The view from the White House must be nice this time of year; the birds are singing, the flowers are blooming, and the Middle East, long a major source of torment for the occupants of the White House is on the verge of a new era of peace and stability all brought to you by Obama’s Iran deal. Last week Ben Rhodes, Obama’s National Security Adviser, said of the much contended Iran deal: “If you can diplomatically and peacefully resolve the nuclear issue in a way that prevents Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, we believe that will lead to a much more stable region.” Well, what he, and by extension, the president are saying is technically true; negotiations are always a better alternative but the only evidence that such a solution is possible exists is on white house and state department stationary. There is almost no evidence that THIS particular diplomatic solution is the one that will lead to increased stability. But when has that ever stopped them?
The White House and its various advisers, spokespersons, and advocates have had a particular talent for saying things that happen to be technically true but don’t jive with the reality around them. Ben Rhodes added later that, with a deal, “there will be no need to see [a] regional arms race.” Great! Now all you have to do is convince the Saudis of that, now if only they would give you the time of day; apparently they were too busy shopping for a Nuclear Bomb in Pakistan to show up at the White House to let the president tell them that they don’t need a nuclear bomb.
We’ve done this dance before; these were the same people that expressed, in 2011, a totally un-justified amount of optimism at the outset of the Arab spring. To their boundlessly unrealistic minds it was the dawn of Arab Democracy. Others were more wary; Democracy and popular revolution have never really had a good track record against Islamic Extremism dating all the way back to, funny coincidence, the Iranians in their revolution in 1979. What had started there as a popular revolt against the Shah was quickly twisted by the Ayatollahs into a religious war against the West.The Arab spring produced results that were predictable to anyone who could see what the reality in front of them rather than the reality that they wanted to see. Now here we are again; boundless optimism in the White House that refuses to be tempered or tamed by events or facts.
All is not lost though, if Obama plays his cards could still leave the white house with some sort of foreign policy legacy. Perhaps he could claim to be the first president that brought Israel and the Arab states closer together. It was reported this week that Israeli and Arab diplomats met in Jordan to discuss mutual security concerns. people will say that only a foreign policy genius could have gotten the Israelis and the Saudis start cooperating as if there lives depended on it.
The view from the white house must be nice this time of year if for no other reason than that Obama sees what he wants to see.