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An Example Of Why I Consider The Obama Administraion “Naive”

For once, Joe Biden was right – he prophesied that within 6 months of taking office Barack Obama would be tested on the world stage.

Well, we’re a bit early, but thus for his performance has been underwhelming as it pertains to Iran. Even Biden and Hillary Clinton want to see a stronger response.

Instead we got silence, then a mealy-mouthed response and recently a bit stronger but still using language that vaguely supports the Iranian regime.

Today the House and Senate passed resolutions concerning Iran.

The Senate version “”condemns the ongoing violence against demonstrators by the Government of Iran and pro-government militias, as well as the ongoing government suppression of independent electronic communication through interference with the Internet and cellphones.”

It seems the House version now sounds like the Senate version, because apparently the White House was not pleased with the original version of the House resolution (it was too strongly worded for their taste), and helped the House “tone down” the resolution.  Robert Gibbs then said the resolutions were consistent with the administration.

The reason?

“We made it clear that we didn’t want to make the U.S. a foil in a debate that has nothing to do with us,” a senior administration told me this morning. “This is a debate among Iranians.”

The dangerous naivete? The belief that a totalitarian regime that has made the US their “foil” for 30 years wouldn’t do it at the drop of a hat when there was trouble?

And guess what?  They have.

So the US has silenced itself based on the false presumption that Iran would only blame them for meddling if we said something.

Naive. Dangerous. And a sure way to loose any moral leverage in any future negotiations should the regime survive tomorrow.


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35 Responses to An Example Of Why I Consider The Obama Administraion “Naive”

  • This is the naivete that is pathological among “liberals”, leftists, anti-Americans, anti-interventionists, anti-Zionists, and assorted apologists. They cling to the delusion that if we don’t do anything to anger extremists or totalitarian governments they will leave us alone. Or that they have a justified rage for our imagined transgressions. All of it is utter bunk, of course, and it makes them (the espousers of this flaw thinking) enablers of ideologies and governments that are inherently antithetical to our liberal principles.

  • Is this the same Iranian govt that MK spent years telling us was strengthened beyond all belief by what we did in Iraq?

  • Calling Obama “naive” is being rather kind.

  • I’m not a big Obama fan but; it is obvious that the regime is trying to blame it on outsiders, primaly the US. It is their MO. When ever things get dicy the blame false on to the Big Satan, with a measure thrown in for the Little Satan.  But the reall question is will the majority of  Irianians belive the sales job. Why provide them any assistance doing this? It is not like a statement of strong support will keep the regeim from doing what it considers necessary, to preserve itself, irregaurdless of our outrage and expressions of same.

    • As you point out, it doesn’t matter what we say, the blame is already scripted into the regime response (whether we say anything or not). So we may as well say what we believe. It is naive to believe remaining silent is going to change anything.

  • Some nostalgics of the former administration still view Obama through the lens of Cheney/Bush and their cowboy diplomacy. What did we gain from that reckless,unimaginative, simplistic and reductionist diplomatic approach that is so appealing to the right? We gained the worst attack on American soil. We gained a more potent adversary in North Korea. We emboldened (not weakened!) Iran not only in its staunch pursuit of nuclear technology, but also as a power player in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East. We sacrificed over 4000 young American lives full of promises to satisfy the megalomaniacal tendencies of Machiavellian duo, caused tens of thousands to be maimed or irremediably injured. We rallied the Muslim world against our interests. We rekindled leftist ideologies, socialist fervor all over the world, as evidenced by elections all over the world safe for a few exceptions. China has acquired its “lettre de noblesse” in military space technology. That’s the legacy of the past eight years, about which some folk are nostalgic about.

