Even a quick perusal of twitter will find the likes of Ben Rhodes, Samantha Powers, Susan Rice, John Kerry and other members of the Obama administration gleefully lecturing America about how brave, nuanced and extraordinary their ‘diplomatic efforts’ with Iran were in comparison to the clumsy, thuggish and brutal diplomacy that the Trump administration has found necessary to employ in order to deal with the renegade country.
But not so fast, just how successful was the Obama administration really at dealing with the Iranian government? Were they able to secure a major diplomatic coup, or did Iran simply run roughshod over any restrictions that the negotiations attempted to employ against the countries nuclear program?
While quick to flout the Iranian deal as a masterpiece of diplomatic negotiations, Rhodes and company are equally quick to dismiss any and all narratives that differ from theirs.
One of the chief occurrences that those erstwhile Obama administration officials have chosen to ignore or dismiss were the student protests which were waged in Iran to protest a very crooked election. Strange how Liberals are so concerned about crooked elections until one that threatens a liberal narrative actually occurs? The narrative in this instance being that Team Obama had employed the best negotiators of all time in order to secure an agreement that could then be waived in front of the world to demonstrate their (the Obama administration’s) diplomatic prowess
It’s equally amazing how quick liberals are to forget and forgive a countries brutal treatment of it’s own citizens if acknowledging that treatment (and the murders and atrocities that defined it) might detract from the optics of what the Obama administration was (and still are) trying to sell as a swell nuclear arms deal.
Mitt Romney may not have been the best candidate that the Republican party (or any other party) has ever put forth, and it is a real stretch nowadays to call the guy a Republican to begin with, but give Romney the credit for having had the stones to attempt bringing this story to the light of day when running against Obama for the Presidency.
During the 2012 campaign, Romney claimed (correctly as it turns out) that the Obama administration had “sat on it’s hands” during Iran’s 2009 student protests. This caused CNN (in their never ending efforts to carry water for the Obama administration) to step in and ‘fact check’ Romney’s claims. In an article published by CNN’s Josh Levis the following statements were made in an attempt to exonerate the person that CNN considered (and apparently still considers) the greatest President who ever lived:
“When millions of Iranians took to the streets in June of 2009, when they demanded freedom from a cruel regime that threatens the world, when they cried out, ‘Are you with us, or are you with them?’ — the American president was silent,” Romney said.
In response to this statement by Romney CNN explained that
“Obama’s initial response to the protests became a source of controversy at the time, and his political enemies have brought it back up at various times since.”
Hmmmmm, the article almost made it appear as if the only ones who ever criticized Obama’s inaction were his political enemies. This left wing nonsense still occurs when any facts are presented that challenged the narrative of the left – regardless of any and all accompanying evidence is reduced to a “right wing conspiracy theory”
Continuing the fact checking the article went on to explain that
“In the very first days of the Iran protests, the president did not weigh in publicly. After more and more images of violence surfaced, he condemned the actions of the Iranian government, and later toughened his talk.
The non-partisan Council on Foreign Relations describes it this way: “While Obama initially opted for a muted response, the Iranian regime’s violent crackdown of opposition supporters complicated his administration’s attempt to balance outreach with its defense of human rights.”
“Toughening his talk” pretty much sums up the only thing that Obama ever did to address the situation. Strange that the escalation of violence on the part of Iran ‘complicated’ the administration’s attempts to balance outreach with its defense of human rights isn’t it? This statement could perhaps be have been phrased more accurately as “the administration’s attempts to balance appeasement with rhetoric”
CNN admitted that Obama “opted for a muted response” (which was so muted that it strongly resembled silence), but they take issue with remarks that Obama did nothing. At first (following continued requests for his clarification of his administrations position, including those by current Vice President Mike Pence) Obama issued some political mumbo jumbo along the lines of:
“It is “up to Iranians to make decisions about who Iran’s leaders will be,” he said, adding that “we respect Iranian sovereignty and want to avoid the United States being the issue inside of Iran.”
Hard to believe that the Mullah’s didn’t stop their heinous behavior right then and there after such a severe tongue lashing, but sadly no such luck, as the article states:
“Just over a week later, on June 23, after more and more images of violence came to light and amid some calls for the president to take a tougher stance, he” (again according to CNN) “did just that”
Speaking at a Press conference (when he was still having those) Obama said:
“The United States and the international community have been appalled and outraged by the threats, beatings and imprisonments of the last few days,” the president said, adding that he strongly condemns “these unjust actions. Asked why he would not spell out potential consequences for Iran over its behavior, the president replied, “Because I think that we don’t know yet how this thing is going to play out. I know everybody here is on a 24-hour news cycle. I’m not.”
Talk about a tougher stance!!! It’s a surprise that Iran didn’t offer up free oil to the United States in an attempt to appease us after that stinging condemnation
But remember, this article is CNN attempting to defend President Obama, and it’s not really their fault that Obama gave them damned little to work with.
Despite a debilitating lack of ammunition, CNN bravely fired off the following conclusion
“During the first couple of days of the protests and violence, Obama did not weigh in publicly, but by a few days in, he was not “silent” — and a week later, took a tougher stance.”
