Commentary Magazine


Will Obama Endanger Navy for Sake of Deal?

Secretary of State John Kerry announced that international negotiators would likely miss their political deadline to conclude a nuclear agreement by midnight in Washington, DC. With Kerry and his team having collapsed on almost every red line they previously laid out — allowing Iran more centrifuges than Pakistan had when it developed its nuclear arsenal; allowing Iran to keep its fortified, underground plant at Fordo; compromising on anytime, anywhere inspections; allowing Iran a plutonium path; and forcing Iran to come clean on its previous work on the military dimensions of a nuclear program—what is now holding up the agreement is reportedly Iran’s demand that sanctions on its ballistic missile program and arms exports be lifted.

In order to defend itself against charges that it was not doing enough to address other Iranian bad behavior — its holding of four American hostages, its support for terrorism, its support for Bashar al-Assad’s murderous regime, its gross violations of human rights — numerous Obama administration officials have repeatedly explained that they were limiting the talks with Iran to just the nuclear portfolio. That Iran is now holding the deal hostage in order to advance its ballistic missile program and ensure its ability to export weapons shows that Tehran is not approaching the deal from the same baseline. For Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani, national interest is paramount; for President Obama, philosophy is.

Given both President Obama’s quest for a legacy and Kerry’s previous poor negotiating prowess, it is hard to believe that they will hold firm if the only thing preventing their deal with Iran was the extent to which Iran could develop ballistic missile technology (or satellite launchers, as the Iranian press often calls them) or export weaponry to their groups and proxies in what they increasingly refer to in Persian as the “Axis of Resistance,” which comprises Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.

Let us hope that Kerry and his team do hold firm, though. Over recent weeks, Bahraini authorities have intercepted an Iranian weapons shipment meant to take the low-grade protest campaigns by the Bahraini Shi‘ite opposition and Saudi Shi‘ites to a new level. During the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah War, Hezbollah crippled an Israeli ship with an Iranian-made C-802 missile. Hezbollah has since bragged both about restocking and upgrading its missile arsenal and about developing an underwater sabotage capability. The Houthis in Yemen, meanwhile, have not only allowed the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to transform them into an Iranian proxy, but they have also seized territory along the southeastern Yemeni coast, thereby endangering shipping through the Bab al-Mandab. In addition, the windfall the Obama administration is prepared to allow Tehran to go on a veritable shopping spree with not only Russia and China, but also perhaps even North Korea, France, and Germany.

Who will be most vulnerable to this Iranian military build-up? Well, certainly ordinary Syrian citizens who are already suffering between the twin evils of the Assad regime and the Islamic State. But also the U.S. Navy. Khamenei has repeatedly demanded that U.S. forces leave the Persian Gulf, international waters be damned. And contrary to left-wing political activist turned Washington Post correspondent Ishaan Tharoor, the Iranian regime does subscribe to a notion of “Iranzamin” or “Greater Iran” based on the Persian Empire’s historical legacy. This will put Iran and the U.S. Navy on a collision course. That might be inevitable, but allowing Iran to equip itself with sophisticated missiles and weaponry that might have a higher chance to penetrate American defenses, that is unconscionable. Let Obama be a neighborhood organizer for the world after his term ends; while he is in the White House his chief job is to protect Americans lives, livelihood, and security.

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6 Responses to “Will Obama Endanger Navy for Sake of Deal?”


    Obama has never put the military first. He talks a good game but his actions speak louder than his words.

  2. LAURA FINSTEN says:

    “allowing Iran to equip itself with sophisticated missiles and weaponry that might have a higher chance to penetrate American defenses, that is unconscionable.”

    Why do you think that Obama thinks the American Navy should be anywhere near that neighborhood? Once the war between Iran and the Sunni states he’s fueling breaks out…

  3. CARL SESAR says:

    So, if “while he [Obama] is in the White House his chief job is to protect American lives, livelihood, and security,” and while there he acts assiduously ever and always to endanger American lives, livelihood, and security instead, wouldn’t that make him a traitor? Or is Obama just a misguided innocent?


    The Obama negotiations for an Iran deal are tragic on a wide scale of harm, and prose fails–even the finely detailed observations of an Omri Ceren, or a Rick Richman or yourself–to lampoon or excoriate them well given that the last time the Western world could have avoided appeasing such wicked and opportunistic men, 10s of millions died in a World War… the reprise here is near certain.

    One of your favorite points from other articles has been the need to go through a post mortem on bad strategies to learn from them the way the Armed Services do from lost battles. In the diplomatic field, you’ve said, this is a non-starter for inclusion into common practice.

    Today I’ve heard one of these alarming factors about the Iran deal that has not been aired enough (at least, by me to see) in the general free flow in the Press on the Right… namely, that the Rockefeller Foundation and its allied think tanks and former government officials have been proselytizing for the Iran deal we’re witnessing for well over 10 years, since well before the Obama Administration. This might account for the surreal quality of the diplomats scurrying between postcard-worthy venues to nail down the West’s abnegation of responsibility, and why they seem so driven to do wrong. Surely they follow President Obama’s ukases on their tasks out of a desire to keep their vocational standing, but there does not seem to be a strong bone of dissent or second thoughts about what they’re doing.

    So, aside from the desire to pad their CVs with a bullet point about bringing in the rogues from the cold (your theme yesterday), it seems a whole other wing of diplomacy outside the State Department, with its own substantial funds for lobbying governments and applying pressure, has been working hard to keep these diplomats’ noses to the appeasement grindstone.

    It would be nice of you, if you would, to talk about the ability of non-state actors applying pressure to nations to implement bad policy for the sake of the rogues. This seems like an area that is part and parcel of your Dancing With The Devil theme, but has been missing from the description of the Iran deal.

    And for some reason, I can’t say why, I feel especially sure a lot of this unseen diplomacy is directed against Israel. But I’m sure that’s my fevered imagination.


    None of this would have happened, none of this, had you and the Conservative media exposed Obama for what he was, which YOU ALREADY KNEW IN 2007.

    You, and the members of the Conservative media, will live with this personal shame and professional stain for the rest of your lives–the only available punishment, but a condign one.


    Obama is a President who does not do his job, period. He is adhering to the U.S.’s enemies, giving them both aid and comfort.

    Obama said early on that he does not believe in American exceptionalism. A President’s job is to advocate and press his own country’s interest, not that of other countries, or the world. He is deliberately falling down on the job.

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