The Charming, Feckless President Barack Obama and the Pending Catastrophe of Iran (Part III): The Final Outcome

–Richard E. Vatz

This is the third blog I have written regarding the efforts (or lack thereof ) evident in President Barack Obama’s strategy to keep Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Today’s Washington Post’s top headline: “Iran, Major Powers Reach Agreement on Series of Points,” implies that breakthroughs are perhaps being accomplished. Contrarily, former U.N. ambassador John Bolton says “They’ve now got the United States ensnared in negotiations.”

I have no expertise in nuclear technology, but I do have some in strategic rhetoric. The issue of Iran’s acquiring nuclear weaponry is different from all other current serious national issues, such as the economy, the war in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq.

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Most major issues can be rhetorically smoothed over to make ambiguous results look positively positive: How is the economy doing? Fine – we are on our way back; look at the incredible gains in the stock market and ignore unemployment and the weakness of the recovery. How are we doing in Iraq and Afghanistan? Fine – we are giving the Iraqis a chance to secure democracy (was that our singular goal — cannot recall). In Afghanistan if we do not add troops, well, our original goals there no longer apply, and the cost is too great to sustain a long-term military anti-Taliban effort. Successful decision.

Not so nuclear weapon acquisition. Iran will or will not manufacture nuclear weapons. If they do, there will be no gainsaying of this transformative political and military change in the status quo.

Best case scenario: such attaining of nuclear weapons will roil international politics, perhaps energizing nuclear proliferation exponentially and quickly. Worst case scenario: a nuclear exchange between Israel and Iran, perhaps through miscalculation.

As Charles Krauthammer details in yet another brilliant column of his on Iranian nuclear acquisition, President Obama’s Hamlet-like decision-making led to his not revealing the illegal uranium enrichment facilities near Qom in favor of his speaking out in support of world-wide nuclear disarmament, obscuring for more precious time, “the most serious security issue in the world.”

As has been conceded in this space, President Obama is as charming and glib as any president in my lifetime. He is well motivated, as was and is Jimmy Carter for the most part. He, in the words used to describe Robert F. Kennedy, “dreams of things that never were and asks ‘why not?’ ”

Such utopians make good poets and bad realpolitik.

His style as he superintends American foreign policy in the nuclear age?


President Reagan’s was “trust, but verify.”

One hopes that President Obama comes to realize the superiority of President Reagan’s perspective.

Professor Vatz teaches political rhetoric at Towson University

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