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Iran: Foreign Policy Naivete Yielding To Reality?

Apparently “engagement”, at least when it comes to Iran, seems to be headed to the scrap heap of foreign policy ideas. That’s primarily because such a policy requires both sides to be willing to engage, something many experts tried to point out that Iran has never shown any willingness to do in the past. Candidate Obama wanted to point the finger of failure at the previous administration. But his administration has fared no better. Now, it appears, that administration has finally realized confrontation with Iran serves it best:

Ray Takeyh, a former Iran adviser to the Obama administration, said administration officials were learning from experience.

“There was a thesis a year ago that the differences between the United States and Iran was subject to diplomatic mediation, that they could find areas of common experience, that we were ready to have a dialogue with each other,” Mr. Takeyh said, but “those anticipations discounted the extent how the Iranian theocracy views engagement with the United States as a threat to its ideological identity.”

That’s not to say the spin factory in the White House isn’t trying to claim it’s failure to engage Iran isn’t a “success”:

Instead, administration officials say, the biggest benefit of Mr. Obama’s engagement policy now is not dialogue or understanding with adversaries, but simply a defusing of a worldwide view that the United States is part of the problem, a demonstration that the problem is Tehran’s intransigence, not Washington’s pique.

“What the president has achieved is that he has outed Iran,” a senior administration official said Friday. He said Iran, by refusing to respond positively, had exposed itself as uninterested in a better relationship with the United States.

They honestly think any objective person would believe that the 31 year refusal to “engage” with the US and the rest of the world was the US’s fault? Really? A country which took hostages from an embassy and held them for 444 days while calling the US “the Great Satan” was seen as the “good guy” in this? The intransigence isn’t just a product of the last 8 years. It is a product of the last 31 years. No one with any sense has ever considered the problem there a result of “Washington’s pique”.

However, that brings us to how the term “engagement” is now redefined by the White House:

At a news briefing on Thursday, the White House spokesman, Robert Gibbs, presented this latest metamorphosis of the administration’s thinking: that engagement is not necessarily about the two adversaries, but rather, about the worldview on America.

Of course it is. That was clearly  what was meant in Obama’s “unclenched fist” speech, wasn’t it?  Apparently the administration’s gameplan is to refuse to admit the failure of its policy and instead just redefine words to fit the present situation.  I can’t say that comes as much of a surprise.

~McQ

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4 Responses to Iran: Foreign Policy Naivete Yielding To Reality?

  • “What the president has achieved is that he has outed Iran,” a senior administration official said Friday. He said Iran, by refusing to respond positively, had exposed itself as uninterested in a better relationship with the United States.

    I hate to have to admit it, but there’s something in this.  The Euros, by their feckless and ultimately embarrassing efforts to negotiate with Iran, demonstrated the belief that Tehran can be reasonable, which be extension indicates that at least part of the problem was the United States and especially that cowboy, George Bush.  Like it or not, quite a lot of people around the world (not just among the left in America) think that we ARE a big part of any problem.  How much this perception on their part ought to influence our policies is a matter for debate, however.  Personally, I’m not especially interested in what a bunch of leftie Euroweenies think of us; they have no stake in our security.

    Now, I will say that Imeme’s apparent efforts to claim that his utter failure to get anything but jeers and scorn from the ayatollahs is ridiculous and transparent, sort of like a character in a comedy saying, “I meant to do that!” when disaster strikes.  Are we really to believe that his frequent statements about dialogue and “negotiations without preconditions” were all part of a deeply-laid plot to expose the ayatollahs as villains?

    At a news briefing on Thursday, the White House spokesman, Robert Gibbs, presented this latest metamorphosis of the administration’s thinking: that engagement is not necessarily about the two adversaries, but rather, about the worldview on America.

    Style over substance.  Words over reality.  Anyway, this is just what Imeme and his moron supporters thought he would do: improve America’s “image”.  Never mind that his efforts haven’t led to anything concrete.  Never mind that the ayatollahs, Kim Jong-Il, the Taliban, AQ, and all the other bad actors in the world are continuing on course.  Never mind that he’s a laughing stock in Beijing, Moscow, and several other capitals.  What counts to Imeme and the idiots who support him (at home and abroad) is that he’s “improving our image.” No evidence needed.  He feels he’s done the job, and they feel he’s right. 

    • The Euros in power know that Iran is intractable. The Euro general populace who reads their MSM maybe does not know, and assumes/is taught that the USA is at fault.
      I don’t think a hardline policy to Iran ala McCain would have accomplished much either, though.

      • HarunI don’t think a hardline policy to Iran ala McCain would have accomplished much either, though.

        Which begs the question: just what DO we want to accomplish?  If it’s stopping the ayatollahs getting their hands on nukes, we could do that in a few days by calling the Air Force at 1-800-AIR-STRK.  O’ course, our efforts would likely have to be sustained / repeated, as the ayatollahs would eventually rebuild whatever we destroy.  We’d also have to deal with international fallout.  The ayatollahs would use any US attack as propaganda to distract the long-suffering and increasingly restive Iranian people from their domestic worries.

        And… I have no quarrel with the Iranian people.

        So, again: what DO we want?

  • They honestly think any objective person would believe that the 31 year refusal to “engage” with the US and the rest of the world was the US’s fault? Really?

    Yes, really! The ability and propensity for people, particularly cowards and relativists, to bury their heads in the sand (or up Obie’s butt) is beyond measure.