Commentary Magazine


Topic: IRNA

Flotsam and Jetsam

Michael Barone explains young Americans’ economic outlook in the Obama era: “The programs of the Obama administration and the Democratic congressional leadership will increase government’s share of the economy and will tend to choke off private sector economic growth. We’ve already lost 8 million private sector jobs but no public sector jobs. We’ll probably create more public sector jobs. … But a nation with an ever larger public sector and an inhibited-growth private sector is a nation with fewer openings for people who want work that will benefit others. Fewer opportunities for young people who want to choose their future, just as they choose their iPod playlists and Facebook friends. Fewer opportunities for people to choose their future.”

Bill Kristol explains the economic-growth outlook in the Obama era: “Can you have a serious recovery when your — when taxes are being raised quite a lot, interest rates are going up, and the regulatory burden’s getting heavier? Those are just facts. I mean, taxes are going up. Interest rates are going up, intermediate and long-term rates, and they’re going to keep on going up because of the deficit. And the regulatory burden is getting heavier. That — I don’t know what economic theory tells you get good growth with those things going on.”

The farce of nuclear disarmament in the Obama era: “Iran said on Sunday it will host a nuclear disarmament conference this month to be attended by China, which has been resisting new sanctions against Tehran over its atomic ambitions. ‘This is an international conference and Iran, which advocates nuclear disarmament, is calling on all nations to disarm,’ Tehran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili told the official IRNA news agency.”

Syria-Israel relations in the Obama era (which look an awful lot like they always have): “A report submitted a few weeks ago to French President Nicolas Sarkozy by two of his top diplomats concludes that there is no chance to renew substantial negotiations between Israel and Syria in the near future, Haaretz has learned. The officials had visited the Middle East recently to investigate the possibility of French mediation between the two countries.” Agreeing to return our ambassador to Damascus apparently accomplished nothing.

Non-leadership on human rights in the Obama era: “Other nations should make clear that Burma would indeed be welcomed back — but only if it frees all political prisoners and ceases its war crimes against national minorities. … Together, these nations could exert real influence. They could tighten financial sanctions to really pinch top leaders and the entities they control; they could push the machinery of the United Nations to investigate the regime’s crimes, such as forced labor and mass rape. Now would be a good moment, in other words, to unite and use the leverage that is lying unused on the table.”

Another competitive Blue State in the Obama era: “As soon as former Maryland governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. announced that he was running for governor, the race was seen by national Republicans as another possible high-profile pickup, a view almost immediately shared by political prognosticators. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report adjusted its rating of the race Thursday from solidly Democratic to one short of ‘Toss Up’ — saying Ehrlich is expected to run a ‘competitive’ contest against Gov. Martin O’Malley (D).”

Another prominent Blue State Democratic governor is in trouble in the Obama era: “Few politicians are as close to Obama as the Massachusetts Democratic governor, or have deeper ties to the president and his core team of advisers. And almost no one faces a tougher re-election battle this year than [Deval] Patrick, whose disapproval ratings would be considered near-terminal if not for the three-way race that he currently finds himself in.”

Not-at-all-smart diplomacy in the Obama era: “Barack Obama is in danger of reversing all the progress his predecessors, including George W. Bush, made in forging closer U.S. ties with India. Preoccupied with China and the Middle East, the Obama administration has allotted little room on its schedule for India, and failed to get much done in the short time it did make. Hosting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the November state visit, the administration managed to produce cordial photo ops, but the agreements reached on education, energy cooperation, and the like dealt with trivia.”

The voice of sanity in the Obama era: “The head of the Senate Homeland Security Committee said Sunday that several domestic threats against the government are “real” but not as great as dangers posed by foreign terrorists. Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) emphasized that the government is taking seriously the arrest of militia members and threats to lawmakers and governors but cautioned that people should not ‘overstate’ them.”

Michael Barone explains young Americans’ economic outlook in the Obama era: “The programs of the Obama administration and the Democratic congressional leadership will increase government’s share of the economy and will tend to choke off private sector economic growth. We’ve already lost 8 million private sector jobs but no public sector jobs. We’ll probably create more public sector jobs. … But a nation with an ever larger public sector and an inhibited-growth private sector is a nation with fewer openings for people who want work that will benefit others. Fewer opportunities for young people who want to choose their future, just as they choose their iPod playlists and Facebook friends. Fewer opportunities for people to choose their future.”

