Barack Obama’s presidency has empowered the adversaries of the United States
by Matthew Continetti • Washington Free Beacon
This week President Obama won the 34th vote in support of his nuclear deal with Iran. The vote, from Senator Barbara Mikulski, guarantees that the deal will survive a rejection by Congress. The fact that the deal will be made despite such opposition—something a few of us predicted months ago—is, in the words of the AP, a “landmark Obama victory.” It is worth asking how many more of these victories our country can withstand.
The president and his supporters, of course, say their foreign policy has improved the world. “Like George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton,” writes Gideon Rose of Foreign Affairs, “Obama will likely pass on to his successor an overall foreign policy agenda and national power position in better shape than when he entered office, ones that the next administration can build on to improve things further.”
I’m not convinced. Rather than trying to predict how things will look when Obama leaves office, rather than contemplating abstractions such as our “overall foreign policy agenda” and “national power position,” why not examine the actual results of Obama’s policies, as they exist now, in the real world before our eyes? Continue reading
With the Senate lacking the two-thirds majority it would need to stop him, President Obama will succeed in implementing his nuclear deal with Iran. At this point, barring a miracle, Obama has outmaneuvered the Congress and won that fight.
He has also lost the argument.
For all the millions of dollars they promised to spend influencing public opinion, his allies failed to put a dent in the overwhelming opposition among the American public. The demeaning videos they trotted out featuring vapid celebrities failed to convince the undecided to embrace this deal. Nor could they assuage the glaring problems in its terms for those following closely enough to feel confident expressing an opinion. Continue reading
By John Podhoretz • New York Post
It’s rare for people to celebrate getting 41 percent of anything. If you score 41 percent on a test, you get an F. If you win 41 percent of the vote in a two-person race, you lose. If your tax rate is 41 percent, you’re likely to feel ripped off.
In the matter of his Iran deal, President Obama and his team have spent two months working relentlessly to secure 41 percent — and now they’re claiming an enormous victory even though by any other standards what they’ve achieved is nothing but a feat of unconstitutional trickery.
They worked throughout the summer to browbeat Senate Democrats so they could get 41 of them to say they would support the Iran nuclear deal. They’re up to 42 now — that’s a mere 42 percent of the Senate. Continue reading
By Editorial Board • Washington Post
In July, President Obama said he had been “encouraged” by a telephone call Russian President Vladimir Putin had initiated to discuss Syria. The Russians, Mr. Obama confidently declared, “get a sense that the Assad regime is losing a grip over greater and greater swaths of territory” and “that offers us an opportunity to have a serious conversation with them.” Not for the first time, Mr. Obama was supposing that Mr. Putin could be enlisted in a diplomatic settlement to the Syrian civil war along lines Washington and its Arab allies support. Not for the first time, the president appears to have badly misread the Russian ruler.
Far from abandoning its support for the Assad regime, Moscow appears to be doubling down. According to numerous reports, Russia is establishing a base at an airfield near an Assad stronghold on the Mediterranean coast and has filed military overflight requests with neighboring countries. Analysts believe Russia may be preparing to deploy 1,000 or more military personnel to Syria and to carry out air operations in support of Assad forces. Syrian rebels already have reported seeing Russian aircraft over territory they control. Continue reading
The review process under the Corker law never began — by the law’s own terms.
By Andrew C. McCarthy
To undermine President Obama’s atrocious Iran deal despite the Republican-controlled Congress’s irresponsible Corker legislation, it will be necessary to follow, of all things, the Corker legislation.
