Tags: iran | obama | assad | benghazi

Iran Deal Underscores Obama Foreign Policy Failures

Monday, 11 Nov 2013 10:55 AM

By Fred Fleitz

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The reckless agreement on Iran’s nuclear program that was almost approved over the weekend marks the lowest point in President Barack Obama’s foreign policy.

This deal would leave Iran’s ability to construct nuclear weapons almost completely intact while offering it billions in sanctions relief.

Fortunately, the agreement was stopped, at least for now, by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who called it “a fool’s deal” and wanted much tougher provisions to prevent Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons. But most importantly, Fabius was concerned that the interests of Israel and other states in the region were not being taken into account.

What we’re seeing here is truly stunning. France is speaking out in defense of Israel’s security because the United States will not.

This is not the first time France stepped up to the plate to address dire international threats after President Obama failed to lead. In June 2009, French President Nicolas Sarkozy took the lead in condemning the fraudulent Iranian presidential election and the brutal crackdown against demonstrators that followed them. Obama officials said nothing about the election or the crackdown for three days because they were holding out for nuclear talks with Tehran that never took place.

President Obama let France and the UK take the lead in backing the Libyan rebels in 2011 under a policy infamously described by a White House official as “leading from behind.”

France and the U.K. have pushed for much tougher sanctions against Iran to pressure it to stop its pursuit of nuclear weapons and convinced the 27-nation European Union to adopt an oil embargo.

The Obama administration, on the other hand, has resisted implementing tough U.S. sanctions against Iran. While some were passed by Congress over the objections of the White House, President Obama issued exemptions to most if not all states and entities that violated them.

France took a much stronger line than the United States against Syria’s use of chemical weapons.

France was the only U.S. ally prepared to conduct airstrikes against Syrian forces over these attacks until U.S. officials abruptly reversed course in early September and agreed to a chemical weapons disarmament plan with Russia that does not punish the Assad regime for using these banned weapons and will make it more difficult for the Syrian rebels to remove Assad from power.

And then there was the spectacle at U.N. General Assembly in September when Iranian President Hassan Rouhani snubbed President Obama’s request for a brief meeting and photo-op handshake. Instead, the Iranian leader agreed to speak with Mr Obama by cell phone as he headed to JFK airport to fly home to Iran.

The leader of the free world should not be groveling for photo-ops and last minute, on-the-way-to-the-airport cellphone calls with the leaders of rogue states.

U.S. leadership has eroded in other parts of the world, especially Asia, due to an absence of coherent U.S. policies and international concern over America’s skyrocketing national debt during the Obama administration.

The consequences of President Obama’s deteriorating foreign policy is already apparent. Saudi Arabia is so disgusted with erratic U.S. policy on Syria, Egypt, Libya, and Iran that it has threatened a “major shift” in its relations with Washington and turned down a seat on the U.N. Security Council, the first time this ever happened.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is furious over the wrong-headed offer to Iran and said his country will not be bound by it. I believe if this offer results in an agreement, Israel is much more likely to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.

The Obama administration has alienated Egypt’s interim military regime by partially cutting off aid. This could drive it into the hands of Moscow. The Syrian rebels are frustrated that the U.S. has stopped pushing for the removal of Assad. This probably will undermine moderate elements in the Syrian resistance and strengthen al-Qaeda and other radical Islamist elements.

We know that weak foreign policy by the Clinton administration — especially in Somalia — led Osama bin Laden to assess that the United States was a paper tiger and to believe he could succeed in using terrorism to force the United States to withdraw from the Middle East.

America’s adversaries, both nation-states and terrorist groups, are watching this dangerous situation and looking for opportunities and weaknesses to exploit.

This could embolden terrorist groups to launch a new round of attacks against U.S. interests and personnel. Al-Qaeda and its regional franchises may respond by expanding their operations in Syria, Iraq, the Sinai, and North Africa.

Middle East states, especially Saudi Arabia, could react to the Obama administration’s effort to strike a bad deal with Iran by starting their own nuclear programs.

There will be many similar responses to the ongoing decline in U.S. global leadership by Japan, China, North Korea, Russia, India, Venezuela, and other states. The Taliban in Afghanistan is certain to exploit the collapse of U.S. leadership when American and other international forces withdraw next year.

There are bipartisan concerns in Congress over the recent talks on Iran’s nuclear program and legislation will probably pass before the end of the year placing new sanctions on Iran. However, there is little Congress can do to fix Obama foreign policy while it is being run by such a weak team and a president who is distracted by domestic issues, especially the growing Obamacare debacle.

Hopefully our allies will be able to carry the burden of global leadership while the U.S. effectively sits on the sidelines until Obama leaves office.

However, I fear Hillary Clinton’s mismanagement of the State Department and the cover-up of the September 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi indicates that U.S. foreign policy would continue to go downhill if she became president.

Republicans must therefore be prepared to make foreign policy a top issue in opposing a Clinton presidential run. They also must educate Republican candidates for elected office in 2014 and 1016 on foreign policy so they can work to restore American leadership and repair the enormous damage done to U.S. national security by Barack Obama and his foreign policy team.

Fred Fleitz served for 25 years with the CIA, the State Department, and the House Intelligence Committee staff. He is currently chief analyst with LIGNET.com, Newsmax Media’s global intelligence and forecasting service. Read more reports from Fred Fleitz — Click Here Now.
 

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