Bill Kristol explains the economic-growth outlook in the Obama era: “Can you have a serious recovery when your — when taxes are being raised quite a lot, interest rates are going up, and the regulatory burden’s getting heavier? Those are just facts. I mean, taxes are going up. Interest rates are going up, intermediate and long-term rates, and they’re going to keep on going up because of the deficit. And the regulatory burden is getting heavier. That — I don’t know what economic theory tells you get good growth with those things going on.”

The farce of nuclear disarmament in the Obama era: “Iran said on Sunday it will host a nuclear disarmament conference this month to be attended by China, which has been resisting new sanctions against Tehran over its atomic ambitions. ‘This is an international conference and Iran, which advocates nuclear disarmament, is calling on all nations to disarm,’ Tehran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili told the official IRNA news agency.”

Syria-Israel relations in the Obama era (which look an awful lot like they always have): “A report submitted a few weeks ago to French President Nicolas Sarkozy by two of his top diplomats concludes that there is no chance to renew substantial negotiations between Israel and Syria in the near future, Haaretz has learned. The officials had visited the Middle East recently to investigate the possibility of French mediation between the two countries.” Agreeing to return our ambassador to Damascus apparently accomplished nothing.

Non-leadership on human rights in the Obama era: “Other nations should make clear that Burma would indeed be welcomed back — but only if it frees all political prisoners and ceases its war crimes against national minorities. … Together, these nations could exert real influence. They could tighten financial sanctions to really pinch top leaders and the entities they control; they could push the machinery of the United Nations to investigate the regime’s crimes, such as forced labor and mass rape. Now would be a good moment, in other words, to unite and use the leverage that is lying unused on the table.”

Another competitive Blue State in the Obama era: “As soon as former Maryland governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. announced that he was running for governor, the race was seen by national Republicans as another possible high-profile pickup, a view almost immediately shared by political prognosticators. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report adjusted its rating of the race Thursday from solidly Democratic to one short of ‘Toss Up’ — saying Ehrlich is expected to run a ‘competitive’ contest against Gov. Martin O’Malley (D).”

Another prominent Blue State Democratic governor is in trouble in the Obama era: “Few politicians are as close to Obama as the Massachusetts Democratic governor, or have deeper ties to the president and his core team of advisers. And almost no one faces a tougher re-election battle this year than [Deval] Patrick, whose disapproval ratings would be considered near-terminal if not for the three-way race that he currently finds himself in.”

Not-at-all-smart diplomacy in the Obama era: “Barack Obama is in danger of reversing all the progress his predecessors, including George W. Bush, made in forging closer U.S. ties with India. Preoccupied with China and the Middle East, the Obama administration has allotted little room on its schedule for India, and failed to get much done in the short time it did make. Hosting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the November state visit, the administration managed to produce cordial photo ops, but the agreements reached on education, energy cooperation, and the like dealt with trivia.”

The voice of sanity in the Obama era: “The head of the Senate Homeland Security Committee said Sunday that several domestic threats against the government are “real” but not as great as dangers posed by foreign terrorists. Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) emphasized that the government is taking seriously the arrest of militia members and threats to lawmakers and governors but cautioned that people should not ‘overstate’ them.”

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Re: You Don’t Have to Be a Harvard Think Tank

As Rick notes, think-tank scholars, international diplomats, and ordinary people can all see that Iran engagement has been a bust. Just as Hillary Clinton was touting Iran engagement — despite its failure to unclench any fists – the Iranian mullahs were delivering another slap in the face of the Obami suitors:

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ordered his country’s atomic agency on Sunday to begin the production of higher enriched uranium, a move that’s likely to deepen international skepticism about the country’s real intentions on the crucial issue of enriched uranium.

While Clinton prattles on about an open door, and the Foggy Bottom spokesmen reference vague consequences to befall the Iranians if they don’t start demonstrating their desire to “join the community of nations” (or something like that), the resident grown-up in the Obama administration, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, was signaling that the jig is up for engagement. (“Speaking to reporters during a weeklong European tour, Mr. Gates said that ‘if the international community will stand together and bring pressure’ on Iran, ‘I believe there is still time for sanctions to work.’”) But even Gibbs is compelled to  parrot the Obama line that those crippling sanctions can’t be too crippling because the Iranian people might get mad at us. (Really, do supporters of the administration’s policy suppose that the democracy advocates marching and dying in the streets have not figured out the source of their oppression?)