    If Obama is being tested by the events in Iran, he is handling the test superbly well. I appreciate his measured, calm, thoughtful approach. The best way to botch the popular action that is taking place in Iran would be for America, with its history of meddling into the intestine affairs of other states, to proffer fiery and opportunistic statements along the line of the “axis of evil” rhetoric. Make no mistake about it, this movement is above all a nationalistic one that doesn’t need outside interference. We should not try to claim paternity over this internal show of force by the Iranian people. Let it play out. The era of cowboy boot diplomacy is over. The Iranian regime needs a scapegoat to crack down on the movement; and they hope to find it in the “Great Satan”. Let’s be smart.

    If anything, Obama should be credited for that popular effervescence. A year ago, scenes like this would be inconceivable. A month ago, inimaginable… until Obama’s fatidic speech in Cairo. That was the game changer. Call it naivete, if you will. By the way, wasn’t it one of the epithets or campaign slogans that miserably failed last fall. Hmm!!!

    Etzer Cantave (

    • —-We gained a more potent adversary in North Korea—-

      Well, that came before Bush took office, we just didn’t notice it.

      —-China has acquired its “lettre de noblesse” in military space technology.—-

      Exactly how did Bush’s “cowboy diplomacy” have anything to do with this? Is it your position that our State Department is responsible for not letting China explore space?

      —-If anything, Obama should be credited for that popular effervescence. A year ago, scenes like this would be inconceivable. A month ago, inimaginable… until Obama’s fatidic speech in Cairo.—-

      Holy cow, have you never heard of a post hoc fallacy?

  • “We sacrificed over 4000 young American lives full of promises to satisfy the megalomaniacal tendencies of Machiavellian duo, caused tens of thousands to be maimed or irremediably injured.”…

    Such partisan shallowness, here are a few reminders for you.

    If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction program.
    – President Bill Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998
    Iraq is a long way from (the United States), but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face.
    – Madeline Albright, Feb 18, 1998
    He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has 10 times since 1983.
    – Sandy Berger, Clinton’s national security adviser, Feb. 18, 1998
    (We) urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq’s refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs.
    – Oct. 9, 1998, letter to President Clinton signed by Sens. Carl Levin, Tom Daschle, John Kerry and others
    Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology, which is a threat to countries in the region, and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process.
    – Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Dec. 16, 1998
    Hussein has … chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies.
    – Madeline Albright, Clinton’s Secretary of State, Nov. 10, 1999
    There is no doubt that … Saddam Hussein has invigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status.
    – Dec. 5, 2001, letter to President Bush, signed by Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla. and others
    We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country. Iraq’s search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power.
    – Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002
    We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction.
    – Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., Sept. 27, 2002
    I will be voting to give the president of the United States the authority to use force – if necessary – to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security.
    – Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., Oct. 9, 2002

    • I fail to see the point of your recitation of past facts. Is it to argue that the Bush/Cheney foolhardy adventure in Iraq was worth the sacrifices in blood, treasure, and reputation we endured? For what those pointed remarks are worth, I don’t see anyone advocating a full-scale invasion of that country. At best, they seemed to endorse punctual surgical operations. I feel the litany of diplomatic actions, posturing and pressuring you cited, exonerates my view that war should not be waged casually, based on flimsy evidence, gratuitous innuendos, whims or gut feeling… Four thousand plus American lives, twenty plus thousand severely wounded compatriots, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis’, $1 trillion in treasury—portion of which filled the pockets of cronies such as Halliburton & Co., that is what this blunder cost us under the Bush/Cheney tandem. What are not quantifiable and might even cost more, though, are the intangibles—loss of credibility around the world, radicalization of a growing sector of the international opinion, the distrust of our traditional allies, the resurgence of nationalistic feelings ill-disposed to our interests.

      No one disputes that Saddam was an awful character, who deserved the wrath of the international community. So was Kim Jon Il of North Korea. The Asian leader was not just suspected of developing weapons of mass destruction. At the time of the run-up to the Iraq War, he was known to possess them; and he bragged about it. Allies of ours—South Korea and Japan— as well as 40,000 of our troops were directly exposed to those weapons. Why did we not mount an offensive against North Korea? Oh! I see: Kim Jon Il had no connection to 911, but Saddam did… Right!

