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Friday, October 2, 2009

Obama Rolled By Iranians

I wish this headline in the NY Times was a joke, but it is not:
U.S. Wonders if Iran Is Playing for Time or Is Serious on Deal
This is a "news analysis" piece, so the Times will be all over the nuance angle:
But the trick now for Mr. Obama, administration officials concede, will be to avoid getting rolled.
Obama, get rolled? Why would anyone be afraid of that after Copenhagen? After all, Obama's top notch negotiators extracted a ground-breaking concession from the Iranians, to ship their uranium abroad for further processing. Just think, progress.
For the administration though, the problem is that no one is certain that the Iranian government will actually do what Western officials say that they have now agreed to do. In fact, on Friday, less than 24 hours after the talks in Geneva broke up, Iranian officials did not sound as if they thought they had promised anything.

“No, no!” Mehdi Saffare, Iran’s ambassador to Britain and a member of the Iranian delegation to the negotiations told the Associated Press. He said that sending Iran’s enriched uranium out of the county had “not been discussed yet.”
Okay, so the concession and breakthrough was not really a concession and breakthrough. This will all be cleared up at the next meeting, right?
This is not the first time that Western officials have left discussions with their Iranian counterparts thinking they had a deal, only to see it melt away. In 2007, European diplomats said they thought they had wrung a concession from Iran on the same issue, enriching uranium outside the country for use in Iranian reactors, only to have Iran’s supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, reject the idea as an impingement on Iran’s sovereignty.
This is all a misunderstanding. Time is on our side, right?
The clearest risk is that the Iranians may play for time, as they often have been accused of doing in the past, making promises and encouraging more meetings, while waiting for political currents to change or the closed ranks among the Western allies to break.
Now the Times has got it. The problem is that some people have "accused" the Iranians of playing for time. Obama will not fall for that old trick, I'm confident of it. After all, Obama announced a two-week deadline for the Iranians to open their no-longer-secret enrichment facility to inspection:
A State Department spokesman on Friday signaled that the president's mandate that Iran has two weeks to permit inspections of its recently unveiled uranium refinement plant was not "written in stone."

"I don't think that there's a hard-and-fast deadline," State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said during Friday's press briefing, after a reporter asked what the consequences of Iran's inaction might be.
On further reflection, I think we are in for a world of hurt. Nothwithstanding Juan Cole's foolish looking victory dance that
Barack Obama pwned Bush-Cheney in one day, and got more concessions from Iran in 7 1/2 hours than the former administration got in 8 years of saber-rattling.
Related Posts:
What Do Juan Cole and "Death to America" Have In Common?
"Heads They Win, Tails We Lose" Diplomacy
He Who Cannot Stop Talking, Is Silent On Iran

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  1. 8 years of bush lacking seriousness about the iranians.. what is the difference?

  2. The way I understood it was two weeks to have a meeting that would set a meeting in late November to discuss the parameters of the inspection to be named at a later date. (I'm not kidding either. Only diplomats and leftie liberals consider that an "advancement.")

  3. I find myself smiling, thinking about Obama talking to the Iranians. It would be worthy of a comedy scene.

    (1) Both sides say anything they think will be persuasive, regardless of believing what they say. (2) And, both sides don't believe what the other side is saying, knowing that (1) is true.

    Neither side has met any of its prior promises. How can they possibly have a conversation that means anything?

  4. wesley, I think the difference is that Obama and his minions seem to honestly believe their own press. The White House gang are ignorant regarding how to lead a free nation, underestimate problems, and believe that whatever they want will simply become true. I can't honestly defend the Bush administration, either, though.

  5. Obambi, the race-baiting, left-wing lawyer, needs to be relieved of duty.

    He's an anti-American PR man, nothing more.

  6. I'm waiting for 2010 and the impeachment of Obama. Maybe just an old woman's dream, but it's a good dream.

  7. Nessus, I agree with your post stating that Obambi needs to be relieved of duty. Unfortunately that day is far in the future, 1/20/13. What will the world look like on that day? Will our Constitution still provide us our basic liberties, or will Federal czars be doling out liberty as they see fit? Will Israel still exist, or will that land be a nuclear wasteland?

  8. nashvegas09.......it really isn't that far in the future. More importantly, in just 13 months, if things continue, the GOP will win back many seats in Congress and thus BHO's political power will be neutered.