Of course there were a few ‘victims’ of the administration’s commitment to doing nothing to rock the diplomatic boat, these included a young woman named Neda who became the face of the student movement. Even writers at the New York Times (who would in all likelihood refrain from criticizing Obama if he set fire their building) appeared to be moved by this senseless murder as demonstrated by the paper publishing a very moving story concerning Neda’s death if you are haven’t heard her story, please read the entire article. (A Youtube video of Neda’s senseless death and final moments is available here, but WARNING, it is not for the faint of heart)
But why the ‘hands off’ treatment of such a brutal regime that was involved in the outright murder of anyone brazen enough to protest it’s brutality? Simply put its that word “optics” again, the administration feared the optics that taking a tough stance against Iran’s government would have and any negative effect these would have on any potential negotiations.
Julian Borger is a diplomatic editor for The Guardian and according to Borger not only did Barack Obama want to agree negotiate with Iran – he agreed to negotiations without the conditions put in place by the Bush administration.
According to Borger’s article:
“The Obama foreign policy agenda that appeared on the White House website said: “Barack Obama supports tough and direct diplomacy with Iran without preconditions,” the policy outline said. The Bush administration made direct talks between the US and Iran conditional on Iranian suspension of its uranium enrichment program. This step breaks that conditionality, as part of a fundamental shift in diplomatic approach.”
To fail to obtain a deal after presenting Iran with such favorable conditions (or lack of conditions as it where) would no doubt result in “bad optics” (that word again) and we all know that the Obama administration was all about optics, optics and and nothing but optics, after all, you can hardly post a picture of yourself holding a nuclear treaty if no such treaty exists, and a certain President really, really, really liked posting his picture.
The primary reason that the Obama administration was obsessed with optics was simply because the Obama administration sucked so badly at them, as excerpts from an article that appeared in Investor’s Business Daily clearly points out:
“An American ambassador is killed on duty in Libya on 9/11, the first in three decades, along with three countrymen. Obama reads a tribute to their sacrifice and heads to Vegas for fundraising.
The Obama administration’s fairy tale about the serial Mideast violence being merely reaction to an obscure video crumbles, one recent Obama workday consisted of an Air Force One flight to New York City, which costs taxpayers $181,000 per hour.
….There, Obama continued his bid to avoid real journalist’s questions, schmoozing and fist-bumping with David Letterman and claiming total ignorance of the national debt’s size ($16 trillion, up $5 trillion under him). Then came two more Manhattan fundraisers, including one with Beyonce.
This month, according to Israelis, Obama rejected a one-on-one meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about Iran’s nuclear weapons program due to his absolutely impossible schedule. In a “60 Minutes” interview Obama called Israel “one of our closest” Mideast allies. Raising the question who are all the others? He appeared to dismiss the regional violence and deaths in Libya as “bumps in the road,” likely news to grieving families.
Monday, however, he found time in that impossible schedule to visit New York again to chew the fat with the ladies of “The View” and — wait for it! — to describe himself as their “eye candy.”
And that ladies and gentlemen should tell you all that you need to know about the Obama administration. And yet, the same members of the “gang that wouldn’t shoot straight” (to turn a phrase) want to sanctimoniously lecture America about how much better they handled affairs with Iran than the current administration.
This includes Susan “Sunday News Show” Rice who is ever eager to explain to anyone who will listen how Trump made a mess of Iran
Sure Susan. But remember Rice was a huge proponent of the Iranian Nuclear Deal and continues to admonish this country that abandonment of that deal was stupid But it bears noting that not only did the Obama administration ignore the murder of innocent protestors to get this vaunted deal done, according to The Hill the cost of this ‘deal’ was additionally increased by the following dandy diplomacy
“The Obama administration blocked a highly effective interagency effort to dismantle a Hezbollah drug and money laundering enterprise to grease the skids for the nuclear deal with Iran.”
And how good was the deal? Not very, the article in the Hill goes on to explain:
“…. Iran was permitted to keep some key technology necessary for making a nuclear weapon. While only at lower levels, Iran was permitted to continue enriching uranium, an irreversible blow to what’s left of the nonproliferation regime. We were promised “anytime, anywhere” inspections, but by the time the deal was done, verification, while still hailed as the toughest verification regime in history, still only allows managed access to Iranian sites, and the agreement was written with such ambiguity as to allow the Iranians to continue to insist that certain sites remain off limits.”
Really though, how much trouble could Hezbollah possibly cause in the region? Remember, this administration which blocked the effort to shut Hezbollah down is pretty damned quick to remind the Trump administration that ISIS and Hezbollah are still things.
If all of this doesn’t sound good, that’s because it’s not, but remember, Rice, Rhodes and others were determined to go down in history as the best negotiators ever, so what’s a few murderous scumbag Hezbollah members running loose or some dead Iranian student protesters, as Obama was fond of saying (such as he said when dealing with American deaths in Libya) these were just “bumps in the road”.
The Hill article finishes up with the following ominous statement
“The question we should all be asking at this point is, what other concessions did the Obama administration make that are out there waiting for more bold journalists to uncover?”
It might serve us to also ask “How many innocents had to die to get this deal done?”
So remember the next time one of these oh-so-smart Team Obama representatives attempts to lecture you on Iran – or any other subject, ask them to please STFU.