore history. The reality is that on many occasions, Democrats have reached out to foreign leaders to undermine the foreign policy of a sitting Republican president.

Here are just five examples. [Read more...]

Crusaders and Appeasers

By Charles Krauthammer     •     The Washington Post

Smug-ObamaHis secretary of defense says, “The world is exploding all over.” His attorney general says that the threat of terror “keeps me up at night.” The world bears them out. On Tuesday, American hostage Kayla Mueller is confirmed dead. On Wednesday, the U.S. evacuates its embassy in Yemen, a country cited by President Obama last September as an American success in fighting terrorism.

Yet Obama’s reaction to, shall we say, turmoil abroad has been one of alarming lassitude and passivity. [Read more...]

Nuclear Talks with Iran to Fail

by Lawrence A. Franklin

Obama IranThe Obama Administration’s efforts to negotiate a verifiable agreement with Iran which would limit the Islamic Republic’s capability to develop a nuclear weapon — will fail—because of Iran’s domestic political dynamics.

A decade of efforts by European and American diplomats, combined with effective sanctions as well as Iran’s disingenuous public diplomacy strategy, did succeed in bringing Tehran to the negotiating table. However, despite some support for an agreement within President Rouhani’s circles, regime hardliners have begun to signal that they will not tolerate an agreement with the West. [Read more...]

Blowing Holes in the Nuclear Deterrent

by Peter Huessy

Nuclear DisarmamentThe President’s budget will be submitted to Congress this week and the annual Department of Defense (DOD) budget at $585 billion is sure to get a lot of attention. For example, Tom Collina of the Ploughshares Fund (1) recommended, even before the budget was released, that the USA cut $75 billion over the next ten years from projected DOD nuclear weapons modernization requirements.(2)

Included in the proposed cuts would be four out of the twelve planned submarines we are building to replace our current Ohio class Trident fleet of 14 nuclear armed submarines. These bulwarks of our deterrent were first put into the water some 30 years ago and will soon reach the end of their hull life. [Read more...]

Why Netanyahu Is Right to Go Around Obama To Congress

by Marc A. Thiessen     •     The Washington Post Obama 102

Do they talk this way about Iranian President Hassan Rouhani?

After learning that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had accepted an invitation to address a joint session of Congress about the need for new sanctions to stop Iran’s nuclear program, the Obama administration went . . . well, nuclear.

One “senior American official” threatened Netanyahu, telling the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that “Netanyahu ought to remember that President Obama has a year and a half left to his presidency, and that there will be a price.” Meanwhile a “source close to [Secretary of State John] Kerry” told The Post that the “secretary’s patience is not infinite” and that “playing politics with that relationship could blunt Secretary Kerry’s enthusiasm for being Israel’s primary defender.” [Read more...]

Obama and the Refusal to Call a Cat a Cat

For the French, it is almost surreal to see how the White House avoids using the phrase ‘radical Islam.’

By Laure Mandeville     •     The Wall Street Journal Obama Smirk

In French, we have an expression: “Call a cat a cat.” Appeler un chat un chat. That is exactly what French Prime Minister Manuel Valls did after the horrific terrorist attacks that hit my country on Jan. 7, when he identified “radical Islam” as our enemy. In France, most rallied to this clear acknowledgment of the threat we are dealing with, because it is simply impossible to deny.

That is why it has sounded almost surreal when the Obama administration and many observers in the U.S., despite their heartening support for the French, go to great lengths to insist that the terrorist attack had nothing to do with Islam. [Read more...]

4 Reasons We Shouldn’t Be Surprised Obama Snubbed Paris

by Mollie Hemingway     •     The Federalist

Smug-ObamaOn Sunday, millions of people rallied in France in a show of unity for Western political freedoms and against Islamist extremism. World leaders from dozens of other countries came to Paris, the site of the largest rally, in a show of solidarity and strength in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo slaughter and the murderous siege of a Kosher supermarket. The United States didn’t send a high-ranking delegation and the absence was noted by American media and concerned critics of the Obama administration.

Some simply wanted the United States to formally acknowledge the shock and horror France dealt with last week, as well as our shared efforts in the fight for liberty. Others hoped a strong U.S. presence would indicate our strong adherence to democratic values and, as Peggy Noonan put it, “to demonstrate the shared understanding that the massacre may amount to a tipping point, whereby those who protect and put forward Western political values will insist upon them in their sphere and ask their Muslim fellow citizens to walk side by side with them in shared public commitment.” [Read more...]

Nylons for Nothing in Cuba

by Charles Krauthammer     •     Washington Post

cuba1There’s an old Cold War joke — pre-pantyhose — that to defeat communism we should empty our B-52 bombers of nuclear weapons and instead drop nylons over the Soviet Union. Flood the Russians with the soft consumer culture of capitalism, seduce them with Western contact and commerce, love-bomb them into freedom.

We did win the Cold War, but differently. We contained, constrained, squeezed and eventually exhausted the Soviets into giving up. The dissidents inside subsequently told us how much they were sustained by our support for them and our implacable pressure on their oppressors. [Read more...]

Diplomacy Failed in Iran: Fund Missile Defense

by George Landrith     •      Townhall   iran-nuclear-weapons

The US and several other nations have been in “talks” in hopes of negotiating with Iran to stop its nuclear program in exchange for lifting the UN sanctions. But those negotiations have gone no-where. On Monday, the deadline came and went without an agreement.

Extending the deadline to permit more “talks” will not likely protect a single person. It just gives Iran more time to develop a bomb. Why would Iran agree to limit itself when obtaining the bomb will allow it to threaten its way out of sanctions? Even if Iran were to agree to something, there is virtually no chance that the Mullahcracy will keep its promise when they are so close to obtaining the bomb they clearly covet. [Read more...]

A World of Trouble for Obama

Public support for the president’s foreign policy is waning—and he’s losing Democratic lawmakers

by William A. Galston     •     Wall Street Journal

Obama-upsetIn March my Brookings colleague Robert Kagan memorably observed that President Obama was giving the American people the foreign policy they wanted—and they didn’t much like it. Overseas events have only deepened public concern. A Pew Research Center survey released Aug. 28 found that only 35% of people approve of the president’s handling of the crises in Iraq and Ukraine. Only 15% think we play a more important and powerful role in the world than we did a decade ago, compared with 48% who think our role is less important. And 65% believe that we live in a world more dangerous than it was a few years ago.

The Pew study also finds compelling evidence that Americans are beginning to change their minds about what they want. The share of those who think the U.S. does too much in the world has fallen to only 39% today, from 51% in November, while the share who thinks it does too little has nearly doubled, to 31% from 17%. In the early months of the Obama presidency, only 38% thought the president was “not tough enough” on national security; today, 54% believe that—a figure that includes more than one third of all Democrats. [Read more...]

The Collapse of Obama’s Foreign Policy

by Rich Lowry     •     Politico Magazine

Obama Hand on Head 2President Barack Obama’s stated goal in the fight against the Islamic State, aka ISIL, is to reduce it to a “manageable problem.”

What this means, he hasn’t spelled out in great specificity. Presumably fewer beheadings. A slower pace of Western recruiting. Fewer genocidal threats against embattled minorities. A downgrading of the caliphate to a mini-state, or merely a large swath of territory in Syria and Iraq.

The evil of ISIL has stirred nearly everyone around President Obama to ringing statements of resolve. Vice President Joe Biden says, “We will follow them to the gates of hell.” Secretary of State John Kerry tweets, “ISIL must be destroyed/will be crushed.” [Read more...]