    Not that I love the GOP in everything they do, I don't - they are still not conservative enough for me but compared to far left Dems like BHO, Pelosi and Reid, they are better.

    As much as I don't like Obamacare and still don't think its gonna pass, even if it does, there will be such a huge backlash that the GOP may actually win a majority next year and BHO will likely be a one term wonder (if Obamacare passes into law). Either way, passes or not, we win.

  9. I proposed it years ago; there is annually fresh evidence that the advice should have been followed years ago:

    We should, through risk-minimized aerial attack, destroy Iran's ability to produce petroleum.

    If possible, we should render them practically unable to pump a jigger of oil anytime for a good five-year period.

    Sure it will hurt us economically: But others worse; Iran and a few of her chief enablers worst of all.

    And that economic problem would happen anyway, in time, when the matter finally came to open conflict. Done earlier, however, it can be done on our terms, with adequate preparation, both militarily and with respect to petroleum reserves and the like.

    There is more than one good reason to do this.

    First, it is the easy attack, but one with maximized consequences. One gets quintiple the regime-undermining effect that ground troops would generate, without comparable risk to U.S. forces.

    Second, the Iranians have been good for years at playing "the unpredictable psychopath at the bargaining table." The unpredictable psychopath always has a bargaining advantage; you never know what he'll do. The Iranians never imagine for a million years that the U.S. would hit them in their OIL: Hasn't the world been crying for years that the only reason the U.S. is in Iraq, the only reason the U.S. bothers with the Middle East at all, is to guarantee a steady supply of oil? That Americans might want to take Iranian oil for themselves, the Iranians can easily imagine. That the Americans would be perfectly willing to ensure that NOBODY has it, has not entered their imagination.

    Doing it would therefore certainly throw them off their game: And that is no small benefit. Morale is important at the bargaining table, just as on the battlefield. It's a wonderful thing to come to the table, with the other guy doubting himself and his ability to predict your reactions. In short: We would, for however brief a time, gain the advantage of being "the crazy guy at the table."

    This "waitaminute, the Americans aren't quite who we thought they were" attitude-check might also have a salutary effect on other petroleum-rich countries. I can see benefits, for example, to having the Saudis ruminating on the equation A = B, where A = "Attempting to acquire nukes" and B = "Blown up economy."


  10. ...continuing... (part 2 of post)

    But the chief benefit of eradicating the Iranian oil supply is what it would do to the Iranians.

    It is the petroleum supply which gives Iran its feeling of invincibility: They believe, and usually rightly, that the West lacks the stomach to defend itself but is so addicted to short-term profits that, for the right price, they'll sell an enemy the bullets that enemy plans to shoot at them. The Iranians conclude that, so long as a painful pinch in world oil supplies would hurt U.S. consumers, and so long as a U.S. attack on Iran would inevitably cause such a pinch, they're invincible from attack.

    Moreover those petrodollars give Iran the money to buy anti-aircraft weapons and other armament from Russia, to defend and hide and harden their military and nuclear facilities, to keep a team of nuclear weapon designers working, to buy favors around the world.

    Were those petrodollars to suddenly vanish, Iran would be in no position to fund nuclear weapon development, to buy weapons, to pay off diplomats, to build new facilities, to keep old facilities operating.

    Or, if they chose to TRY to continue doing all those things, they would not, of course, be able to feed their people. The collapse of Soviet Russia shows what happens when the leaders opt for that approach for too long.

    In short, Iran has a hostage: Their own oil production. And the hostage is also their weapon, their confidence-booster, their lucky charm, and their goose laying golden eggs.

    It's silly, even cliché, but the advice delivered by the wooden Keanu Reeves in the movie "Speed" is, in this case, good advice: "Shoot the hostage. Go for the good wound, take her out of the equation."

    Iran, with the kind of terror-supporting mad mullah squad (okay, okay, they're "ayatollahs"...but the alliteration of "mullah" sounds better) not only does not merit nuclear facility ownership privileges; but they have also lost their petroleum production privileges.

    What a shame Obama & Co. won't do anything about it. But perhaps in another three years and change we'll have a president willing to kick the clerics where it hurts.

    Assuming it isn't already too late, by then.

  11. Obama GETTING rolled?

    No. The "trick" will be to stop rolling.