Obama will argue that under his leadership, the United States “has Israel’s back,” and that he will order the U.S. military to destroy Iran’s nuclear program if economic sanctions fail to compel Tehran to shelve its nuclear ambitions. … Obama told me…that both Iran and Israel should take seriously the possibility of American action against Iran’s nuclear facilities. “I think that the Israeli government recognizes that, as president of the United States, I don’t bluff. … I think both the Iranian and the Israeli governments recognize that when the United States says it is unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon, we mean what we say.” (Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic, 03/08/12)
So wrote the royal scribe. Thus, as Pharaoh proclaimed in the classic movie “The Ten Commandments,” “Let it be said, let it be done!” Goldberg’s interview epitomized what any objective observer three years later would deem worthy of four Pinocchios. But for Obamacrats and a second term, chances are they don’t want to remember the interview ’cause Obama don’t bluff.
Goldberg recounted, “The president also said that Tehran’s nuclear program would represent a ‘profound’ national security threat to the United States even if Israel were not a target of Iran’s violent rhetoric, and he dismissed the argument that the United States could successfully contain a nuclear Iran.” He’s right. Containment (a.k.a. appeasement), which he has now agreed to in 2015, was not an option on the 2012 campaign trail. It wouldn’t have looked good. Too weak.
“You’re talking about the most volatile region in the world,” said Obama. “It will not be tolerable to a number of [Arab] states in that region for Iran to have a nuclear weapon…. Iran is known to sponsor terrorist organizations, so the threat of proliferation becomes that much more severe. The dangers of Iran getting nuclear weapons that then leads to a free-for-all in the Middle East… I think would be very dangerous for the world.” Ya think? But we’re on the campaign trail. Be tough! Obama don’t bluff. Hit that “reset” button. Hey Vlad, “I can be more flexible after the election.”
Did Obama change speechwriters between the 2012 campaign trail and the real world of 2015? Or maybe the Iranians hacked his teleprompters. In 2012, he became “animated” when speaking of the chaotic arms race he fears would break out in the Middle East. But today – three years later – he demanded fealty to a Chamberlain-esque agreement that many believe is worse than the agreement of 1938. Ataollah Salehi, commander of Iran’s army, affirmed that notwithstanding the recent nuclear deal, the Islamic Republic would destroy Israel at all costs “no matter how many weapons are given to Israel.” Referring to Iran’s support for terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah, Salehi gloated, “We are glad we’re in the forefront of executing Supreme Leader’s order to destroy the Zionist regime.” (Washington Free Beacon, 09/23/15)
Goldberg noted, “Though he struck a consistently pro-Israel (?) posture (convoluted like a pretzel) during the interview, Obama went to great lengths to caution Israel that a premature strike might inadvertently help Iran.” Only in a campaign-driven echo chamber could it be rationalized that “at a time when there is not a lot of sympathy for Iran … do we want a distraction in which suddenly Iran can portray itself as a victim?” (Ibid.) Talk about an alternate universe! If Iran were leveled, the Saudis, Kuwaitis, Iraqis, Egyptians and others would see Iran as a victim? These Arab states would be dancing mano a mano in the streets of Mecca, and Arab women, their burqas flapping in the wind, would be showering candy on Israel and chanting Allahu Akbar!
Quizzically, Obama explained, “Our argument is going to be that it is important for us to see if we can solve this thing permanently, as opposed to temporarily.” But in 2015, this is Obama’s kick-the-bomb- down-the-road head fake, while Iran has been working on its nuclear program, the trophy for Mahdi, the 12th Imam. Is the president so naïve as to fail to realize that once Iran gets its hands on a hundred billion dollars, it’s game-over for the nuke agreement? There are no mulligans on this one. But maybe Obama is counting on the fact that he’s bequeathing this little gift of a nuclear-weaponized Iran to the next president. Less than 14 months left and tag – you’re it! So long! Auf wiedersehen! He’ll be off revising and redacting his legacy of making the oceans rise and fostering racial harmony in America.
“When I say we’re not taking any option off the table, we mean it,” Obama insisted. Which would include capitulating on the “snap-back sanctions.” The military strike is obviously off the table. Those “anytime, anywhere” inspections are off the table. And what is on the table is Article 3, section 10.2 which provides that if any country (like Israel) tries to sabotage or attack the Iranian nuclear facilities, the U.S. and the P5+1 will come to Iran’s aid. Got that? The United States is obligated to protect the greatest sponsor of terrorism in the world. Whose side is the Obama administration on? But he’s got Israel’s back — gotta watch your back these days. It’s a favorite part of the anatomy for stabbing. Just ask Hosni Mubarak!
Continuing in the good old days of the 2012 campaign trail, the agreement “ensures that the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] is robust in evaluating Iran’s military program…. And I think people understand that. … I think that the Israeli government recognizes that as President of the United States, I don’t bluff. …that when the United States says it is unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon, we mean what we say.” NO BLUFFING. And obviously in the 2015 agreement, President Obama and Secretary of State John ” Gruberizer” Kerry trust that Iran will exercise due diligence in its self-inspection of Parchin and other military sites. After all, the U.S. has red lines. Red lines mean something — oops — except when it comes to Syrian chemical weapons of mass destruction killing hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, but who’s counting?
