On what is quickly becoming the most interesting Sunday interview program, CNN’s State of the Union, Candy Crowley (who last week tied Hillary Clinton up on the same topic) lured NSA chief James Jones into a corner regarding the administration’s policy on Iran (or lack thereof), from which he never escaped. The sequence on Iran should be read in full to appreciate just how pathetic was Jones’s performance:
CROWLEY: Let me ask you about Iran. The president said recently the door is still open toward negotiations. I believe you made a similar statement in December. Why is the door still open? We have spent a year with overtures to Iran. The last time we heard, they were still moving towards nuclear armed capabilities. Why in the world would the door still be open?
JONES: Well, the best solution is that Iran would in fact see the offer that’s on the table for what it is, that is supported by much of the world community, and that it gives them a chance to show their peaceful intent with the regard to the use of nuclear power.
It is puzzling, to say the least, as to why they have not accepted this offer. I know that Iran is going through some difficult times internally. We know that the world is moving towards the next set of persuasive powers to show them the error of their ways in the form of sanctions, and — but the right thing to do is to hope that Iran will, in fact, agree.
CROWLEY: But they haven’t.
JONES: They haven’t.
CROWLEY: Right. They haven’t done it. Is China on board, is Russia on board right now?
JONES: We have extremely good overall support in Europe, in the Middle East.
JONES: And with the Russian — with the Russians. And China is obviously is a rising power and a power with global influence. Has been extremely good with us in terms of North Korea in terms of sanctions. This is a–
CROWLEY: But not on board there.
JONES: — same kind of issue, it’s proliferation, and I would have to think that as a responsible world power, that China will see — apply the same standards on proliferation in the Middle East–
CROWLEY: But they are not there yet on Iran?
JONES: But we are working with them.
Is he serious? He is puzzled, he says, as to why Iran has not leapt at our offer to give up its nukes and forgo the shot at regional hegemony. We don’t have China or Russia on board, although we were promised that they would be if we spent a year engaging the mullahs, who, to the Obami’s apparent surprise, don’t want to be engaged. All Jones can lamely offer is that we are moving toward sanctions. When? Of what sort? He doesn’t say.
It is not a performance that inspires any confidence that the Obami have figured out the folly of engagement. There is no inkling, no hint of understanding, that the problem here is the nature of the Iranian regime or that our energies and those sanctions, when and if they ever come, should be directed not to lure the Iranians back to the table for more tomfoolery but rather toward toppling the despotic regime. There is no puzzle here. Nor is there any doubt that the Obama Iran policy is neither smart nor realistic. It is, however, quite dangerous. The mullahs listen, take our measure, and move ahead with their nuclear program.