The Punch

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.

4 thoughts on “The Punch

  1. To be fair (and you know how much it pains me to say that, knowing that I’m going to cut BO some slack) Bush did nothing to help the Iranian “Green Movement” or its nascent predecessor, either, and Michael Ledeen will be the first one to tell you that.

    I’m glad you, too, are adopting the “All The Ways to Screw Up” theory of Obama’s incompetence. Lack of will, no clear idea of goals, general boredom with stuff the requires dealing with people who are immune to the charms of The One, and no clue about international affairs (he really isn’t a good advert for an International Relations major, is he? Yet that was trotted out as his “qualification”): all of these are contributing factors to this debacle.

    Mind you, the only thing that will prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power is regime change and that is precisely the thing that Obama will not support in any way. Just yesterday he did his little suck up to the regime by referring to it as “The Islamic Republic of Iran” while protester in the streets of Teheran called there country “The Republic of Iran.” Pathetic.

  2. I agree– his failure to deal with the Iranian situation is one of GW’s most important failures. Why aren’t the protestors in Tehran and other cities armed with AK-47s, anti-tank, and anti-helicopter weapons? We should have been sending them across the border for years.

  3. “Iran is proclaiming that it will launch a devastating punch to the West on Thursday.”

    The day came and went, uneventful. No one turned on the earthquake machine, waves of westerners colored as Na’vi didn’t terror-bomb Haifa. and the Ayatollah didn’t publicly release stacks of counterfeit $100 bills.

  4. Right you are, in a sense– evidently the Iranians have a different concept of “devastating punch.” But they did announce that Iran is now a nuclear power. 20% enrichment isn’t yet at weapons grade, but getting from there to weapons grade is primarily a matter of scale. The needed technical breakthroughs have been accomplished.

    What does this mean? Essentially, that Iran is going to have nuclear weapons within a relatively short time. It’s a slap against Obama, Western Europe, and anyone else who thought that a policy of engagement could talk the mullahs out of pursuing their nuclear ambitions. A slap falls short of a punch. But it indicates that a punch is coming.

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