Life in a world of fantasy can often be pleasant for small children.
For adults, it is far more dangerous.
On March 2nd, the Editorial Board of the often left-leaning Washington Post published an editorial titled President Obama’s foreign policy is based on fantasy. It was not written by a “right wing nut.” According to a sidebar,
Editorials represent the views of The Washington Post as an institution, as determined through debate among members of the editorial board. News reporters and editors never contribute to editorial board discussions, and editorial board members don’t have any role in news coverage. [Emphasis added.]
The editorial notes, among other things,
FOR FIVE YEARS, President Obama has led a foreign policy based more on how he thinks the world should operate than on reality. It was a world in which “the tide of war is receding” and the United States could, without much risk, radically reduce the size of its armed forces. Other leaders, in this vision, would behave rationally and in the interest of their people and the world. Invasions, brute force, great-power games and shifting alliances — these were things of the past. Secretary of State John F. Kerry displayed this mindset on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday when he said, of Russia’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine, “It’s a 19th century act in the 21st century.”
That’s only a sample, and the entire piece is well worth reading.
Writing at Israel Hayom, Clifford D. May presented a similar but perhaps stronger view. These passages are representiative, but Mr. May’s opinion piece is also well worth reading in its entirety:
As threats and crises multiply, what is U.S. President Barack Obama doing? Proposing to reduce the size and strength of America’s military to pre-2001 levels. Can anyone still regard the United States as a reliable ally? More consequentially, is the U.S. still seen as a formidable adversary?
Obama’s critics call him ambivalent and indecisive. Perhaps, but those are symptoms. The underlying malady: his conception of America’s role in the world. Late last week, responding to developments in Ukraine, the president said: “The United States will stand with the international community.”[Emphasis added.]
He advised Russia to be part of “the international community’s effort to support the stability and success of a united Ukraine going forward.” He said that would be “in the interest of … the international community.”
News bulletin: The “international community” is a figment of the imagination — right up there with Batman, Wonder Woman, Paul Bunyon and Babe the Blue Ox. It’s also the key that opens the door to a room filled with fashionable fictions. Among them: that there are “universal” values and principles, that the world’s most powerful political figures are, just like us, “rational actors” who seek peace, favor freedom, tolerance and democracy, and believe that diplomacy based on “confidence building” and reciprocal compromises leads to “conflict resolution” — an outcome they’d prefer to shedding blood and achieving victory.
Here is a video from PJ Media’s Trifecta gang on the recent Russian incursions in the Ukraine.
The world has always been a dangerous place and is becoming more so. The irrational belief of President Obama and His administration that the “international community” is a benign force for peace and actively supports what were once American human rights has contributed to the increased dangers.
President Barack Obama is a “low-IQ US president,” whose threat to launch a military offensive should nuclear talks fail is an oft-cited punchline in the Islamic Republic, particularly among children, an Iranian general said on Tuesday.
“The low-IQ US president and his country’s Secretary of State John Kerry speak of the effectiveness of ‘the US options on the table’ on Iran while this phrase is mocked at and has become a joke among the Iranian nation, especially the children,” General Masoud Jazayeri said, according to the semi-official Fars News Agency.
Jazayeri was responding to the US president’s interview in Bloomberg on Sunday, in which Obama maintained that the Iranian leadership should take his “all options on the table” stance — including the warning of a potential military strike — seriously.
. . . .
The Iranian news agency Tuesday published a political cartoon mocking the US president, calling it: “All Options on Table.” This Time for Russia.” In a jab at US non-intervention in Ukraine, the cartoon portrays Obama peering forlornly into an empty paint can with the label “Red Line” while Russian President Vladimir Putin walks away saying, “I think you used it all on Syria.”
Consider the P5+1 “deal.” Although President Obama claimed that Iran would receive only seven billion dollars in interim relief, she had by mid February already benefited from twenty billion dollars worth, and rising. Sanctions relief has become a farce.
Since the Obama administration relaxed sanctions on Iran, oil sales are up 25 percent, from 1.06 million barrels per day to 1.32 million, and the White House reportedly has no intention of preventing the rise in sales and consequent swelling of Revolutionary Guard bank accounts. And that’s not all. The leading economic indicators show an Iranian economy on the mend, thanks to the interim nuclear agreement struck in November. Inflation has decreased from 40 percent-plus to 20 percent and falling. The rial-to-dollar exchange rate is steadily recovering from the depths to which it had fallen in 2012. And where Iran’s GDP fell 3 percent in 2012, the IMF now projects modest increases for 2014 and 2015.
In short, with the sanctions regime eroding, Iran’s business climate has been transformed. What was once a foolish gamble is now a promising opportunity, and trade delegations are exploring investment options in Iran’s petrochemical and automobile industries. The White House’s early assessment that the regime was getting only $7 billion in sanctions relief was way off. The figure is far closer to those estimates of $20 billion that administration officials scoffed at. [Emphasis added.]
Iran is, as she claims, “open for business” and many have already welcomed the open sign — Spain, Poland, U.S. defense contractors, others in America who want to sell jet aircraft parts to Iran, China (now Iran’s largest trading partner), Iraq, which wants to buy weapons and ammunition from Iran and multiple oil companies. The list gets longer almost daily. Couldn sanctions ever be restored, even if Iran declared the P5+1 “deal” dead? It seems unlikely, at best.
