Posted: July 18, 2014 Filed under: Diplomacy, Global, Politics, Russia, White House | Tags: Barack Obama, Daily Beast, Iran, Moscow, Putin, RUSSIA, United States, Vladimir Putin
Now that the U.S.-Russia relationship has broken down, Moscow could throw a wrench into the teetering nuclear negotiations with Iran.
For the The Daily Beast, Josh Rogin writes: The escalating tensions between Washington and Moscow, brought to fever by theMH17 airliner disaster, are finally to the point where they threaten to spoil the number one item on President Obama’s foreign policy agenda: the nuclear talks with Iran. The man doing the threatening is Russian President Vladimir Putin.Earlier this week, Putin promised to retaliate against the United States for new sanctions targeting his friends and business associates, as well as large Russian defense, energy, and financial firms.
“If Putin decides that retaliating against the U.S. and ruining Obama’s foreign policy legacy is more important than sealing a pact with Iran, the whole thing could unravel.”
On Thursday, Putin called President Obama to alert him a civilian jetliner had crashed over Eastern Ukraine, a tragedy the U.S. says was caused by a missile shot from a Russian-made SA-11 mobile surface to air missile system located in a separatist-held area.Putin’s next call was to none other than the President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani.“Mr. Putin and Mr. Rouhani exchanged views on the state of talks on Iran’s nuclear program,” stated the Kremlin readout of the call. “The two leaders also examined bilateral cooperation matters of mutual interest, including joint projects in the oil and gas sector and in peaceful nuclear energy.”
“An extension is the only thing the Iranians need to complete their bomb work. The whole point of the sanctions was to make sure that time is not on the side of the Iranians.”
U.S. officials, lawmakers, and experts, have been watching and waiting for Putin to use the Iran negotiations as a way to mess with Obama ever since the tit-for-tat sanctions began in March.
Moscow and Tehran have been negotiating a $1.5 billion oil-for-goods exchange, which could undermine international pressure on Iran to make a deal with the West. But overall, Moscow has continued to be a reasonably constructive part of the international coalition pressing Iran to roll back its nuclear program. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: July 16, 2014 Filed under: Global, Politics, War Room | Tags: Barack Obama, Bill O'Reilly, Charles Krauthammer, Iran, Iran's nuclear program, John Kerry, Obama, Obama administration, West
At The Corner, this item from Molly Wharton:
Charles Krauthammer last night said that the Obama administration and Iran will agree to continue talks about the latter’s nuclear program this week because the administration wants to “come up with a fig leaf of a deal.”
This coming Sunday is six months from the signing of an interim agreement on the Iranian nuclear program, and that deal will have to be adjusted to continue talks. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 23, 2014 Filed under: Mediasphere, Politics, U.S. News, White House | Tags: Charles Krauthammer, Iran, Iraq, Kurdish people, Nouri al-Maliki, Prime Minister of Iraq, Shia Islam, United States
From The Corner: Since the U.S. cannot work with Iran, Iraq must choose between Iran and the U.S. for its ally, Charles Krauthammer said on a Fox News Special Report.
Iran’s objective is to support the Shi’ite government as a dictatorship, backing Iraqi prime minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki even though he lost the election 92-238 in parliament. The U.S. objective, however, is to form a coalition including the Kurds and the Shi’ite, along with Shi’ite moderates…(read more)
National Review Online
Posted: June 16, 2014 Filed under: Diplomacy, Global, Mediasphere, Politics | Tags: Barack Obama, Charles Krauthammer, Iran, Iraq, Islamism, John Kerry, Kerry, United State, USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77)
“[The U.S.] will work with Iranians so long as they respect the integrity and sovereignty of Iraq.”
– Secretary of State John Kerry
The U.S. cannot partner with Iran to fight Islamist insurgents in Iraq, because Iran has supported whatever it takes to gain influence in Iran, Charles Krauthammer contended.
”…preposterous…the worst thing we could possibly do.”
– Charles Krauthammer
Secretary of State John Kerry’s said today that the U.S. “will work with Iranians so long as they respect the integrity and sovereignty of Iraq.” Krauthammer called this idea ”preposterous.” Iran will not respect the integrity and sovereignty of Iraq and Kerry’s military plan is “the worst thing we could possibly do,” he said on Special Report….(read more)
National Review Online
Posted: May 15, 2014 Filed under: Think Tank, U.S. News | Tags: American Civil War, George Orwell, George Washington, Homeland Security, Iran, Muslim, Ruling class, Saudi Arabia, Woodrow Wilson
Salus populi suprema lex: In the name of the people’s safety, the dictator’s will is law.
