A Saga of Suckuppery

iran state sponsorEli Lake has a report in Bloomberg that should alarm anyone interested in Iran policy. He makes a strong case that the Administration was so fixated on appeasing the mullahs that command the terror state that it ordered the abandonment of pro-American activists — and even, a cut-off “burn notice” towards Iranians who risked their lives meeting with US intelligence. The article:

But Obama wasn’t just reluctant to show solidarity [with “Green Revolution” protesters] in 2009, he feared the demonstrations would sabotage his secret outreach to Iran. In his new book, “The Iran Wars,” Wall Street Journal reporter Jay Solomon uncovers new details on how far Obama went to avoid helping Iran’s green movement. Behind the scenes, Obama overruled advisers who wanted to do what America had done at similar transitions from dictatorship to democracy, and signal America’s support.

Solomon reports that Obama ordered the CIA to sever contacts it had with the green movement’s supporters. “The Agency has contingency plans for supporting democratic uprisings anywhere in the world. This includes providing dissidents with communications, money, and in extreme cases even arms,” Solomon writes. “But in this case the White House ordered it to stand down.”

The US — even under Obama — supported other uprisings, both democratic ones in Serbia, Georgia and Ukraine, and theĀ islamist-terrorist uprising in Egypt that overthrew longtime US ally Hosni Mubarak.

Iran though is a very different story. Obama from the beginning of his presidency tried to turn the country’s ruling clerics from foes to friends. It was an obsession. And even though the president would impose severe sanctions on the country’s economy at the end of his first term and beginning of his second, from the start of his presidency, Obama made it clear the U.S. did not seek regime change for Iran.

[I]t’s striking the lengths to which Obama went to make good on his word. As Solomon reports, Obama ended U.S. programs to document Iranian human rights abuses. He wrote personal letters to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei assuring him the U.S. was not trying to overthrow him. Obama repeatedly stressed his respect for the regime in his statements marking Iran’s annual Nowruz celebration.

His quest to engage the mullahs seems to have influenced Obama’s decision-making on other issues too. When he walked away from his red line against Syria’s use of chemical weapons in 2013, Solomon reports, both U.S. and Iranian officials had told him that nuclear negotiations would be halted if he intervened against Bashar al-Assad.

Did this all pay off for Obama and the USA? Yes, and no, respectively.

Obama eventually did get a nuclear deal with Iran. Solomon’s book shines in reporting the details of the diplomacy that led to the 2015 accord. …

Eventually, the Iranians wore down the U.S. delegation. At the beginning of the talks in 2013, the U.S. position was for Iran to dismantle much of its nuclear infrastructure. By the end of the talks in 2015, Secretary of State John Kerry and his team “agreed that Iran would then be allowed to build an industrial-scale nuclear program, with hundreds of thousands of machines, after a ten year period of restraint.”

Other U.S. red lines were demolished too. The final deal would allow the U.N. ban on Iranian missile development to phase out after eight years, and the arms embargo against Iran to expire after five. Iran would not have to acknowledge that it had tried to develop a nuclear weapon, even though samples the Iranians collected at its Parchin facility found evidence of man-made uranium.

Why such self-abasing appeasement?

In one particularly revealing passage, Solomon captures the thinking of Kerry, who engaged in detailed negotiations over the deal in the final months of the talks. …”War is the failure of diplomacy.”

Kerry’s diplomacy succeeded. But the Middle East got war nonetheless. “The Revolutionary Guard continues to develop increasingly sophisticated weapons systems, including ballistic missiles inscribed with threats against Israel on their nose cones,” Solomon writes in the book’s concluding chapter. “Khamenei and other revolutionary leaders, meanwhile, fine-tune their rhetorical attacks against the United States, seeming to need the American threat to justify their existence.”

When did appeasement ever have an outcome other than war, in the long term?

20 thoughts on “A Saga of Suckuppery

  1. Jim Scrummy

    “When did appeasement ever have an outcome other than war, in the long term?” Umm, never. Next question: When does the shooting start? ? TBD.

  2. John M.

    Gaddafi dismantles his WMD program and gets a bayonet enema. Iran obstinates, obfuscates and negotiates in bad faith and gets appeasement. Hillary Clinton, folks, let’s give her a hand!

    -John M.

    1. morokko

      Someone overly cynical could think that lesson to be learned from Muammar colonary induced retirement is like this: never give up what you have, and if you dont have anything, better get something…

    2. Haxo Angmark

      exactly. The Mullahs understand: either you nuke up, or sooner or later you get invaded and destroyed by Isramerica. Repelling Sadaam Hussein’s mid-1980’s, Isramerican-supported invasion cost the lives of 1,000,000 Iranian soldiers and civilians. Likely an experience they do not want to repeat

      #1 exporter of terrorism? That would be Isramerica (Iraq: destroyed. Afghanistan: destroyed. Syria: destroyed. Yemen: destroyed. Libya: destroyed. Ukraine: destroyed.) The neo-conz would, of course, like to add Iran and then Russia to their Judeo-globalist hit-list but, alas, Russia has nukes…and a new base in Iran

  3. John M.

    What, pray tell, are “cap and ball blanks”? Wouldn’t that just be a cap? Or a cap and a powder charge held in with some wadding of some sort? And how does that interact with a crank gun? Load up six charges, one crank around for a bang-bang-bang-bang-bang-bang and then reload? Color me confused.

