Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Fool Me Twice

At this juncture, Americans should be asking: What is the desirable end point of a negotiation between Iran and the West? The undeclared endpoint should be a speedy arrival at a resolution not inimical to Western interests.

Here is a report from the Los Angeles Times on current negotiations between the Obama White House and Iranian leaders:

“U.S. officials said Sunday that Iran would be allowed to continue existing research and development projects and with pencil-and-paper design work, but not to advance research with new projects. Araqchi [an Iranian representative], however, implied that the program would have wide latitude.

“’No facility will be closed; enrichment will continue, and qualitative and nuclear research will be expanded,’ he said. ‘All research into a new generation of centrifuges will continue.’”

That would be a final result that, from a Western point of view, would frustrate the very purpose of the negotiations – which is to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapon grade material.

It does not help that the present negotiations were launched with the assistance of Russian President Vladimir Putin, a fast friend of everyone in the Middle East who is a declared enemy of the United States, including Syria.  Nor does it help that most every foreign policy theater touched by Mr. Obama has crumbled into ashes. Iraq, secured by the West at great cost in blood, sweat and tears, is now besieged by al Qaida connected fighters pouring into the north of the country. American troops in Afghanistan have never been more exposed to danger than they are today -- before the eve of Mr. Obama’s final withdrawal from “the graveyard of empires.” The chief U.S. negotiator in Iran is Secretary of State John Kerry, who launched his career in the U.S. Senate after he had appeared before Congressional investigating committees and testified that, as a matter of routine, U.S. troops in Vietnam were little better than barbaric  Genghis Khans.

Describing the reports of anti-Vietnam War “Winter Soldiers,” Kerry said in his testimony before Congress in 1971:

“They re-lived the absolute horror of what this country, in a sense, made them do. They told the stories of times they had personally raped, cut off the ears, cut off heads, taped from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, raised villages in a fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravages of war and the normal and particular ravages which is done by the power of this country…”

These were “not isolated incidents,’ Mr. Kerry told the committee, “but crimes committees on a day to day basis, with a full awareness of officers at all levels of command.”

It is doubtful that either Mr. Kerry or Mr. Obama knows who the real enemies of the United States are, and it might be helpful in future negotiations with them for our president and secretary of state to pretend that those sitting at the negotiations table opposite them are Republican congressmen.  

It is impossible to form a coherent foreign policy is you are unable to distinguish between friends and enemies. Mr. Obama may have found his perfect complement in Mr. Kerry. Neither of them would recognize Genghis Khan if he cut off their ears.
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