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What Are They Thinking?

This report sums up the incomprehensible status of our policy toward Iran:

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, visiting Israeli authorities on Monday, said President Obama “is fully aware that the Iranians may simply try to run out the clock” in negotiations over their nuclear program.

Gates, who met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, said during a news conference with Barak that persuasion was still very much on the table to deal with the Islamic Republic’s blossoming nuclear program.

“I think the president is hoping for some kind of response by this fall” at the opening of the U.N. General Assembly, Gates said.

We are about to be played, we know we’re about to be played, and we are doing it anyway? We have no intention of using the variety of diplomatic and economic tools (which the administration saves for poor democracies like Honduras) to tip the balance of power within Iran. The administration is passive in the effort gaining steam in the Senate to enact sanctions. Yet Hillary Clinton insists with great bluster that Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons is “futile.” What’s missing? Well, a coherent plan for denying Iran nuclear weapons.

One is left with two possible interpretations. One may be that despite denials to the contrary that he is living in a diplomatic fantasyland, Obama is convinced of his own powers of persuasion and believes the Iranian mullahs will fall under his spell and give up their nuclear weapons. After all, we are setting such a good example by proposing all sorts of disarmament agreements; the mullahs would be foolish not to go along, right? This supposes the administration is stocked with fools who are oblivious to the nature of the Iranian regime. Possibly.

The other alternative is that Clinton knows Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons is futile because eventually Israel will “take care of it.” This is actually a less charitable explanation than the “they are foolish” option. It supposes a level of timidity, an unwillingness to assume American responsibilities, and a level of deceit. Having bashed Israel for six months and declared that no country has the right to tell another whether it can pursue nuclear power, Obama and his team now are banking on Israel to do their dirty work. They will complain after the fact, of course. Is this possible? Well, unless you think Obama and his team are fools, it is the only explanation.

Now perhaps the Senate will step to the forefront, forcing the administration’s hand to pursue serious and meaningful sanctions. But one senses Obama’s heart isn’t in it. After all, he has Israel as Plan B.



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