  • What did we gain from that reckless,unimaginative, simplistic and reductionist diplomatic approach that is so appealing to the right? We gained the worst attack on American soil.
    You do realize that 9/11 was already in motion before Bush/Cheney took office right?  So what you are saying is that it was Clinton/Gore who brought on this attack.  But i understand how you could come to this conclusion, if i didn’t know anything about military planning and operations i would use a simple timeline association as well.  It’s ok no need to feel bad about your mistake, not everybody the instestinal fortitude to do what it takes to gain such knowledge, after all somebody has to take all those liberal arts classes. Right?

    • Let me see if I get it. Should a man-made calamity (terrorist act) strike us at this moment, Obama should blame it on Bush? Right? How about three months from now? Still Bush, right? So, at what point should a sitting president take responsibility for actions that occur on his/her watch?

      The argument that 9/11 could or should be blamed on Clinton is ludicrous. Bush/Cheney dropped the ball in September 2001. They wish they could take it back. For them, the Bush/Cheney era started on September 12, 2001. As they say, failure is an orphan.

  • “Make no mistake about it, this movement is above all a nationalistic one that doesn’t need outside interference. We should not try to claim paternity over this internal show of force by the Iranian people.”
    A full four sentences later:
    “If anything, Obama should be credited for that popular effervescence. A year ago, scenes like this would be inconceivable. A month ago, inimaginable… until Obama’s fatidic speech in Cairo. That was the game changer.”
    You don’t beleive yourself, hopefully no one else is foolish enough to listen to you either.

    • Heh … yeah, it was the Cairo speech that did it – not the opposition movement that has been building for decades in Iran and finally was spurred into protest by an obviously rigged election.

      I love lectures that are based on some fantasy which only exist between the ears of the lecturer, don’t you?

      • As they say, timing is everything. The timing of the Cairo speech might not be fortuitous–a week or so before the elections. Let’s recall that up that point, Ahmadinejad was leading in the polls by a large margin. I grant you that social discontent has been brewing inside Iran for a long time, that conditions were ripe for the change agents to challenge the status quo. Yet, as in chemistry (at least from what I remember from my chemistry classes), a catalyst is often needed to spur certain elements into a chemical reaction. The speech may just have served as a catalyst that urged on the dissenting forces inside Iran to take action. What also helped was the hastive communique of the Interior Ministry sealing Ahmadinejad’s so-called landslide victory. One thing is certain. Once the reaction is in play,it takes a life of its own; it doesn’t need more of the catalyst. Injecting more of the catalyst may even be counter-productive. I hope this analogy makes the point for a tactful handling of the political unrest in Iran.

  • Etzer:

    The 9/11 attack: 

    The muslims have been waging war on the West for 1200 years.  The Ottoman Turks fought against us in WWI.  Radical islam supported the Nazis in WWII.

    The sleeper cells were in place when Bush took office.  Jamie Gerelick put a wall between the FBI and the CIA, neither agency could connect the dots.  If Richard Clarke knew so much, why didn’t he pop Osama on Clinton’s watch? 

    Relatively speaking, our losses have been light.  In Vietnam, a war of similar duration, we had 58,249 dead. 

    If “caused tens of thousands to be maimed or irremediably injured” refers to al Qaeda, Baathist or Mahdi IEDs or attacks without regard for their own civilians, why is that our fault?

    Call it “coyboy diplomacy” if you like, but it kept us from being attacked again.  We will see if “home boy” diplomacy can do as well.

    About North Korea: 

    Madeline Albright cut a deal with Kim Jong Il including $4B and a nuclear power plant in exchange for shutting down his nuke weapons program.  Clinton was unaware of North Korean non-compliance. 