This essay is an excerpt from Angelo Codevillo’s new book (Hoover Press).
Angelo M. Codevilla writes: The loss of peace abroad has upset the balance between the various elements of life in America, fed domestic strife, and resulted in the loss of peace at home. The need for protection against foreign jihadists and their American imitators occasioned the empowerment of a vast apparatus of “homeland security” that treats all Americans as potential enemies—with only a pretense of even-handedness. In fact, the sense that enemies among us must be dealt with reinforced our bipartisan ruling class’s tendency to regard its own domestic political opponents as another set of persons whose backward ways must be guarded against and reformed. A spiral of strife among Americans resulted. In the light of history and of reason, any other outcome would have been surprising.
[Angelo M. Codevilla's book: To Make and Keep Peace Among Ourselves and with All Nations is available at Amazon.com]
After 9/11 our ruling class came together on the proposition that, at home as well as abroad, America is at war against enemies so evil that there must be no limit to fighting them, whose identity we must always seek but can never know; that to focus on, to “profile,” the kinds of persons who have committed terrorist acts, is racist and provocative; that any American is as likely as any other to be a terrorist, and hence that all must submit to being sifted, screened, restricted—forever. Childhood in the “land of the free, the home of the brave” must now include learning to spread-eagle and be still as government employees run their hands over you. Patriotism is now supposed to mean obeisance to the security establishment, accepting that the authorities may impose martial law on whole cities, keep track of all phone calls, or take whatever action they choose against any person for the sake of “homeland security,” and that theirs alone is the choice whether to disclose the basis for whatever they do. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: April 19, 2014 Filed under: Breaking News, Diplomacy, Politics, U.S. News, White House | Tags: Barack Obama, Chuck Schumer, Iran, Jay Carney, Ted Cruz, Tehran, United Nations, United States
For Hot Air, Ed Morrissey writes: Yesterday, Ted Cruz had his first authored bill get signed into law, but the freshman Senator from Texas probably didn’t too excited by the victory. Despite unanimous support in both chambers of Congress for the new law, President Barack Obama sounded less than enthusiastic about enforcing the bill he signed yesterday that would block the proposed Iranian envoy to the UN from receiving an entry visa to the US:
It’s the oddest of legislative couples: President Obama and one of his biggest critics, Ted Cruz.
Obama on Friday signed a Cruz-backed bill aimed at blocking Iran’s appointed ambassador to the United Nations because of evidence linking him to the 1979 takeover of the American embassy in Tehran.
Technically, the law bars individuals from entering the U.S. as U.N. ambassadors if they are “found to have been engaged in espionage or terrorist activity directed against the United States or its allies.”
In reality, the bill targets a specific Iranian individual: Hamid Aboutalebi, who has been refused a visa by the administration.
A news report from inside the Islamic world
Iran is “outraged” over the decision:
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: April 8, 2014 Filed under: Diplomacy, Politics, U.S. News | Tags: Chuck Schumer, Cruz, Embassy of the United States Tehran, Hamid Aboutalebi, Iran, President of Iran, Ted Cruz, Tehran, United Nations, Washington Post
Aboutalebi was a member of the student group that led the 1979 seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.
According to the Washington Post, this news story isn’t about Hamid Aboutalebi, it’s about Senator Ted Cruz. Aboutalebi’s name doesn’t appear in the body copy until the end of the second paragraph. Cruz’s name is in the first paragraph. Ted Cruz’s name appear as the first words in (the Washington Post‘s version of) the headline. Aboutalebi isn’t mentioned in the headline.
That said, I’m impressed that it takes a whole 23 words before this Washington Post news story turns into a stealth Op-Ed. Note in the story’s opening paragraph this morsel of sarcastic editorializing: “rare legislative victory for its lead sponsor, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.)”.
Does any literate person in America really have any uncertainty about which political party Cruz belongs to, or what state he represents? Does anyone outside Washington D.C. keep Senatorial legislative record scorecards? Just asking. Even the choice of the photo (of Cruz) and its tag (see below) are a form of editorializing. I replaced the photo with what should normally be the subject of the article, Iran’s U.N. Envoy Hamid Aboutalebi. But hey, that’s just me, why bury the lede?
For the Washington Post, Ed O’Keefe and Robert Costa report: A measure that would bar Iran’s recently appointed ambassador to the United Nations from entering the United States easily passed the Senate on Monday, delivering a rare legislative victory for its lead sponsor, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.).
