Tags: Barack Obama | Iran | Russia | BretStephens | foreignpolicy | Iran

WSJ's Stephens: Obama Gets No Respect in World Affairs

Image: WSJ's Stephens: Obama Gets No Respect in World Affairs

By Elliot Jager   |   Tuesday, 01 Apr 2014 06:37 AM

President Barack Obama is being treated by foreign leaders with the same disdain shown toward Jimmy Carter as his administration was fading from the scene, according to Wall Street Journal foreign affairs columnist Bret Stephens.

The word "diss" describes how world leaders are treating the U.S. president, Stephens wrote. "It means diss-respect. And connotes diss-may. And diss-honor. And diss-aster."

Iran is a prime example, according to the columnist. Iranian President Hasan Rouhani appointed Hamid Aboutalebi as Tehran's U.N. ambassador. He was one of the "students" who held U.S. Embassy personnel hostage for 444 days during the Carter presidency, Stephens wrote. The hostages were freed in 1981 on the day Ronald Reagan took office.

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Massoud Jazayeri, deputy chief of staff of Iran's armed forces, called Obama "low-IQ" and said his country's children have turned America's "all options are on the table" warning — about stopping Tehran's dash for nuclear weapons — into a running joke, according to Stephens.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif placed a wreath at the grave of Imad Mughniyeh, an architect of the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut that claimed 241 American lives.

"Apparently Mr. Zarif didn't much fear undermining efforts to achieve a peaceful resolution" with the United States, Stephens wrote.

Elsewhere, the Obama administration appears to have abandoned the idea of trying to roll back Russian advances in Crimea, according to Stephens. Vladimir Putin used his recent phone call to Obama as a domestic propaganda prop, the columnist wrote.

And Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with whom Obama said he had established "bonds of trust," claimed that America was part of a conspiracy to destabilize his Islamist government, Stephens wrote.

Even Israel's Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, Stephens wrote, has disparaged the administration's capability of getting a good deal out of Iran, and referred to Secretary of State John Kerry as "obsessive and messianic," in his chase after a Palestinian-Israeli agreement.

Such reactions are "reminiscent of the contempt the world showed for Jimmy Carter in the waning days of his failed presidency," Stephens wrote. "The trouble for us is that the current presidency has more than 1,000 days to go."

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