Obama’s Iranian Delusions

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Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov was quoted by Interfax as saying that any new sanctions “will be seen in the international community as an instrument for regime change in Tehran. That approach is unacceptable to us, and the Russian side does not intend to consider such proposals.”

Russia and China, along with significant emerging countries like India, Brazil and South Africa, have complained that NATO misused the UN Security Council resolution authorizing military action to protect civilians in Libya as a pretext to force regime change in Libya. They are using that precedent as justification to oppose other Western initiatives in the Security Council against rogue regimes, including with respect to Syria as well as Iran.

Even if Medvedev were inclined to be cooperative with Obama at this point to bring more pressure to bear on Iran, which he is not, Medvedev will soon be replaced by the more hardline, bellicose Vladimir Putin.

Moreover, the Obama administration itself is reluctant to impose the one additional sanction that could have a real bite – cutting off Iran’s central bank from the international financial system. Iran’s central bank is the clearinghouse for much of its petroleum trade, which is the key driver of its economy. Cutting off Iran’s central bank from the international financial system would effectively freeze much of its oil export market with crippling effects on Iran’s economy. But fearing a spike in global oil prices that would likely result from such a cut-off and a potentially negative economic impact on U.S. allies which currently depend on imports of Iranian oil for which they make payments linked with the central bank, the Obama administration is unwilling to take the one bold step short of military action that could actually make a difference.

Obama did declare during his news conference that he was not taking any option off the table, presumably including the military option: “I have said repeatedly and I will say it today, we are not taking any options off the table, because it’s my firm belief that an Iran with a nuclear weapon would pose a security threat not only to the region but also to the United States.”

What that warning means is hard to say. Hopefully, the Obama administration is using covert actions to sabotage the Iranian nuclear program in cooperation with Israel, such as the Stuxnet virus that slowed down, but did not cripple, Iran’s nuclear enrichment program. Was last Sunday’s explosion at a Revolutionary Guards arms depot, which killed at least seventeen members of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards Corps including the architect of Iran’s missile program, General Hassan Moqaddam, an accident as Iran is claiming or was it an act of sabotage that may harbinger more such acts to come?

To what extent the Obama administration would provide support for an outright attack on Iranian nuclear facilities by Israel or launch one itself is unclear, although it should be noted that the Obama administration has sold bunker-busting bombs to Israel. This is not to suggest that such an attack would be a good idea.  It would be almost impossible to take out all of Iran’s nuclear facilities and end its program entirely. Thus, the benefits of causing merely a further delay in Iran’s weapons development would have to be weighed against the potential costs. As United States Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said, “You’ve got to be careful of unintended consequences here. It could have a serious impact in the region, and it could have a serious impact on U.S. forces in the region.”

A naval blockade against Iran in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz would likely lead to counter-attacks on U.S. naval forces by Iran, disruptions of key oil transport routes and the unleashing of Hezbollah rockets against Israel and other targets. Again, the costs may outweigh the benefits unless a truly crippling blow could be assured against Iran’s nuclear program.

However, a blockade to prevent the introduction of Iranian missiles or missile parts into Venezuela or other Latin American countries allied with Iran would send the kind of signal to Iran that President John F. Kennedy sent to the Soviet Union when he ordered a military “quarantine” of Cuba to prevent offensive weapons from being delivered to Cuba. If an overt military option is needed, this could be one that would show the U.S. means business and would be the easiest to carry out.

Perhaps Obama will surprise us and show the boldness he displayed in making the decision to take out Osama bin Laden. But his record to date on Iran is dismal. His pathetic attempt at his news conference to spin his record as placing us in “a much stronger position now than we were two or three years ago” is an insult to the intelligence of the American people.

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  • Herman Caintonette

    Ever since the Shrub lied us into Iraq and Cheney carved up its oil concessions, we have been in no position to do anything about Iran. They have Silkworm missiles, which they can use to shut down the Straits of Hormuz. If we had invested in a green economy instead of nation-building ($4 trillion would have gone a long way toward getting there), we could tell the Arabs to eat their own damned oil, but you checkers-playing troglodytes can't see more than one move ahead. Green energy is and was all about economic security.

    • American Eagle

      So are unikorns.
      About economic security, that is.
      The greatest strength of the Left is that once they come up with a destructive idea—and that is ALL they come up with—they *never* let it go. They harp on it until the Kingdom comes, or until they implement it, whichever comes first.

