Diplomatic Trash Talkin’ Quote of the Week
Since we’re often reminded by his admirers in academia, the media, and entertainment industry that President Obama is the most brilliant, analytical, nuanced, intellectually-gifted American President in history, we can only conclude that Masoud Jazayeri is a racist.
For The Times of Israel, Marissa Newman writes: 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
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.
“…completely inexpert remarks far from the reality, and these statements can be used as the joke of the year.”
“We have a high degree of confidence that when they look at 35,000 US military personnel in the region that are engaged in constant training exercises under the direction of a president who already has shown himself willing to take military action in the past, that they should take my statements seriously,” the president told Bloomberg.
Jazayeri called Obama’s statements regarding the deployment of US troops “completely inexpert remarks far from the reality, and these statements can be used as the joke of the year.”
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.” Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] The Hammer: ‘Obama is Living in a Fantasy World’ and George Will: ‘We Have to Avoid…Narcissistic Policy Disorder’Posted: March 3, 2014
“…To invade Crimea is a huge step and he would only have done it with a president who has shown from the very beginning that he’s living in a fantasy world.”
[Dr. Krauthammer's critique of Obama is identical to the recent harsh assessment by the Editorial Board of the Washington Post, in their first outright mutiny since Obama's been in office. The Hammer, on the other hand, has been doing this for years...]
“Remember the speech he gave at the U.N. when he started his administration? He said no nation can or should dominate another. I mean, there’s not a 12-year-old in the world who believes that. And he said the alignment of nations rooted in the cleavages of the long ago Cold War make no sense in this interconnected world. As our Secretary of State said today, or yesterday, after all this, this is a 19th century action in a 21st century world. As if what he means is actions where governments pursue expansion, territory domination, no longer exist in this century, as if that hasn’t been a constant in all of human history since Hannibal. They imagine the world as a new interconnected world where climate change is the biggest threat and they are shocked that the Russians actually are interested in territory.”
BONUS ROUND: George Will’s Take…
Will is uncharacteristically restrained here, avoiding blaming Obama’s obvious weaknesses. Though it’s tempting to see this latest eruption of international catastrophes as shaped by avoidable foreign policy failures, the direct result of Obama’s poor judgement and unrealistic goals, I’m inclined to agree with George Will’s larger point. That it can be self-serving, even self-flattering, to think the U.S.’s influence (or lack of influence) is a primary determining factor in world events.
“We have to avoid . . . narcissistic policy disorder — that is the belief that everything in the world happens because of something we did or didn’t do or said or didn’t say.”
While we can still put pressures on Russia, Will said, “we are not in a position of strength.”
“We are in a position of extraordinary weakness,” Will said, “and I’m not sure it’s Obama’s fault…”
A fair point. However, I don’t agree that the events would have unfolded this way regardless of U.S. policy, or leadership. President Obama’s wishful-thinking, inexperience, and amateurism as an international leader can only be provocative to more aggressive personalities in Syria, Iran, and Russia. We’re paying the price for Obama’s lack of strength and experience. And increasingly, everyone knows it.
– The Butcher
If He Believes It, It Must Be So
For the Weekly Standard blog, Elliot Abrams writes: On the eve of the Netanyahu visit to Washington, President Obama gave a lengthy interview to Jeffrey Goldberg that shows a chief executive who has learned next to nothing about the world in his five years in office.
First, kudos to Goldberg: he pressed Obama repeatedly, challenging vague formulations and seeking clarity. Goldberg pushed Obama hard, especially on Iran and Syria.
Obama isn’t good off the cuff, especially when challenged; he is far better with a prepared speech. And what emerged is an awful portrait of the president and his conception of the world.
Take Syria. Here’s what Obama said:
“I think those who believe that two years ago, or three years ago, there was some swift resolution to this thing had we acted more forcefully, fundamentally misunderstand the nature of the conflict in Syria and the conditions on the ground there. … Over the last two years I have pushed our teams to find out what are the best options in a bad situation. … But I’ve looked at a whole lot of game plans, a whole lot of war plans, a whole bunch of scenarios, and nobody has been able to persuade me that us taking large-scale military action even absent boots on the ground, would actually solve the problem. And those who make that claim do so without a lot of very specific information.”
Who are these people who have inadequate information, misunderstand the conflict in Syria, and think there is much more the United States could have done? They include both of Obama’s secretaries of state, Clinton and Kerry, his former defense secretary Leon Panetta, and his former CIA director David Petraeus—all of whom wanted much more U.S. support for the Syrian rebels. And perhaps more to the point, take the case of Fred Hof.
A year ago, there was a rising fear that the US and Russia were on the verge of a new Cold War. Today the relationship seems to have gone 180. The US and Russia are now on the verge of signing a new nuclear disarmament agreement and look increasingly in sync on Iran. Yesterday, Obama met directly with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific summit in Singapore where both leaders said negotiations on a new START agreement were close to completion. Medvedev also expressed his displeasure with Iran, giving another indication that Russia may back Obama should the Iranians reject the nuclear deal on the table. Following the meeting and Medvedev pronouncements, Obama concluded that “the reset button has worked.”
