Word has been bubbling from a Ha’aretz story that Dennis Ross may be on the way out as special envoy to Iran. Marty Peretz (who finds Bibi Netanyahu’s speech as compelling as I do and who seems to have figured out the administration wasn’t what he imagined it would be) writes:
The story seems to assume that Ross was declared persona non grata by Tehran either because he was a Jew or because he believes that Iran should not be permitted to acquire nuclear weapons. If the Obama administration so readily capitulated to Dr. Ahmadinejad’s masters or minions, there’s another reason to be worried about its seriousness in this very serious encounter between antagonists. No, we are actually enemies.
To have crumbled precisely while the regime of the ayatollahs is facing a real crisis of confidence at home and something of a challenge to its legitimacy abroad is, well, just that: crumbling. It certainly does not testify to American resilience, even diplomatically. My instinct here is that the president and Mrs. Clinton are so eager to engage–engage even for its own sake–that they’ll do anything to please the other. This does not come as a result of analysis. It is, I am sorry to say, a predicated formula.
Well, yes, that was the concern in conservative quarters since Obama started running for office. And his persona since taking office as the Great Mediator between U.S. interests and those of our enemies suggests he really isn’t very comfortable in the role as U.S. advocate, which necessitates, when appropriate, confronting our adversaries. At times like this you wish the desperation were not so apparent and there were more willingness to, if not stand tall, at least not give away all pretense that you might do so.
This is in many respects a defining moment for the Obama presidency. As they used to say, the whole world is watching — both events in Iran and the reaction in Washington. Let’s hope we see not a crumbling, but a restoration of American will, determination, and renewed understanding that evil can not be engaged, only opposed.