    • ziontruth

      "If we had invested in a green economy…"

      You could equally have invested in buying the bridges I own.

      Alternative energy sources, including (and most prominently today, until something safer to use comes along) nuclear power—excellent suggestion. But the hippie-Marxist scam of "green energy" shows you're gullible beyond belief. I ought to thank you for giving me a good perspective in which to put your comments from now on.

      • Herman Caintonette

        Guess I can't use the name of a certain Japanese reactor complex.

        We almost lost the Corn Belt last summer. We came even closer to losing Detroit some years ago (not that anyone would notice). Reliance on first-gen nuclear is like playing Russian roulette: sooner or later, you will take the bullet.

        Second-gen nuclear (thorium-flouride) shows potential. That having been said, Jon Huntsman pointed out that the true cost of gasoline is closer to $10-13/gal., and with that as a base, green energy is remarkably competitive.

  • American Eagle

    bama is one person in DC who is NOT deluded. He knows exactly what he wants, goes after it, and usually gets it. In this case, he wants a nuclear iran, wipe out israel, and strengthen the muslim nutjobs in middle-east in general. For the simple reason that he wants to WEAKEN america, which is the PRIMARY obstacle to Left's global aspirations. To believe that his intentions vis a vis america are good, but he is only *deluded* is a belief for those who are deluded about what the Left (and Obama) is about.

  • StephenD

    Stick around. We may yet get to see him frown as he looks sternly into the camera and says:
    Iran is bad…very, very bad. We have drawn (another) line in the sand. We call on the civilized world to bring sanctions to bear on Iran because, well, they're bad…very, very bad. BUT…we will ALWAYS extend a hand to those that would unclench their fists. We recognize that if it wasn't for our imperialistic colonization around the world you would not be hostile to us. We apologize.
    Now then, won't you be my neighbor?

  • matt

    Obama wants to leave Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pentagon want to stay and build sandcastles, the Pentagon would rather see Iran get nukes, than leave either Iraq or Afghanistan. The Pentagon would rather attack Pakistan than Iran. It was the same under Bush, a lot of stuff was done via the VP office bypassing the Pentagon and chain of command, the CIA. That is why Israel was being established to strike Iran, outsourcing a private contractor if you like.

  • matt

    That was why the SOFA because they would never leave, Iran has less influence in Afghanistan, which why the bags of money to Karzai to keep them bogged down, so Israel could still strike Iran regardless of the human shields. Mexico keep them on two fronts, Mullen no third front it is a stretch even for the US. The majority of covert operations against Iran were outsourced to Israel.

  • matt

    It was smart leaving office, outsource everything to another country so it can continue regardless. So if the US does not launch operations, be whatever those operations are the Israeli's will. Remember there was no chain of command, now everything would have to go up the chain, before straight to the top no filter. What would once be approve now will not so you have to piggy back operation on others that will be approved. There was effectively two US Governments in operation.

  • matt

    Now Israel has the whole world against them pressure not to strike, the US leak via the media the illumination dates, use disinformation about Iranian air defense (top of the line) to affect Israeli public opinion. Cheney keeps telling Israel to bomb Iran. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/… So who knows it is decision time. It is false flag to Cheney he does not care if Iran attack US interests, (outside of Iraq) but if they overtly attack the US will destroy Iran. He wants it.

  • JEM

    It would seem that our President, and Nobel Peace Prize winner, is doing more to encourage war in the middle-east than to restrain it. His sympathy toward Moslems (bowing to the Saudi king and hugging the Turkish ruler while snubbing the Israeli’s), and his lack of concern about persecuted Christians (little or no pressure on Egypt for allowing Moslem attacks on the Coptic Christians, etc.) shows where his real sympathy’s are founded. His being raised for some years amongst the Islamic peoples seems to have had a greater and more lasting effect than many realize. If Mr. Obama gets another 4 years we are in for a ruff ride. In fact things could get very bad before the elections in 2012.

  • KKKK

    as a proud true Americab and friend of Israel, i am appauld at how osama-obama is handling ym country. he is handing this nation over to thhe very people who have promised to bring about "a world without America." how better to unite the Muslim world than launch a "holy" jihad nuclear attack aganist the "Great Satan?" unless something is done, and fast, we will soon see either this whole country under EMP effects or leading American cities reduced to fire and water and radioactive smoke.

  • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

    I’m sure your not really in a position to know what the President’s strategy is toward Iran, much less to libel him as “delusional.”