On Wednesday, Barbara Mikulski became the 34th Senate Democrat to announce support for the deal, which lends aid and comfort to a regime that continues to call for “Death to America.” Under the Corker Roadmap to Catastrophe, Mikulski’s assent ostensibly puts President Obama over the top. After all, the legislation sponsored by Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) and other Beltway GOP leaders reverses the Constitution’s presumptions against international agreements that harm national security. In essence, Corker requires dissenters from the Iran pact to round up a two-thirds supermajority opposition in both congressional chambers (67 senators and 290 House members). If the Constitution were followed, the burden would be on the president to convince either 67 senators to support a treaty, or majorities of both chambers to make the pact legally binding through ordinary legislation. Continue reading
A 12-point drop in support since July.
by Michael Warren • Weekly Standard
A new Pew poll finds shrinking support among the American people for the nuclear deal with Iran. The poll found 49 percent are opposed to the deal, with 21 percent in support and 30 percent who say they don’t know.
That’s a 12-point drop in support for the deal from Pew’s poll two months ago, which found 33 percent supported the deal and 45 percent oppose it. Here’s more from Pew:
While the partisan divide over the nuclear agreement remains substantial, support for the deal has slipped across the board since July. Currently, 42% of Democrats approve of the agreement, while 29% disapprove and an identical percentage has no opinion. In July, 50% of Democrats approved, 27% disapproved and 22% had no opinion. Continue reading
Majority of Republicans, Democrats concerned about poor access to Tehran’s military sites
by Morgan Chalfant • Washington Free Beacon
A majority of voters from both parties are concerned about aspects of the Iran nuclear deal governing inspections of Tehran’s nuclear facilities, according to a survey released Tuesday by the University of Maryland’s Program for Public Consultation.
Participants in the national “Citizen Cabinet” survey were presented with a description of the dispute regarding Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program and the principal components of the deal finalized in Vienna on July 14. They were then briefed on critiques of the agreement and subsequent rebuttals to those critiques.
Those surveyed were polled on the degree to which they found these criticisms or rebuttals convincing. Continue reading
Iran missile stocks increase
by Adam Kredo • Washington Free Beacon
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani vowed that the Islamic Republic would violate outstanding United Nations restrictions governing the country’s ballistic missile program and that the behavior would not violate the recent nuclear accord, according to a translation of the leader’s remarks performed by the CIA’s Open Source Center.
Iran is “not committed to the restrictions on its missile program,” according to a recent comment made by Rouhani, who said a violation of international restrictions would not impact the nuclear accord recently reached with global powers.
“We have formally announced that we are not committed to these provisions [related to missiles] mentioned in [the] U.N. resolution,” Rouhani was quoted as saying in an Aug. 29 Persian language speech broadcast on Iran’s state-controlled television networks. Continue reading
By Charles Krauthammer • Washington Post
On September 5, 2014, two days after President Obama visited Estonia to symbolize America’s commitment to its security, Russian agents crossed into Estonia and kidnapped an Estonian security official. Last week, after a closed trial, Russia sentenced him to 15 years.
The reaction? The State Department issued a statement. The NATO secretary-general issued a tweet. Neither did anything. The European Union (reports the Wall Street Journal) said it was too early to discuss any possible action.
The timing of this brazen violation of NATO territory — immediately after Obama’s visit — is testimony to Vladimir Putin’s contempt for the American president. He knows Obama would do nothing. Why should he think otherwise? Continue reading
by Caroline Glick • RealClearPolitics
The US has striven to achieve peaceable relations between the states of the Middle East for nearly 70 years. Yet today, US government is disparaging the burgeoning strategic ties between the Sunni Arab states and Israel.
In a briefing to a delegation of visiting Israeli diplomatic correspondents in Washington last week, a senior Obama administration official sneered that the only noticeable shift in Israel-Arab relations in recent years is that the current Egyptian government has been coordinating security issues “more closely” with Jerusalem than the previous one did.
“But we have yet to see that change materialize in the Gulf.”
If this is how the US views the state of Israel’s relations with the Arabs, then Israel should consider canceling its intelligence cooperation with the US. Because apparently, the Americans haven’t a clue what is happening in the Middle East.