And yet, Goldberg, the loyal stenographer, quoted Obama, “If Iran gets a nuclear weapon [a parsing of words in the singular, since Iran is looking not for a nuclear weapon but for lots of nuclear weapons], this would run completely contrary to my policies of nonproliferation. [For campaign trail consumption.] The risks of an Iranian nuclear weapon falling [or graciously placed] into the hands of terrorist organizations are profound.” (Ibid.)
Liar, Liar, Pants on fire… “Ultimately the Israeli prime minister and the defense minister and others in the government have to make their decisions about what they think is best for Israel’s security, and I don’t presume to tell them what is best for them.” Delete the first six years of his contentious courtship with Israel, since that’s all he and his State Department gofers did; but that was 2012 for the Jewishly gullible’s distraction since by 2015 the president did presume and did become a bit testy with Israel as the returns on his smoke-and-mirror fantasy of an agreement hit the sunlight of outright skepticism and revulsion. By mid-2015, over 72 percent of Israelis were against the agreement – what they knew of it – and two out of three Americans—a country of less than 2 percent Jews—were against it, while 200 retired U.S. Generals lobbied Congress to reject the Iran deal (The Times of Israel 08/26/15). Among the critics of the Iran deal was Michael Flynn, former top Pentagon official who served as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. In contrast, the Obamacratically loyal J Street “blocking backs” and 340 of the usual Reform and Reconstructionist rabbinic Tweedledees and Tweedledumbs, with their “pants on fire,” conceded that it was “not a perfect agreement”—and then supported it anyway.
After his first four Pinocchios, and grasping at straws, Obama doubled down for the gullible when, in the middle of Goldberg’s 2012 interview, he whined, “What we’ve heard directly from [Iran] over the last couple of weeks is that nuclear weapons are sinful and un-Islamic. And those are formal speeches from the Supreme Leader and their foreign minister.” Wow! It kinda takes your breath away! Talk about spin! If Obama don’t bluff, maybe we can call it “misspoke”? Or call it what it really is—outright nonsense, as Iran just test-fired its new and improved, precision-guided, thousand-mile ballistic missile.
But here we are in 2015, and the Democrats—even some Jewish ones—lined up to pass the Iran agreement. Each and every Democrat who voted for it prefaced his vote with the admission that it is a flawed agreement and they have their reservations not only on its terms, but also on whether Iran will adhere to it at all once they get their hands on those billions of dollars. Why are Hezbollah, Hamas and Syria salivating with delight? Could it be disbelief at their good fortune? Allahu akbar! Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, displayed strength and brought honor to Iran when he made it clear to Kerry that inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency would be refused the access necessary to verify that all Iran’s nuclear activities are peaceful.
Military sites would be entirely out of bounds, as would interrogation of Iran’s nuclear scientists (“Yes, your honorable Imam!”); all American and U.N. sanctions must be lifted immediately after the agreement is signed (“Yes, your most honorable Imam!”); and all curbs on Iran’s nuclear research and development program are “unacceptable” (“Yes, your Supremely Honorable Mr. Ayatollah, Sir! May I get off my knees now, Supreme Leader?”) Kerry dismissed this as “just playing to the gallery at home. That, however, fails to explain why Mr. Khamenei would risk the political humiliation of a deal being struck by Iran’s negotiators which would inevitably drive a truck through his red lines.” (The Economist, 07/04/15) Yet, with his pants on fire, Kerry ingloriously states, “Critics tell us over and over again, you can’t trust Iran. Well, guess what! There’s not a single sentence, not a single paragraph in this whole agreement that relies on promises and trust. Not one.” (Israel National News 09/02/15) Really? Once again, the Gruberizer relies on Americans’ gullibility. Seriously, when loyal Democrats like Sen. Charles Schumer, Sen. Joe Manchin and renowned lawyer Alan Dershowitz believed it was a terrible and dangerous deal, what could Kerry have been thinking?
Behind the scenes in Washington D.C., Trita Parsi, the Iranian-born émigré, founder and president of the National Iranian American Council “has won a defining battle over the direction of American foreign policy. The [agreement] not only lifts sanctions on Iran, a goal Parsi has fought for since 1997, but also paves the way for a broader reconciliation between Washington and Tehran across the Middle East.” (Lee Smith, Tablet magazine, 09/01/15)
The big losers in the fight are AIPAC, Israel, Saudi Arabia and America. “Most important,” notes Smith, “Parsi found common cause with a White House that believed the same things he did: The United States and Iran should be closer, and all that was preventing rapprochement was Israel and AIPAC. NIAC didn’t really need to write their talking points anymore… because they were coming from the White House. … The Iran lobby used… back-door personal connections to top policy- makers to radically alter American foreign policy, and align the United States with an oppressive authoritarian regime that is destabilizing the Middle East.” (Ibid.)
Be sure your trays are in an upright position and your seatbelts fastened. The “not on my watch” president probably has a few more “I don’t bluffs” up his sleeve, and the ride could get a bit bumpy. I would be remiss not to acknowledge the loyally genuflecting Democrats who took those lavish AIPAC trips to Israel and forgot to say thank you. Obama don’t bluff, but the real question is whether the smiling ayatollahs don’t bluff!
Shabbat Shalom, 11/06/15 Jack “Yehoshua” Berger * * Back issues are archived at The Times of Israel.com