Commentary Magazine


The Rank Stench of Success

On October 2, the first day of high-level nuclear talks between the U.S. and Iran, Juan “Nostradamus” Cole wrote on his blog: “Barack Obama pwned Bush-Cheney in one day, and got more concessions from Iran in 7 1/2 hours than the former administration got in 8 years of saber-rattling.”

Did Cole nail it or what? In fact, he nwled it. That evil composite entity “Bush-Cheney” must now be kicking itself for not realizing all it could have gotten from Iran if it had only spent a year apologizing to the mullahs for a 65-year-old coup. Just look at what Obama accomplished: He effectively took the bombing option off the table, undermining any sense of credible American threat in Iran and far beyond. He alienated Iranian democrats. He put Iran on an equal footing with the U.S., France, and Russia for the whole world to see. He strained U.S. relations with England and France by rejecting their policy and rollout approaches to the revelation about the Qom enrichment facility. He undermined the international bodies he supposedly respects by effectively consenting to Iranian enrichment prohibited by international treaties. He turned his back on our Central European allies in a failed bid to get Russia in on a strict sanctions regime, and he proved himself weak and incompetent to the Kremlin.

Did I miss anything? Oh yeah, one small point: Iran will get the bomb.

But it was all worth it, because yesterday Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, “We are ready to cooperate” with the West. And it’s not like Iran has been saying that for years or anything.

Such formidable “pwnership” is not confined to Iran policy, mind you. Look at today’s international headlines and you’ll see a virtual anthology of American incompetence. Hillary Clinton is in Pakistan catching heat over U.S. drone attacks, while the rest of her administration is back in Washington arguing in favor of more drones and fewer soldiers in the region.

While in Islamabad, Clinton hailed the “historic agreement” that the U.S. forced upon Honduras, enabling self-appointed strongman Manuel Zelaya to subvert his country’s democracy and reclaim the presidency.

This administration is on the wrong side of just about everything. What’s more, there’s not a single Plan B in sight.