by Charles Krauthammer
It's Lucy and the football, Iran-style. After ostensibly tough talk about preventing Iran from going nuclear, the Obama administration acquiesced to yet another round of talks with the mullahs.
This, 14 months after the last group-of-six negotiations collapsed in Istanbul because of blatant Iranian stalling and unseriousness. Nonetheless, the new negotiations will be both without precondition and preceded by yet more talks to decide such trivialities as venue.
These negotiations don't just gain time for a nuclear program about whose military intent the IAEA is issuing alarming warnings. They make it extremely difficult for Israel to do anything about it (while it still can), lest Israel be universally condemned for having aborted a diplomatic solution.
If the administration were serious about achievement rather than appearance, it would have warned that this was the last chance for Iran to come clean and would have demanded a short timeline. After all, President Obama insisted on deadlines for the Iraq withdrawal, the Afghan surge and Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Why leave these crucial talks open-ended when the nuclear clock is ticking?
This re-engagement comes immediately after Obama's campaign-year posturing about Iran's nukes. Sunday in front of AIPAC, he warned that "Iran's leaders should have no doubt about the resolve of the United States." This just two days after he'd said (to the Atlantic) of possible U.S. military action, "I don't bluff."
Yet on Tuesday he returns to the very engagement policy that he admits had previously failed.
Won't sanctions make a difference this time, however? Sanctions are indeed hurting Iran economically.
But when Obama's own director of national intelligence was asked by the Senate intelligence committee whether sanctions had any effect on the course of Iran's nuclear program, the answer was simple: No. None whatsoever.
Obama garnered much AIPAC applause by saying that his is not a containment policy but a prevention policy. But what has he prevented? Keeping a coalition of six together is not success. Holding talks is not success. Imposing sanctions is not success.
Success is halting and reversing the program. Yet Iran is tripling its uranium output, moving enrichment facilities deep under a mountain near Qom and impeding IAEA inspections of weaponization facilities.
So what is Obama's real objective?
"We're trying to make the decision to attack as hard as possible for Israel," an administration official told the Washington Post in the most revealing White House admission since "leading from behind."Charles Krauthammer
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