First of all, to characterize the transformation of Israeli-Egyptian relations as a mere question of “more closely” coordinating on security issues is to vastly trivialize what has happened over the past two years. Continue reading
If the deal approved, this much is certain — Iran will obtain nuclear weapons, terrorism will increase, an arms race in the Middle East will ensue, and America and our allies will be far less secure.
by George Landrith • President of Frontiers of Freedom
Under the agreement now being celebrated by the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ali Khamenei, and by the President of the United States, Barack Obama, Iran will become a nuclear power in 15 years — perhaps sooner. Even the Obama administration admits that Iran could have nukes within about one year, if it cheats on the agreement. But in any event, the deal paves the way for Iran to have nukes in 15 years — all with the world’s approval and blessings.
If 15 years sounds like a long time, think about your young child, grandchild, niece or nephew and ask if their world will be a safer place if the Islamic Republic of Iran has nuclear weapons when that child is in from high school.
Former Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate and former Senator Joseph Lieberman testified before Congress this week, “The agreement …ultimately allows Iran to become a nuclear weapon state, and indeed legitimizes Iran’s possession of nuclear weapons…. This is a bad deal for America, a bad deal for Iran’s neighbors in the Middle East, and a bad deal for the world.” Continue reading
by Washington Post Editorial Board
If it is reached in the coming days, a nuclear deal with Iran will be, at best, an unsatisfying and risky compromise. Iran’s emergence as a threshold nuclear power, with the ability to produce a weapon quickly, will not be prevented; it will be postponed, by 10 to 15 years. In exchange, Tehran will reap hundreds of billions of dollars in sanctions relief it can use to revive its economy and fund the wars it is waging around the Middle East.
Whether this flawed deal is sustainable will depend on a complex set of verification arrangements and provisions for restoring sanctions in the event of cheating. The schemes may or may not work; the history of the comparable nuclear accord with North Korea in the 1990s is not encouraging. The United States and its allies will have to be aggressive in countering the inevitable Iranian attempts to test the accord and willing to insist on consequences even if it means straining relations with friendly governments or imposing costs on Western companies. Continue reading
by Aaron David Miller • CNN
If I had to describe the U.S.-Iranian relationship in one word it would be “overmatched.”
We’re playing checkers on the Middle East game board and Tehran’s playing three-dimensional chess. Iran has no problem reconciling its bad and contradictory behavior while we twist ourselves into knots over our tough choices, all the while convincing ourselves that America’s policy on the nuclear issue is on the right track.
Iran isn’t 10 feet tall in this region, but by making the nuclear issue the be-all and end-all that is supposed to reduce Iran’s power, the United States is only making Tehran taller. Consider the following: Continue reading
by Michael Barone • Washington Examiner
Is the tide turning against President Obama’s purported nuclear weapons deal with Iran? One sign that the answer is yes is the devastating opinion article in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal by former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Shultz.
The architect of Richard Nixon’s opening to China and the partner of Ronald Reagan in his negotiations with the Soviet Union are diplomatic in their criticisms. They pay passing tribute to their successor John Kerry’s “persistence, patience and ingenuity.” But they have many disturbing questions — I count 16 question marks in the article — about the deal. Continue reading
by John Podhoretz • Commentary Magazine
If you look at what happened today between the U.S. and Iran through the lens of domestic American politics, Barack Obama has made a very clever play here—because what might be called “the agreement of the framework of the possibility of a potential deal” gives him new leverage in his ongoing battle with the Senate to limit its ability to play a role in the most critical foreign-policy matter of the decade.
The “framework” codifies the Obama administration’s cave-ins but casts them as thrilling reductions in Iran’s capacities rather than what they are—a pie-in-the-sky effort to use inspections as the means by which the West can “manage” the speed with which Iran becomes a nuclear power.
Obama’s tone of triumph this afternoon was mixed with sharp reminders that the deal is actually not yet done—and that is entirely the point of this exercise from a domestic standpoint. the triumph signals his troops and apologists that the time has come for them to stand with him, praise the deal sheet and pretend it’s a deal, declare it historic, and generally act as though the world has been delivered from a dreadful confrontation by Obama and Kerry. Continue reading