Iran’s non-peaceful development of nukes apparently is not even relevant to sanctions relief or to any other aspect of the P5+1 “deal.” Iran’s testing and development of nuclear warheads and devices with which to deliver them continues unabated. As I noted in substantial detail back in January in an article titled The Iran scam continues which I updated here, the “deal” imposes no limitations on Iranian military-related nuclear work.
Sites such as the Parchin military facility are important.
Parchin is a key outstanding issue that the IAEA has placed at the heart of its concerns about Iran’s past and possibly on-going nuclear weapons work and other alleged military dimensions. Before the Parchin issue can be resolved satisfactorily, Iran will need to allow the IAEA to visit Parchin, provide other information and access to Iranians, and possibly permit visits to other sites. In sum, Iran will need to provide far more cooperation on this issue than it has done so far. If it does not, it risks not achieving a final deal with the P5+1 or receiving significant sanctions relief.
. . . .
what kind of comprehensive solution can be achieved by ignoring the central concern of the crisis– namely that Iran has misused its nuclear programs to seek nuclear weapons and may do so again? What is the value of a deal if Iran is not willing to admit to its past work on nuclear weapons and allow the IAEA to verify the correctness and completeness of its statements, along with gaining assurance that any such work has stopped? What confidence can be placed in the ability of the IAEA to verify any final deal, if Iran can successfully defy a legitimate IAEA verification request? The answer is simple: that agreement would not provide assurance that Iran is not building nuclear weapons. It would have an impaired verification regime. Iran would feel emboldened to resist future IAEA efforts aimed at ensuring the absence of undeclared nuclear activities and facilities, efforts that will inevitably require visits to military sites.
That hasn’t happened and apparently will not. To offer an analogy, suppose that someone whom the county sheriff reasonably thought, based on credible evidence, had stolen a horse denied it and said “trust me and don’t look in the barn.” Would a rational law enforcement official agree? Particularly if the suspected horse thief (like Iran) had lied about such things repeatedly before?
The U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had apparently been preparing a report on Iran’s military-related nuclear efforts.
Sources familiar with the matter said the IAEA apparently had not gone ahead with writing the report and that there was no way of knowing what extra information might have been included in such a document, although one source said it could have added to worries about Iran.
According to the sources, the IAEA was believed to have dropped the idea of a new report, at least for the time being.
In 2011, the IAEA issued a landmark report with a trove of intelligence indicating past activity in Iran which could be relevant for developing nuclear weapons, some of which it said might still be continuing. Iran rejected the allegations as fabricated and baseless.
Since then, the UN watchdog has said it has obtained more information that “has further corroborated” its analysis in the 2011 document, but has not given details.
According to a recent Pentagon report, U.S. intelligence agencies have no way of determining whether Iran is progressing with her nuke program, if so how far she has got or even whether she has nuclear weapons.
A new report from the Pentagon warns that the US would be totally clueless if Iran were to obtain a nuclear weapon. The report reveals that America’s intelligence services are unable to detect when a nation has become nuclear armed.
Bret Stephens, a foreign affairs columnist for the Wall Street Journal, spoke about the report he recently analyzed while appearing on Fox News. There he noted the report exposes Vice President Joe Biden’s assurances, made in presidential debates with candidate Paul Ryan in 2012, as a lie.
“[Biden] said ‘for sure’ we would have ample warning before the Iranians decide to take their nuclear industrial capabilities and sprint toward a bomb,” Stephens noted. “This report tells us we probably wouldn’t have a clue.”
Innocent fantasy-based perceptions of the world held by small children — Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny, for example — are rarely dangerous for those whose parents attend faithfully to their safety and security. When those charged with ensuring the safety and security of the United States accept fantasies, such as those firmly credited by the Obama Administration and others as reality, the world becomes a far more dangerous place for us all than it should be.
An article at PJ Media titled The End of the ‘Wrong Side of History’ notes that President Obama referred to Russian leader Putin as being “on the wrong side of history” and observes,
The unspoken assumption behind all this, of course, is that being on the right side of history also means accepting the unmatched dominance of the U.S. in global affairs, and in turn the unchallengeable domination of the U.S. by people supporting the particular progressive world view of the president and his supporters.
That is, Obama and his supporters use the word “history” to refer to themselves. [Emphasis added.]
The problem with all this is that in the last five years, many players on the world stage have learned that if “history” and “Obama” are synonyms, being on the wrong side of Obama is a not particularly uncomfortable or worrying place to be. So the threat of it has rather less impact than the president might hope or assume. [Emphasis added.]
This is not a marginal point. Rather, it is the key factor defining the direction of strategic affairs globally, and in the Middle East in particular.
. . . .
In Iran, the regime has stage-managed the emergence of a supposed “moderate” president. The true powers in that country, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guard Corps, have as a result obtained sanctions relief. This in turn is enabling them to continue to develop their missile program and uranium enrichment capacity undisturbed. They are also proceeding apace with their program of regional outreach, and are currently aligned with the dominant forces in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. [Emphasis added.]
In deciding who are on the right and wrongs sides of history, much depends on who gets to write the history. The winners usually do, and fantasy-based policies are unlikely to produce a winner.
UPDATE, March 6th
John Bolton at CPAC. Can we make the world safe for the United States?