    Perhaps someone thinks that “black powder cartridges” and “cap and ball” mean the same thing?

    -John M.

  4. emdfl

    Do you suppose the fact that one of his closest advisors(initials VJ) is Iranian might have had anything to do with his fellating the mullahs? That and maybe Huma whispering some pillow talk in Hillary’s ear?

    1. John M.

      If a cat crawls in the oven and has kittens, you don’t call them biscuits. Valerie Jarrett’s father is an American doctor. Her father was born in DC and her mother was born in Chicago. Her maiden name is Bowman.

      Huma is also not Iranian. Her father is from India, her mother from Pakistan. She was born in the US and raised mostly in Saudi Arabia.

      -John M.

  5. Andy

    I have the unpopular opinion that all nations should have nuclear programs/weapons if they want and can afford them (at actual market prices where uranium isn’t effectively unobtainium).

    I think MAD is the only compelling foreign policy.

    On an individual level, it is one of the main reasons why I carry guns.

    Remember, the only time nuclear bombs were ever used to kill people was when only ONE country had them. There’s a reason the Cold War was cold.

    1. Sommerbiwak

      But the soviets were reasonable actors. Mao in foreign politics mostly as well.

      With Pakistan or Iran having the bomb. Or whoever else strives to get one. Well that does not make me sleep well.

      1. Andy

        Nobody at the top wants to be the martyr. That’s for the serfs. As long as ruling elites control their nuclear arms, they likely won’t use them. Nukes just aren’t particularly effective as offensive weapons in 2016. Deterrents, OTOH, they surely are.

        Although, who knows? The US seemed/seems “reasonable” to lots of folks (insofar as global standards of government go), and they dropped two of them on a Japan that was no longer a threat. (I’ve heard arguments for and against the bombings re: needing to crush Japan’s morale, that they would invade the US without any other international support, etc., but I’ve never been compelled that it was actually necessary. Except, of course, as a posturing demo directed at the USSR, which makes it that much worse.)

        1. Hognose Post author

          The principal reason for Hiroshima is that Japan had not surrendered, and the alternative, invasion, was going to kill at least 2,000,000 people (most of them Japanese, to be sure). The principal reason for Nagasaki was that Japan did not surrender right after Hiroshima. (Much of their higher command seems to have been in denial). That the Americans not only did it, but were able to do it again in days, finally got their attention and led to the Emperor’s first-ever radio speech. Even then, many Japanese were disbelieving. “The situation has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage,” is my recollection of Hirohito’s euphemism. But at that point, continued resistance would have brought down more nukes: one immediately, and a few more after a pause for manufacturing and delivery.

          1. Andy

            I understand that, but what I’ve never embraced is the apparent binary choice where the only options were to invade or bomb Japan. That said, anyone would have a hard time convincing me that foreign intervention has ever been truly necessary for the security of the domestic US.

          2. John M.

            @Andy–

            What, were we going to leave a right-wing government in power, cooped up on their small island off the coast of China? Pssht. Not after we had a good excuse to nuke them and stop all the crimethink.

            -John M.

      2. RSR

        +1. MAD only works when people have a desire for self-preservation. And for equivalent powers, MAD requires immediate response where both your missiles are in the air at the same time. Further with the rise of hypersonic missiles, the window for reaction times becomes much shorter as well. An alternative to immediate response is portable nuclear missiles, but mobile warheads on land or at sea, raises additional concerns…

        And don’t forget that there were several times during the Cold War where missile launches nearly occurred…

        1. Andy

          True, MAD works best when all the parties have access to roughly equivalent weaponry/technology. That is why I believe all these restrictions on countries to develop their own programs or seek out technological partnerships is and has always been nonsense. Same reason that gun restrictions are nonsense. The US won’t eliminate its nuclear program, why should anyone else? A country that can’t defend itself is not and can never hope to be sovereign, just as the disarmed are and will always be little more than serfs.

          Just my two cents.

          (Note: I dont actually give much credence to the idea of “country” or “nation” in my personal philosophy, but if govt is going to exist everywhere on the planet, it seems like securing borders and arming up is the logical way to go.)

  6. Hayabusa

    When did appeasement ever have an outcome other than war, in the long term?

    Well, in all fairness, appeasement doesn’t always lead to war.

    The other alternative is to become a vassal state, of which there are many examples throughout history.

    The strange thing is that most vassal states (for reasons that should be fairly obvious) accepted that relationship because they were far weaker, militarily and economically, than the country they were kow-towing to.

    When the richest and most heavily-armed superpower in the history of the world, on the other hand, voluntarily decides to submit to a relative pipsqueak like Iran, and basically lets itself be led around on a leash like the Gimp in Pulp Fiction, it’s… well… weird.

    Of course, what’s a little gratuitous national humiliation when we’re talking about Obama’s “legacy” after all…

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