By John David Dyche
Three months have passed since the Obama administration announced its controversial nuclear deal with Iran. That agreement is now in effect.
Obama admitted that he did not expect it to change Iranian behavior. For once he was right. Let’s review what Iran’s ruling has done since President Obama and his Democratic enablers in Congress opted for appeasement.
Almost immediately after Obama announced the deal, Iran dispatched Major General Qasem Soleimani, leader of its elite, terrorist-backing Quds Force, to Russia. This group helped kill and wound American troops in Iraq with improvised explosive devices.
The Soleimani trip blatantly violated a United Nations travel ban. What did the Obama administration do? It complained at the UN and “raised concerns” with Russia.
Iran next sent Revolutionary Guard troops into Syria to help Russia destroy rebel forces that America supposedly supports. The coordinated Russian-Iranian invasion in Syria caught the Obama administration completely by surprise, but Obama claims we will be able to detect Iranian nuclear cheating.
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, then announced that Iran, having gotten what it wanted from Obama on nukes, would not deal with the U.S. on other subjects. "The Iranian nation ousted the Satan,” Khamenei said. "We should not let it back through the window to penetrate."
Khamenei added that he hoped U.S. ally Israel, which he calls a “cancerous tumor,” would not exist in 25 years. Yet Obama dismisses Israeli concerns about the nuclear deal.
Next, Iran tested a long-range ballistic missile. This violated a United Nations Security Council resolution banning Iran from developing missiles that could deliver nuclear warheads.
How did the Obama administration respond? United Nations ambassador Samantha Power said we were "deeply concerned." That must have made the mullahs tremble!
Then Iran convicted Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian of espionage in a secret trial. Iran has held him for 15 months, or about as long as it held the American hostages in 1979-80.
After all this, which is only what we know about, in a mere three months, the Obama administration still said it expected Iran to comply with the nuclear deal. The naïveté is astounding.
So Obama just issued what the Post described as “provisional sanction waivers and a memorandum instructing U.S. agencies to lay the groundwork for relieving sanctions on Iran." No word on whether he got a thank you note from Khamenei.
Now the U.S. does not even have an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf. As The Hill newspaper recently reported, "The USS Theodore Roosevelt pulled out of the Middle East region on Tuesday, and the next carrier, the USS Harry Truman, won’t arrive to the Persian Gulf area until winter, leaving a months-long gap without a carrier."
The Navy’s Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral John Richardson, admits, “Without that carrier, there will be a detriment to our capability there.” What could possibly go wrong since the Iranians are being such good global citizens?
History will record that there were at least a few Democrats who understood the danger of the Obama administration’s passivity toward Iran. At the recent Democratic debate, presidential candidate and former Virginia Senator and Navy Secretary Jim Webb said the deal will allow Iran "to move forward and eventually acquire a nuclear weapon."
Likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton backs the deal, but characteristically does so with enough weasel words to let her change positions like she just did on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. In citing enemies she is proud to have, Clinton includes the Iranians alongside insurance companies, the National Rifle Association, and Republicans.
Obama entered the presidency convinced that his personal charm and magnetism would thaw Iranian relations. Instead, they clearly see him, and America, as weak.
It is a reasonable conclusion on their part. Weakness is provocative and dangerous.
Iran will continue to take advantage of Obama. In fact, it will probably accelerate its adventurism to accomplish as much as possible during his last year in office.
Just as Iran released the hostages the day Ronald Reagan succeeded Jimmy Carter as president in 1981, the mullahs may respect, or even fear, a Republican successor to Obama in 2017. But if that successor is Clinton, or Obama’s Vice-President, Joe Biden, expect even worse from Iran.
(John David Dyche is a Louisville attorney and a political commentator for WDRB.com. His e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jddyche.)
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