(this is where The Post felt compelled to add “a first-term senator who is considering a run for president in 2016″. Seriously?The Washington Post wants to remind you, not of the bill being sponsored, or why it’s being sponsored, but of their view of the career aspirations of the Texas Senator sponsoring it. Got the message yet?)
…has spent the last several days railing against Iran’s appointment of Hamid Aboutalebi (Finally! They can say his name. Bravo, Washington Post!) as its new top envoy to the United Nations in New York.
Note: the unaltered photo above, by Scott Applewhite, included in its metadata this file description, “2016_Presidential_Checklist_Cruz“. How’s that for a revealing bit of inside commentary by the Washington Post? If you’re in D.C., and you’re hip, you know Cruz ‘s motive for sponsoring this bill has nothing to do with Iran, U.S. foreign policy, or the U.N. He’s posturing, folks, it’s just an item on his “presidential checklist”.
Aboutalebi was a member of the student group that led the 1979 seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. He has acknowledged that he worked with the organization that took over the embassy, but has played down his role in the crisis.
“It is unconscionable that in the name of international diplomatic protocol the United States would be forced to host a foreign national who showed a brutal disregard of the status of diplomats when they were stationed in his country. This person is an acknowledged terrorist.”
– Senator Ted Cruz
Aboutalebi’s appointment by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has been criticized by the Obama administration, which called the nomination “extremely troubling.” In recent months, Aboutalebi’s visa application to enter the United States as a diplomat has been stalled. As host nation of the United Nations’ headquarters, the United States generally admits the chosen representatives of U.N. members, with limited exceptions.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: March 28, 2014 Filed under: Global, U.S. News, White House | Tags: Barack Obama, Bashar al-Assad, Iran, Middle East, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Tehran, Washington
Riyadh (AFP) – US President Barack Obama meets Saudi King Abdullah Friday as mistrust fuelled by differences over Iran and Syria overshadows a decades-long alliance between their countries.
Obama, who is due to arrive in Saudi Arabia late in the afternoon on a flight from Italy, is expected to hold evening talks with the monarch on a royal estate outside Riyadh.
Saudi Arabia has strong reservations about efforts by Washington and other major world powers to negotiate a deal
Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud in Rawdat al-Khuraim, on January 5, 2014 (AFP)
with Iran on its nuclear programme.
It is also disappointed over Obama’s 11th-hour decision last year not to take military action against the Syrian regime over chemical weapons attacks.
Saudi analyst Abdel Aziz al-Sagr, who heads the Gulf Research Centre, said Saudi-US relations are “tense due to Washington’s stances” on the Middle East, especially Iran.
The recent rapprochement between Tehran and Washington “must not take place at the expense of relations with Riyadh,” Sagr told AFP.
Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia, long wary of Shiite Iran’s regional ambitions, views a November deal between world powers and Iran over the latter’s nuclear programme as a risky venture that could embolden Tehran. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: March 7, 2014 Filed under: Diplomacy, War Room, White House | Tags: Barack Obama, Fars News Agency, Iran, Islamic republic, John Kerry, Obama, Times Of Israel, Vladimir Putin
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 »
Posted: March 3, 2014 Filed under: Mediasphere, Politics, War Room, White House | Tags: Barack Obama, Cold War, Crimea, George Will, Hannibal, Iran, John Kerry, Krauthammer, Obama, RUSSIA, Russian
“…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...]
President Bambi contemplates dreams of a global, interconnected, multi-polar, power-sharing, cooperating, interdependent, non-competitive 21st century fantasyland…
“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
[You can download Dr. Krauthammer’s bestselling Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics [Kindle Edition] from Amazon]
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Posted: March 3, 2014 Filed under: Diplomacy, Global, White House | Tags: Barack Obama, Iran, Israel, Jeffrey Goldberg, Middle East, Obama, Syria
President Barack Obama meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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.
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Posted: March 2, 2014 Filed under: Diplomacy, Global, History | Tags: Barack Obama, Cold War, Dmitry Medvedev, Iran, John McCain, Obama, President of Russia, RUSSIA, Think Progress
From Think Progress 2009:
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.”
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Posted: February 19, 2014 Filed under: Diplomacy, Mediasphere, Politics, U.S. News | Tags: Canada, Charles Krauthammer, Hillary Clinton, Iran, Pulitzer Prize, RUSSIA, Syria, Venezuela
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…
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