    We could have hit them, but the South Koreans did not want us to attack.  Neither did the democrats, the Chinese, the Russians, or the Japanese.  What would be the price of an attack? War on the Korean Peninsula?  War with China? North Korea has 1,000,000 special forces.  Our presence is 50,000 troops.  Eisenhower was right when he told Kennedy to avoid a land war in Asia.

    What is likely to happen is that the South Koreans, the Japanese and the Taiwanese will go nuclear.  The Japanese already have every thing they need.  If they decided to do it, they could detonate a device in weeks. It would take the others 6 months.  The big loser would, of course, be China. 

    Is Obama still going to scale back or cancel missile defense?

    • Your argumentation is factual and lends itseld to an enjoyable read. I don’t take issue with the facts, but rather with the interpretation of the facts. I don’t feel we are drastically far apart.

      Where you lost me, though, is when you say “Relatively speaking, our losses have been light. In Vietnam, a war of similar duration, we had 58,249 dead.”

      To me, the Iraq war stands alone in American History as a gratuitous act of demented proportions. Regarding Vietnam, as ill-advised as it was, strategic grounds could be invoked for fighting that bloody war–cold war, hegemonic implications… As for Iraq, I still cannot fathom why we invaded that country. It was a war of convenience. A war of commodity. Or, rather, a war over a commodity. Oil. Any death in Iraq is one too many!

  • Obama overheard talking to the bullies when he was in elementary school: “Damn it man, I give you my lunch money, let you beat the tar out of me before and after school, and allow you to spit on me in class, steal my homework, molest my girlfriend and tag my parents house. What more can I possibly do so you’ll like me?”
    Too bad Barry never learned that bullies never “like,” they only respect. And for that, you have to own a pair, not marry a Klingon who wears them for you.

  • Now it appears they are doing their best to cling to … George Bush …
    Bush’s silence has made it harder for Obama to keep the public focused on Bush as being responsible for our present difficulties — the weak economy, the unsettled wars, the scandals of Guantanamo and the detainee program.
    It is not for lack of trying. Obama regularly reminds the public in his speeches and news conferences of all the problems he inherited from his predecessor. But to reporters covering the White House, those reminders have become familiar boilerplate. And since Bush won’t fight back, they rarely get much coverage.

  • Naive. Dangerous. And a sure way to loose any moral leverage in any future negotiations should the regime survive tomorrow

    Agreement, Bruce, and in more than just this; As they used to say in Chicago… the whole world is watching. Only this time, they really ARE.


  • Neo:
    There’s something else along those lines that I’ve noticed, as well.  The one thing that Mr. Bush is not getting credit for, is the desire on the part of the Iranian people for freedom.  Are we really to believe that in Iran is so isolated from the goings on in Iraq and Afghanistan? are we really to believe that the people in Iran have not seen what’s been going on in those other two countries?  Are we really to believe that their government’s attempts at isolating them from the remainder of the world has been so effective that they don’t understand that Hamas just got through being booted out of Lebanon?
    I’m going to suggest to you that all of this started with the actions of Mr. Bush in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The genie is out of the bottle now, and will not go back in willingly.  And yet we have Mr. Obama essentially holding his silence?  It wouldn’t take a great deal of additional cynicism about Democrats in general and Obama in particular on my part to come to the conclusion that the reason that we’re going to see an entire generation of Iranian revolutionaries washed away by Islamist thugs with nary a word from the white house is because the democrats still can’t get over their Bush derangement syndrome. After all, what would the legacy of Bush be particularly as regards foreign policy, if it increased degree of freedom takes hold in Iran Iraq and Afghanistan due to his efforts?
    I’ve been downright brutal on George Bush occasionally, as the situation warranted it.  As I have been saying since 2000, however, his actions in iraq are not among those situations.

  • The situation in Iran isn’t going to do anything except get worse, no matter what happens.

    Our one strategic objective there should be to end the nuclear program.

    Preventing meddling in Iraq is tactical military and regional political business.

