Another undone Obama bad idea

Facebook Friend Michael Smith explains why the Iran deal deserved to die:

1. The “deal” did not end their capability to build a bomb, it only slowed it down and postponed their “breakout” for a few years so some future administration would have to deal with a nuclear Iran.

2. The number of centrifuges necessary for enrichment of uranium were reduced – to a number too small for nuclear fuel for power reactors but more than adequate for producing a bomb.

3. The “deal” removed sanctions, allowing Iran open access to world markets.

4. The US repatriated billions of dollars held since the mullahs deposed the Shah, giving them immediate cash to fund their military and terrorist programs.

5. EU countries have violated sanctions for decades and continued to trade with Iran. France has been one of the worse offenders and one of Iran’s greatest defenders. Only the US has honored all prohibitions.

6. Israel has proven that Iran lied about their bomb making research and had continued even though the swore they had stopped.

7. Satellite photographs show continued construction of nuclear facilities in contravention to the “deal” and international inspectors were denied access to these sites.

In short, the US and other western parties gave up much for nothing but a temporary delay that wasn’t even a delay, got nothing but a bunch of lies in return and Iran basically got everything and had to change nothing (other than being a little more stealthy as they continued doing what they were doing).

It was a bad deal. Rescinding it didn’t increase the chance of war because that chance never went away. The Obama/Kerry ‘deal” only papered over the issues and made the contemporary Neville Chamberlian Democrats claim they had secured “peace in our time” as they waved the deal in the air.

The Weekly Standard posted this two years ago, but it applies because of the events of this week:

It’s hardly any wonder that Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes has a “mind meld” with his boss, the president. According to a David Samuels New York Times Magazine article to be published Sunday and already posted to the website, Rhodes, like Barack Obama, is contemptuous of “the American foreign-policy establishment.” What Obama calls the “Washington playbook” dictating the sorts of responses available to American policymakers, Rhodes calls the “Blob.”

The Blob includes “editors and reporters at The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker,” etc. It also encompasses, according to Rhodes, Obama’s former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, and the administration’s first defense secretary Robert Gates. Presumably Leon Panetta, former Pentagon chief and CIA director, who goes on the record to criticize Rhodes and the president, is also part of the Blob, alongside “other Iraq-war promoters from both parties who now whine incessantly about the collapse of the American security order in Europe and the Middle East.” In other words, the emotion driving the administration’s foreign policy is contempt—contempt for allies, colleagues, and the generations of American policymakers who built the post-WWII international order, ensuring relative global stability, and peace and prosperity at home.

Samuels’s profile is an amazing piece of writing about the Holden Caulfield of American foreign policy. He’s a sentimental adolescent with literary talent (Rhodes published one short story before his mother’s connections won him a job in the world of foreign policy), and high self regard, who thinks that everyone else is a phony. Those readers who found Jeffrey Goldberg’s picture of Obama in his March Atlantic profile refreshing for the president’s willingness to insult American allies publicly will be similarly cheered here by Rhodes’s boast of deceiving American citizens, lawmakers, and allies over the Iran deal. Conversely, those who believe Obama risked American interests to take a cheap shot at allies from the pedestal of the Oval Office will be appalled to see Rhodes dancing in the end zone to celebrate the well-packaged misdirections and even lies—what Rhodes and others call a “narrative”—that won Obama his signature foreign policy initiative.

“Like Obama,” writes Samuels:

Rhodes is a storyteller who uses a writer’s tools to advance an agenda that is packaged as politics but is often quite personal. He is adept at constructing overarching plotlines with heroes and villains, their conflicts and motivations supported by flurries of carefully chosen adjectives, quotations and leaks from named and unnamed senior officials. He is the master shaper and retailer of Obama’s foreign-policy narratives, at a time when the killer wave of social media has washed away the sand castles of the traditional press.

As Rhodes admits, it’s not that hard to shape the narrative. “All these newspapers used to have foreign bureaus,” Rhodes said. “Now they don’t. They call us to explain to them what’s happening in Moscow and Cairo. Most of the outlets are reporting on world events from Washington. The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing.”

In Rhodes’s “narrative” about the Iran deal, negotiations started when the ostensibly moderate Hassan Rouhani was elected president, providing an opening for the administration to reach out in friendship. In reality, as Samuels gets administration officials to admit, negotiations began when “hardliner” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was still president. It was Rhodes who framed the Iran deal as a choice between peace and war, and it was Rhodes who set up a messaging unit to sell the deal that created an “echo chamber” in the press. “[Al Monitor reporter] Laura Rozen was my RSS feed,” says Tanya Somanader, the 31-year-old who managed @TheIranDeal twitter feed. “She would just find everything and retweet it.”

“In the spring of last year,” Samuels writes:

legions of arms-control experts began popping up at think tanks and on social media, and then became key sources for hundreds of often-clueless reporters. “We created an echo chamber,” [Rhodes] admitted, when I asked him to explain the onslaught of freshly minted experts cheerleading for the deal. “They were saying things that validated what we had given them to say.” When I suggested that all this dark metafictional play seemed a bit removed from rational debate over America’s future role in the world, Rhodes nodded. “In the absence of rational discourse, we are going to discourse the [expletive] out of this,” he said. “We had test drives to know who was going to be able to carry our message effectively, and how to use outside groups like Ploughshares, the Iran Project and whomever else. So we knew the tactics that worked.” He is proud of the way he sold the Iran deal. “We drove them crazy,” he said of the deal’s opponents.