Krauthammer on Hillary’s Achievements as Secretary of State: ‘The U.S. antagonized Canada, for God’s sake. Canada, of all people…’Posted: February 19, 2014
Appearing on on Tuesday’s Hugh Hewitt Radio Show Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Charles Krauthammer declared that Hillary Clinton did not have one achievement in her four years running the State Department, and further, the U.S. position in the world actually went backwards during her tenure…
… Look, you know, when people talk about Hillary being a superb Secretary of State, I just ask one question. Name me one thing, just one, not three, give me one thing she achieved in her four years as Secretary of State. I have yet to hear an answer…
…I think she is the frontrunner. I don’t think the convention will be a coronation. It’s going to be a worship service. But that’s not exactly why we have a Secretary of State…
[Order Charles' book: Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics from Amazon]
…I do think it’s really awful that you can have a four year term, achieve nothing, and as you say, go backwards with Russia, backwards on Iran, backwards on Syria, backwards on Venezuela, backwards in relation with just about all of our allies, including, I would add, Keystone, which sits on the President’s head, and antagonizing Canada, for God’s sake. Canada, of all people…
Frances Martel writes: The Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei, released a statement this week urging university students to “refine your souls and to approach God,” but also to prepare for “cyber-war.” According to Iran’s Mehr News Agency, the Ayatollah released a message urging students to “ready for such war wholeheartedly.”
The Mehr report includes a number of disjointed messages about self-improvement and the future of the nation, telling students that they should strive for achievement but never forget their duty to the nation. “You are the cyber-war agents and such a war requires Ammar-like insight and Malik Ashtar-like (two Prophet’s Companions in early Islamic history) resistance,” the Ayatollah’s message reads, “get yourselves ready for such war wholeheartedly.”
Exports of Iranian crude oil jumped to 1.32 million barrels, up from December’s high of 1.06 million barrels, according to data from the International Energy Agency.
The spike in exports—mainly to Japan, China, and India—has helped Iran’s once-ailing economy stabilize and decrease inflation.
Iranian oil exports have steadily risen since negotiations with the West restored confidence in Tehran’s economy. The increase runs counter to a promise by the Obama administration that “Iran’s oil exports will remain steady at their current level of around 1 million barrels per day.”
The significant rise in oil exports has led some experts to accuse the Obama administration of misleading the public about the amount of sanctions relief provided under the interim nuclear deal.
How will we know when Iran sprints toward a bomb?
Bret Stephens writes: Where do federal government reports go once they’ve been published and (lightly) chewed over by second-tier officials, congressional staffers and think-tank wonks? I picture them being packed into crates and stored in some vast warehouse, like the Ark of the Covenant in the last scene of “Indiana Jones.”
Every now and again, however, some of these reports are worth rescuing from premature burial.
So it is with the “Assessment of Nuclear Monitoring and Verification Technologies,” the soporific title given to a report published last month by the Pentagon’s Defense Science Board. The report is long on phrases like “adaptable holistic methodologies” and “institutionalized interagency planning processes.” But at its heart it makes three timely and terrifying claims.
First, we are entering a second nuclear age.
Second, the history of nuclear proliferation is no guide to the future.
Third, our ability to detect nuclear breakout—the point at which a regime decides to go for a bomb—is not good.
Tehran has capacity to break out to bomb if it wishes, intelligence chief James Clapper tells Senate, but would be detected if it tried to do so
Marissa Newman reports: Iran now has all the technical infrastructure to produce nuclear weapons should it make the political decision to do, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper wrote in a report to a Senate intelligence committee published Wednesday. However, he added, it could not break out to the bomb without being detected.
In the “US Intelligence Worldwide Threat Assessment,” delivered to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Clapper reported that Tehran has made significant advances recently in its nuclear program to the point where it could produce and deliver nuclear bombs should it be so inclined.
“Tehran has made technical progress in a number of areas — including uranium enrichment, nuclear reactors, and ballistic missiles — from which it could draw if it decided to build missile-deliverable nuclear weapons,” Clapper wrote. “These technical advancements strengthen our assessment that Iran has the scientific, technical, and industrial capacity to eventually produce nuclear weapons. This makes the central issue its political will to do so.”
The nuclear issue may be defused for now, but multiple factors could continue to undermine relations.
Robert Mason writes: The permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5+1) and Iran hammered out an interim nuclear deal (the so-called Joint Plan of Action) which entered into force on January 20. The Joint Plan of Action will involve Iran eliminating stockpiles of its more highly enriched uranium, dismantling some its enrichment related infrastructure, agreeing to more inspections and not to activate any more centrifuges. In return, Iran gets some sanctions relief. However, given the poor history and number of irritants in each bilateral relationship between Iran and the West, it is likely that a broader politico-security deal with Iran, if there is to be one, will still be in the process of being negotiated a couple of years from now.
‘You really ought to go home’
In what only can be described as a scene out of Tom Cruise’s “Top Gun,” Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, Air Force chief of staff, describes how F-22 stealth jets scared off Iranian jets from a U.S. drone flying in international airspace.
Former IAEA director warns Tehran could nix deal, arm itself quickly
If Iran breaks its deal with the West tomorrow, the country would be only two to three weeks away from producing enough highly enriched uranium to assemble a nuclear weapon, according to Olli Heinonen, former deputy director of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Heinonen directed the safeguards division of the United Nations body charged with enforcing the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
He was asked Sunday on Aaron Klein’s WABC Radio show about the timeframe in response to statements from Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, who boasted last week that Tehran can nix its deal with the West and resume enriching uranium to 20-percent levels within one day if it so desires.
‘I Think A Lot Of The Privacy People Don’t Understand That We Still Occupy The Role Of The Great Satan’Posted: January 19, 2014
From NRO’s The Corner, Betsy Woodruff writes: Dianne Feinstein decried NSA critics on Meet the Press this morning, saying the government is much less intrusive than corporations and that privacy advocates don’t understand the extent of the threat that terrorism poses to the United States.