    Stopping the outsourcing of terrorism to Hezbollah and Hamas is regional. Israel has the lead there because it is the main target.

    The nuclear program is strategic. The Russians are as much the problem, in that matter, as the Iranians.

    There is not going to be any democracy in Iran, and it’s not clear that democracy could solve Iran’s problems. In Iraq, you had the U.S. military presence to steady the balance on the way through a transition from a state of nature to a new civil society. There isn’t going to be a U.S. military presence in Iran.

    Iran is a disintegrating society, with years, decades, maybe centuries of abject turmoil ahead.

  • Now that i think about i don’t think he’s being naive but that’s he’s protecting his position of “diplomacy trumps all”.
    If he does more than condemn the violense he risks emboldening the people of Iran and possibly causing a revolt.  If the people of Iran mustered the will and force required to actually overthrow the current regime it would completely undermine Obama’s stance that olive branches and long drawn out diplomatic talks is the solution to all our foreign relations issues.
    By maintaining his current level of rhetoric he is only viewed as being weak but it leaves him the opportunity to prove that diplomacy is best and most effecient solution for dealing with Iran.
    I think obama believes that Iran is the only one he can possibly win over with diplomacy.  I think even obama knows that kim jong il is to schizophrenic to talk into submission.  Losing Iran would force him to deal with NK who i believe will only respond to the threat of violence.

  • Is this the new Otto Scerb?  REally I can’t tell the difference between leftish cant and LOL parody anymore

  • Iran is a disintegrating society, with years, decades, maybe centuries of abject turmoil ahead.

    No disagreement here, Martin.
    What concerns me is the image that we project, both to the countries in the middle east, and the remainder of the world with this inaction…. this cowardly silence from Obama.
    Understand me; I have no doubts in my mind at all that this current Iranian regime is going to implode , eventually.  Whether that is short term, or long-term doesn’t matter to the final outcome.  It’s days are already numbered, and they know it, hence their actions against their own people.
    The question before us, as far as I can see regardless of when that implosion happens, is how the actions of the United States will be perceived afterward… not only with the Iranians, but the remainder of the world.  Frankly, I don’t see that image being a positive one based on Obama’s inaction. I do see that the people fighting and dying in the streets of Iran as this is written and those supporting freedom around the world, including other hotspots in the middle east, are going to remember who their friends were and were not when the battle is finally won.  They will remember the country who promised them over a period of decades that they would “pay any price, bear any burden” for the advancement of freedom, and then shirked from even giving verbal moral support, when the time finally came.  Broken promises, you see, have a tendency to haunt relationships.  Even those of an international nature.

  • “Or, rather, a war over a commodity. Oil.”
    If your claim were true, we’d have been pumping a lot more oil by now. We’d have kept the oil fields for ourselves, instead of handing them over to what isn’t exactly a puppet government.
    If your claim were true that it was about oil, it would have been cheaper to bribe Saddam to play nice.
    Believe whatever else you’d like, but “We wanted the oil” never washed.