It’s not clear whether or not Panetta supported the deal, but he admits he was wrong about Obama’s willingness to take all measures to stop Iran from getting a bomb.

As secretary of defense, he tells me, one of his most important jobs was keeping Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and his defense minister, Ehud Barak, from launching a pre-emptive attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. “They were both interested in the answer to the question, ‘Is the president serious?’ ” Panetta recalls. “And you know my view, talking with the president, was: If brought to the point where we had evidence that they’re developing an atomic weapon, I think the president is serious that he is not going to allow that to happen.” Panetta stops. “But would you make that same assessment now?” I ask him. “Would I make that same assessment now?” he asks. “Probably not.”

Rhodes tells Samuels that Don DeLillo is his favorite novelist. “That’s the only person I can think of who has confronted these questions of, you know, the individual who finds himself negotiating both vast currents of history and a very specific kind of power dynamics,” he tells Samuels. “And that’s what it’s like to work in the U.S. foreign-policy apparatus in 2016.”

So that’s it. For the last seven years the American public has been living through a postmodern narrative crafted by an extremely gifted and unspeakably cynical political operative whose job is to wage digital information campaigns designed to dismantle a several-decade old security architecture while lying about the nature of the Iranian regime.

Regardless of what you think of Donald Trump, and there is plenty to criticize even for right-leaning voters, the fact Trump is president means that people like Rhodes are not in power. That is another Trump accomplishment.

Then there is this, from Investors.com:

Democrats went gaga over a little-known law they claimed an advisor to President Trump violated following the 2016 presidential campaign. Now, the shoe’s on the other foot, and both the Democrats and the media that supported them have grown strangely quiet.

The law in question is the 219-year-old Logan Act, which makes it a felony for Americans to negotiate with foreign powers in an effort to undermine the U.S. in a dispute.

The law is little-known for a reason: Just two people have ever been tried under the Logan Act, and neither was convicted.

But that didn’t stop Democrats and their Deep State allies when they wanted to use it to investigate Trump’s former national security advisor, Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, in 2016. Democrats and the media laughably claimed that Flynn’s conversations with Russia’s U.S. ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, somehow was a violation of the Logan Act. Let’s be clear: Under no reasonable legal interpretation could one assume that Flynn violated the Logan Act.

But now a report in the Boston Globe asserts that former Secretary of State John Kerry may have stepped over the line when it comes to the Logan Act.

“With the Iran (nuclear) deal facing its gravest threat since it was signed in 2015, Kerry has been on an aggressive yet stealthy mission to preserve it, using his deep lists of contacts gleaned during his time as the top U.S. diplomat to try to apply pressure on the Trump administration from the outside,” the Globe wrote. “President Trump, who has consistently criticized the pact and campaigned in 2016 on scuttling it, faces a May 12 deadline to decide whether to continue abiding by its terms.”

Kerry met with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif at the U.N. about preserving the deal. He also has contacted German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, European Union official Federica Mogherini and French President Emmanuel Macron to interfere in President Trump’s possible decision to abrogate the Obama administration’s terrible nuclear deal with Iran.

If there ever was a violation of the Logan Act, this is it. Kerry is not an elected official. He’s a private citizen. He’s undermining the position of a sitting, elected U.S. president and his duly appointed representatives.

Surely the Democrats and the media, who made themselves such strong advocates of the Logan Act back in 2016 that they misapplied it against Lt. Gen. Flynn, will now respond to what looks like a clear violation now?

Of course not. Both the Democratic Party and the leftist media continue to make a mockery of the rule of law and the idea that both sides play by the same rules. The media and Democrats have downplayed any idea of the Logan Act being applicable in the case of leftist millionaire John Kerry, even though President Obama himself dragged out the Logan Act to threaten Republicans.

Former Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman, once the Democrats’ vice presidential candidate, now a party pariah (because he dared to support President George W. Bush on Iraq and opposes the Iran deal), criticizes Kerry.

“In my opinion, what (Kerry’s) doing is inappropriate and he shouldn’t be doing it,” Lieberman said. “It’s a duly elected administration so I hope John Kerry stops.”

Using that party’s own standard, Kerry should be prosecuted for his freelance diplomacy, which will inevitably undermine President Trump’s efforts to undo the ill effects of Kerry’s failed diplomatic efforts while serving under the Obama administration.

We shouldn’t be surprised. This is part of a new trend among the progressive left, from campuses and entertainment to politics and sports: to criminalize political differences with your foes, while pretending anything your political opponents do somehow violate cultural norms, decency or the Constitution. President Obama used it too.

It’s clear Kerry broke the law here — just as one of his idols, Sen. Teddy Kennedy, may have done when he secretly held back-channel talks with Soviet leaders in 1984 to thwart President Reagan.

If Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants to do something constructive, he should prosecute Kerry. Then either Kerry will be punished (how about sending him to Guantanamo, since Obama administration foreign policy could be described as terrorism) or the law will be found unconstitutional in the legal system.

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