Iran is proclaiming that it will launch a devastating punch to the West on Thursday. Michael Ledeen contemplates what it might be—stressing the possibility of an internal crackdown—while Richard Fernandez reflects on the utter failure of Obama’s diplomatic efforts to stop Iran from seeking nuclear weapons. He summarizes:
In summary, the curtain rises on a scene where 1) Barack Obama has failed to contain Iranian nuclear ambitions; 2) Iran is in a state of turmoil; 3) regional conditions are at a heightened state of tension which even the Europeans are now alive to. But crucially these events are taking place at a time when Washington has paralyzed itself through incompetence so great that even liberals are calling for the dismissal of Barack Obama’s Chicago crew….
The cumulative result of conditions means that whatever punch the Iranians intend to announce today that Washington is leading with it’s chin. It has thrown away every strength and magnified every weakness. It is an extraordinarily inept performance by a small group of men who have so far failed to show they are worthy of the great responsibility entrusted in them. Sometimes the quality of leadership goes beyond the ability to speak mellifluous phrases. It requires the ability to think clearly and act decisively.
It’s hard for me to imagine that anyone in the Obama administration was foolish enough to think that diplomacy and engagement could prevent Iran from obtaining the bomb. Perhaps they were. More likely they’ve been willing to accept it from the beginning, never really meaning to do anything to hinder Iranian efforts. Fernandez comments:
All the attempts to sweet-talk Teheran failed dismally. They fed Lebanon to Syria or at least withdrew so much support as to make it inevitable to “peel Syria off Iran”. Result: nothing.
They announced a timetable for withdrawal in Iraq supposedly as part of a “grand bargain” in the region. Remember that phrase, “grand bargain”? Result: nothing.
The administration held back on supporting the Iranian protesters to avoid irking Teheran. Result: nothing.
The administration released the IRG guys accused of killing Americans as a gesture of goodwill. Result: nothing.
Now, at the 59th minute of the 11th hour, they are talking about restarting the sanctions processing. This after ticking of China gratuitously over marginal issues like “climate change”. The result will be nothing as well.
So it isn’t entirely a question of wanting to do more than America can achieve; it is whether or not the current administration has the ability to carry out the feasible. The perfectly possible becomes unattainable in the hands of the incompetent.
The incompetence of the administration becomes plainer with each passing day. In this case, however, it isn’t just incompetence. Either Obama and his team wanted Iran to have nukes, or they have an almost unbelievably unrealistic picture of international affairs. Or, quite possibly, both. You don’t talk power-hungry madmen out of their positions of power without force to back up your words. Obama has made it clear he has no intention of using force. Even his words have been conciliatory. He’s been signaling weakness to every bully on the planet, while pushing away our allies. Nothing good can come from that.
I don’t know what the Iranians have in mind. We won’t have to wait very long to find out. Sooner or later, their plan to is cause mayhem. That makes the probability of mayhem very high indeed.