  • EC:
    I fought in Vietnam.  It was a very bloody conflict when compared with the war we fought in Iraq and the one we are still fighting in Afghanistan.  In terms of KIA, Vietnam was 14 times as deadly as is the Middle East; wounded, about 10 times as bloody as the current conflicts.   Credit American technology, superb training and a highly intelligent, professional, all volunteer force. Today’s guys are better than we were.
    We went to war in Iraq because we had credible intelligence that Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction (WMD) which threatened a vital area of the world.  Virtually every Western intelligence service confirmed our data.  WMD include nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.  In my 20 year USAF career, I found that 80% of intel data is accurate and 20% is not.  There are two questions about taking action.  (1) Is the information accurate?  and (2) What are the potential consequences of action and inaction?
    Nuclear Weapons.  I know how nuclear weapons work.  Their development is not a trivial task. Saddam had people working with the A.Q. Khan network, the Pakistani scientist whose designs were the basis for programs in North Korea and Libya. Saddam’s chief nuclear weapon scientist defected to the U.S. and now lives in Washington, DC. Iraqi agents had established a “special trade relationship” with the government of Niger.  The only commodity of use to Iraq was uranium hexaflouride, an essential component in the enrichment process.  The obviously bogus messages were sent to discredit the real ones.  While our forces did not find nuclear materials in Iraq, their absence is no evidence that a development effort did not exist.  The conventional wisdom says that Saddam moved the program records and equipment to Syria just before we invaded.
    Chemical Weapons.  Saddam used poison gas on the Kurds and the Iranians.  We found 500 mustard gas artillery shells, but no large stocks of VX or Sarin.  During the war, our troops had numerous sniffer alarms indicating trace amounts of nerve agents. Of course, gassing the Kurds got Saddam hanged.
    Biological Weapons.  Iraq’s biological weapons program was in the research stage.  These agents are notoriously difficult to store, weaponize and deliver.
    We did not have information of an Iraqi-al Qaeda connection until very recently.
    Preemptive war is justifiable just as is personal defense.  If someone points a weapon at you, don’t wait until he pulls the trigger.  Allowing Saddam to obtain WMD in direct defiance of 14 UN Security Council resolutions and use them to threaten the stability of the Middle East was the equivalent of pointing a weapon.  We could not afford to wait.

  • Sorry about the paragraphs running together.  Next time I’ll double space.

  • You are the naive one, McQ.  You have fallen to the illusion that somehow rhetoric from the US President can matter here, you don’t understand that it is not something the Iranian protesters want from us, and that a “talk loudly but carry a soft stick” (which is all we have beyond rhetoric as pertains to Iran) is a path for disaster.  In short, I don’t think you understand how foreign policy functions.   Obama is right on Iran.    In fact, he’s showing strength by refusing to do the cheap and easy thing of giving tough rhetoric for consumption at home, which would give aide and comfort to the Iranian regime.  They want tough talk from the US, George Bush’s wild rhetoric gave them cover for their crack down and inspired anti-Americanism (and don’t be fooled —  the protesters are not the majority, anti-Americanism can still gain a lot of support for the hardliners!)   The moderates have said they don’t want us to intervene or engage in cheap tough talk.
    Like too many pundits, you seem to over estimate the importance of rhetoric, and under estimate the negative consequences of talking loudly if you don’t have a stick to back it up.  That’s why pundits usually do not do foreign policy well.

  • Finally, Erb is talking about something about which he has some experience – Soft sticks.

  • You are the naive one, McQ.

    Bruce is many things, Erb. You’ll see he and I come to verbal jousting at whiles. But when I see you trying to hang this label on him, it’s the best indicator I can think of that he… and by extension, myself, are correct, given our fairly similar positions on this topic.

    I don’t think you understand how foreign policy functions.

    Tell us, what has the left’s devotion to ‘negotiation’ ever gotten us against Islamic hardliners?

    (and don’t be fooled –  the protesters are not the majority,

    You speak that as if it were a fervent hope. I can’t say I’m surprised.

  • “Some nostalgics of the former administration still view Obama through the lens of Cheney/Bush and their cowboy diplomacy. What did we gain from that reckless,unimaginative, simplistic and reductionist diplomatic approach that is so appealing to the right? We gained the worst attack on American soil.”
    What the hell are you talking about?  Are you actually insane enough to think that Bush’s so-called cowboy diplomacy somehow caused 9/11?  That was already in the works before he even took office you fu*king moonbat.  It’s too bad that Clinton couldn’t ever manage to cowboy up any of the times he had the chance to do something about Bin Laden… that is how we ended up with the worst attack on US soil.

  • if the political culture forbids respectable politicians from raising certain issues, then the electorate will turn to unrespectable ones

  • “Or, rather, a war over a commodity. Oil.” It would have been much less expensive in lives and dollars to simply buy whatever oil we need.