The latest development follows only a week after the Iranians were seen trying to lure us back to the bargaining table. Well, never mind that. Another week and another threat:

In what was interpreted to be a possible shift of policy on a major issue, Mr. Ahmadinejad said last week he was ready to export his country’s low-enriched uranium for higher enrichment abroad, saying Iran had “no problem” with the plan. Sunday’s comments, however, appeared to justify the skepticism with which his Tuesday’s comments were met by world leaders.

Mr. Salehi, the head of the Iranian atomic energy agency, later appeared to play down the significance of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s comments. He told the official IRNA news agency the president was giving a “preparedness order” so Iran would be ready to enrich its uranium if the exchange with the West fails to take place.

He said the higher enrichment would be carried out in facilities in the central Iranian town of Natanz.

It takes a lot of foot-dragging and indifference to all available evidence for the Obami to maintain their fixation on negotiation and to delay imposition of any serious sanctions that might impact the regime’s nuclear ambitions. You would think a full month after the self-imposed end-of-year deadline, which followed the self-imposed September deadline, the Obama team would finally get serious. But no.

As a sharp Capitol Hill adviser described Clinton’s embarrassing outing on Sunday: “I’m sure that she has a sure fire containment strategy ready.” That, unfortunately, is where I suspect they are heading — having frittered a year away, whittled down sanctions, and disparaged any military option. After all, Clinton told us the nuclear threat from Iran really isn’t our primary consideration. We’ll see if Obama goes down in history as the president who allowed the revolutionary Islamic regime to go nuclear and who let the Iranian democracy movement die on the vine. Quite a legacy that would be.

As Rick notes, think-tank scholars, international diplomats, and ordinary people can all see that Iran engagement has been a bust. Just as Hillary Clinton was touting Iran engagement — despite its failure to unclench any fists – the Iranian mullahs were delivering another slap in the face of the Obami suitors:

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ordered his country’s atomic agency on Sunday to begin the production of higher enriched uranium, a move that’s likely to deepen international skepticism about the country’s real intentions on the crucial issue of enriched uranium.

While Clinton prattles on about an open door, and the Foggy Bottom spokesmen reference vague consequences to befall the Iranians if they don’t start demonstrating their desire to “join the community of nations” (or something like that), the resident grown-up in the Obama administration, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, was signaling that the jig is up for engagement. (“Speaking to reporters during a weeklong European tour, Mr. Gates said that ‘if the international community will stand together and bring pressure’ on Iran, ‘I believe there is still time for sanctions to work.’”) But even Gibbs is compelled to  parrot the Obama line that those crippling sanctions can’t be too crippling because the Iranian people might get mad at us. (Really, do supporters of the administration’s policy suppose that the democracy advocates marching and dying in the streets have not figured out the source of their oppression?)

The latest development follows only a week after the Iranians were seen trying to lure us back to the bargaining table. Well, never mind that. Another week and another threat:

In what was interpreted to be a possible shift of policy on a major issue, Mr. Ahmadinejad said last week he was ready to export his country’s low-enriched uranium for higher enrichment abroad, saying Iran had “no problem” with the plan. Sunday’s comments, however, appeared to justify the skepticism with which his Tuesday’s comments were met by world leaders.

Mr. Salehi, the head of the Iranian atomic energy agency, later appeared to play down the significance of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s comments. He told the official IRNA news agency the president was giving a “preparedness order” so Iran would be ready to enrich its uranium if the exchange with the West fails to take place.

He said the higher enrichment would be carried out in facilities in the central Iranian town of Natanz.

It takes a lot of foot-dragging and indifference to all available evidence for the Obami to maintain their fixation on negotiation and to delay imposition of any serious sanctions that might impact the regime’s nuclear ambitions. You would think a full month after the self-imposed end-of-year deadline, which followed the self-imposed September deadline, the Obama team would finally get serious. But no.

As a sharp Capitol Hill adviser described Clinton’s embarrassing outing on Sunday: “I’m sure that she has a sure fire containment strategy ready.” That, unfortunately, is where I suspect they are heading — having frittered a year away, whittled down sanctions, and disparaged any military option. After all, Clinton told us the nuclear threat from Iran really isn’t our primary consideration. We’ll see if Obama goes down in history as the president who allowed the revolutionary Islamic regime to go nuclear and who let the Iranian democracy movement die on the vine. Quite a legacy that would be.

Read Less




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