In April 2009, Barack Hussein Obama curtsied (some observers called it a “deep bow”) to his royal highness, Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, king of Saudi Arabia. Middle East protocol experts were clear that this was an unnecessary gesture, and that a simple handshake would have sufficed. The White House denied the curtsy, but videos and photos of the gesture zapped around the Internet telling the truth to anyone interested. King Abdullah’s only two claims to fame are the two sacred cities of Islam and about 25% of the world’s oil. One can only wonder which of the Saudi king’s two assets evoked Obama’s obeisance.
It is now beginning to look like this unnecessary, uncalled for, awkward but perhaps telling bit of subservience by the president of the world’s strongest country, the commander-in-chief of the world’s most powerful army, and the leader of the free world, to a jihadist Islamo-fascist, imperialist, supremacist, totalitarian, tyrannical, triumphalist, theocratic, apartheid, misogynistic, terrorist-supporting ruler of a petty sheikhdom, may have been a harbinger of future subservience.
Flash forward two years. A soon-to-be nuclear Iran threatens the entire world, Muslim and Christian, Occident and Orient, and of course Israel and the United States. Yet, during these past two years, Obama has consistently chosen political theatre over substantive action to prevent Iran’s progress toward WMD capacity; a course of action decidedly contrary to the political and economic and security interests of the USA and the free world. As is clear from the obvious fact that neither Russia nor China nor North Korea will join other nations in imposing economic sanctions on Iran, the much vaunted UN sanctions will in no way impede Iran’s nuclear program.
As Congresspersons Tom Price (R-GA) and Trent Franks (R-AZ) explained:1
There is no ban on investment in Iran’s petroleum sector. With one exception, there is no ban on banking with Iran, foreign investment in Iranian bonds, insurance for Iranian shipping, or the provision of trade credits to Iran. In short, the resolution will cause minimal economic hardship for the regime, and, like the preceding three U.N. measures, will do little or nothing to impede the regime’s march toward a nuclear military capability. Those provisions that in some way restrict Iran’s conduct are easily circumvented through the use of front organizations and alternate banking relations.
In order to pass this resolution, the Obama administration, due to long-standing objections from Russia and China, jettisoned every proposal that might actually harm Iran’s economy.
The House version of the decidedly tougher Iran Sanctions Act (ISA, H.R. 2194) would, in contrast to the U.N. resolution, accomplish the following: It would fully implement and enforce the 1996 ISA law to encourage foreign governments to direct that all state-owned and privately-owned entities cease all investment in and support for Iran’s energy sector and all exports of refined petroleum to Iran, and would impose sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran and any other bank in Iran that is engaged in proliferation activities or support of terrorist groups. The House bill would also greatly restrict the use of the President’s waiver authority. For more information on H.R. 2194, click here to review the RSC analysis of the legislation.
Unfortunately, the Obama administration requested that Congress not debate the Iran Sanctions Act until after passage of the U.N. resolution. By putting ISA on the back burner, the Obama administration delayed progress on sanctions with actual substance, opting instead to throw its full support behind the decidedly weaker Security Council resolution, presumably in hopes of obtaining a “public relations victory” following passage of toothless U.N. sanctions (emphasis added).
Did Obama so highly value a PR victory that he would subordinate America’s strategic security needs to his political image? Back in June 2010, it looked like Obama preferred form over substance, rather than a determined effort to stop Iran’s seemingly inexorable march toward nuclear power: either that or he wanted Iran to win. Today it looks much more like he wants Iran to win.