The Obama Administration and Iran

As the weeks have passed and Iran has trumpeted its continued efforts to gain nuclear weapons, the Obama Administration has come under fire for its stance on the rogue nation. The developments have gone so far as to have the singular stable and steadfast ally of America in the Middle East, Israel, state that they will not notify America of unilateral action against Iranian nuclear facilities.

Has the Obama Administration failed in regard to Iran? Have they distanced themselves from our ally? Is this a recent development, or has it been a systemic plan that continues to this day? We took a look.

Pres. Obama at SOTU
Pres. Obama at SOTU

Back in 2008, then-Senator Obama pledged that the answer to dealing with Iran was speaking with the leaders of that nation. The consensus of many on the far-left was that full diplomacy has never been granted to Iran since the hostage crisis in the 1980′s. If we spoke to Iran, under the leadership of then-Senator Obama, they would come to understand that the U.S. was not their enemy and more friendly interactions would follow.

“Strong countries and strong presidents talk to their adversaries. That’s what Kennedy did with Khrushchev. That’s what Reagan did with Gorbachev. That’s what Nixon did with Mao. I mean think about it. Iran, Cuba, Venezuela – these countries are tiny compared to the Soviet Union. They don’t pose a serious threat to us the way the Soviet Union posed a threat to us. And yet we were willing to talk to the Soviet Union at the time when they were saying we’re going to wipe you off the planet.” – then-Senator Obama, May 18 2008 – video at http://youtu.be/ew5qP2oPdtQ

Thus when President Obama was elected, efforts were made to speak with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The Ayatollah rebuffed this effort.

Moshen Makhmalbaf
In November 2009, long before there was a whisper of an Arab Spring or Summer or whatever, there was the Green Movement in Iran. Students and moderates that sought to bring democracy to Iran spoke out. They also reached out to the United States for help. They asked America, under the helm of President Obama, to denounce the human rights violations in Iran. One of the Iranian dissidents, Mohsen Makhmalbaf a supposed leader, told Washington

“[Makhmalbaf] and other prominent opposition members are also urging the White House to more actively condemn the brutal crackdown since the election that gave Ahmadinejad a second term despite opposition claims of widespread fraud. The limited reaction has allowed the regime to believe the outside world is indifferent to what is happening inside Iran, he said.”

In the end, the Green Movement of Iran got little to nothing. Unlike what would happen in Libya, Egypt, and other nations in the Middle East, America stood by and barely registered that any opposition movement friendly to the West existed in that nation. Iran continued to move forward with its nuclear plans, and talks never developed.

Taking another look backwards in time, we must also note the President’s stance on energy – particularly oil. President Obama started as a “green” energy proponent. He stated clearly that

“Under my plan, of a cap & trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket…” – March 18, 2008 – video at http://youtu.be/HlTxGHn4sH4

Further, on the 2008 campaign trail he scoffed at the potential of Iran blockading the Strait of Hormuz – which we discussed at the time in our article $12 a gallon of gasoline: the real scare. We will come back to this.

Moving forward in time, President Obama has taken a hard stance on Israel. In May of 2011 President Obama suggested that Palestine be recognized as its own state and that Israel go back to its 1967 borders.

“We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.”

It was the first time any President of the United States had ever made such a statement. The result was a distancing of Israel, that arguably exists today as much as in 2011. President Obama also made statements encouraging sweeping change in the Arab world, that he was unwilling to offer the Green Movement in Iran.

Yet in December 2011, with the 2012 presidential election looming and Republicans beginning their nomination process in earnest, President Obama declared that his Administration was the greatest ally to Israel – ever.

“I try not to pat myself too much on the back,” Mr. Obama told the audience at a Jewish-American fundraiser last week, “but this administration has done more for the security of the state of Israel than any previous administration.”

The ultimate result of these statements was learned on February 28, 2012 when it was learned that Israel had decided to NOT inform America if it takes unilateral pre-emptive strikes on Iran and their developing nuclear capabilities. Specifically it was stated that

“…they would not tell the Obama administration so that Iran would not hold the U.S. responsible for failing to stop the Israeli attack”

The statement says several things at once. That Israel does not feel secure in its relationship with America, as they have never feared any blame that any nation would place on America or Israel before. The statement highlights that Israel feels that America is fearful or timid when it comes to Iran. The statement also makes clear that the Obama Administration is the key to their decision.

The Obama Administration, for its part, is being seen as follows:

“…American officials publicly have said they believe an Israeli airstrike would be a bad idea. Those remarks have ratcheted up tension between the two countries.

Obama believes that the current strategy of diplomacy and sanctions can still work and that a more explicit military threat is not helpful, the senior officials said.”

DOE Secretary Steven Chu
Add to this the revelation by Dept of Energy Secretary Steven Chu on February 28, 2012. When asked by Mississippi Rep. Alan Nunnelee about the goal of the Obama Administration policies on energy and renewable energy.

“But is the overall goal to get our price” of gasoline down, asked Nunnelee.

“No, the overall goal is to decrease our dependency on oil, to build and strengthen our economy,” Chu replied. “We think that if you consider all these energy policies, including energy efficiency, we think that we can go a long way to becoming less dependent on oil and [diversifying] our supply and we’ll help the American economy and the American consumers.”

This brings us back to our earlier point. President Obama, and thus his Administration, do not consider a blockade of the Strait of Hormuz a credible threat. They feel that higher energy prices encourage and promote their goal of renewable energy. They feel that, given time, the current economic impact on American families from higher energy prices is well worth the eventual reward of “green” energy.

This is similar to the view that the economy will eventually correct itself, if President Obama is given more time at the helm of the nation. That energy will be a success much in the way that the Stimulus has “saved” 3.6 million jobs at its peak – however a “saved” job may be defined which has yet to be done. Even though the cost has been higher than promised, and the current outlook on recovery is some 5 or 6 years from today.

Thus in conclusion, we look to answer the questions we posed at the beginning.

  • Has President Obama failed in regard to Iran?
  • Talks to Iran have failed. Iran continues to move forward with its nuclear plans even as America protests. Efforts to introduce a moderate government, and democracy, have died on the vine without half the concern or help the Obama Administration has offered the rest of the Middle East.

    Conclusion, failure.

  • Has the Obama Administration distanced our ally in Israel?
  • The Obama Administration has promoted changes that Israel feels are a death knell to its sovereignty. We have, via our support of the Arab Spring and therefore groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, destabilized the Middle East and supported individuals that would seek to remove Israel from the face of the earth. Due to our failure with Iran, we have done nothing to impede a credible and growing threat to Israel.

    Conclusion, they are distancing themselves from the Obama Administration at least.

  • Is this recent or systemic?
  • As we have shown, the roots of several Obama Administration policies and actions go back to President Obama while he was a Senator – if not longer. These are long held ideals that have been pushed forward, via legislation when possible and Executive Order or departmental oversight and power growth when not.

    In addition, the selective nature of responses to world events shows a deliberate and cohesive plan being enacted overall.

    Conclusion, systemic.

    Considering all the facts and material available, which goes well beyond the documents and research we have done here, we are surprised so few have placed the pieces together to see the international policy and political dogma being enacted.

    Please let us know your thoughts.

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