On the Iranian threat to Israel: “The danger from Iran is grave, it is real, and my goal will be to eliminate this threat. . . . Finally, let there be no doubt: I will always keep the threat of military action on the table to defend our security and our ally Israel.”
On Syria’s WMD: “We have been very clear to the Assad regime — but also to other players on the ground — that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized.”
On capitalism: “If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
On immigration: “They’re going to say we need to quadruple the Border Patrol, or they’ll want a higher fence. Maybe they’ll need a moat. Maybe they’ll want alligators in the moat.”
On world public opinion: “People don’t remember, but when I came into office, the United States in world opinion ranked below China and just barely above Russia, and today once again, the United States is the most respected country on earth.”
On Benghazi: “Here’s what happened. . . . You had a video that was released by somebody who lives here, sort of a shadowy character who — who made an extremely offensive video directed at — at Mohammed and Islam . . . making fun of the Prophet Mohammed. And so, this caused great offense in much of the Muslim world. But what also happened, extremists and terrorists used this as an excuse to attack a variety of our embassies, including the one, the consulate in Libya.”
I don’t believe him.
I understand he is the president of the United States, a position that should warrant presumptive trust regardless of one’s philosophical or partisan identification. But I cannot start with a presumption of trust when it comes to this president, the former true-believing community organizer whose word has proven to be vapid or even patently false on so many important issues. You see, this president is the classic progressive — far more classic than the Clintons, for whom truth is purely situational: only good as long as it fits their purpose, and then on to Plan B.
RELATED: What Obama Has Taught Us
What makes Barack Obama the real progressive is that he truly believes that his great willpower magically transforms his pronouncements. Indeed, his mere will makes them accurate — especially if he repeats them enough — despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
All of which brings us to this week’s deal with the world’s most successful sponsor of terrorism — and its most persistent deluder.The major provisions of the Iranian nuclear deal are by now familiar to many concerned Americans. The agreement contemplates enhancement of the regime’s nuclear infrastructure and aggressive development of an intercontinental ballistic missile program. (Wonder at whom those ICBMs will be aimed?) It includes the granting of a basically condition-free inspection regime (what did happen to “anytime, anywhere” inspections?) and the removal of any linkage to improved Iranian behavior, including the release of four American hostages being held by the Iranian government. The bottom line: The Obama administration’s seminal foreign-policy achievement will be the formal elimination of the West’s heretofore sacrosanct policy of ensuring a non-nuclear Iran — a bipartisan goal that has guided American foreign policy for the past 40 years. No wonder Israel and our moderate Sunni allies are so aggravated.
The president argues that he negotiated the best deal possible. After all, what other choice did he have? But this is a circular argument. The president’s false choice – either we have war or we have this treaty — ignores the alternative of a tighter, more comprehensive deal. Recall that Western sanctions (implemented in 2011 over Obama’s objections) were crushing the Iranian economy — a state of affairs that not so long ago led tens of thousands of Iranian dissidents to embrace a pro-democracy “green” revolution. Alas, that momentum toward freedom was short-lived and not supported by the always-acquiescent Obama administration.
Barack Obama’s willpower and ego have not made the world’s bad guys appreciate a newly dovish U.S. of A.
Seven years into his presidency, Barack Obama’s willpower and ego have not made the world’s bad guys appreciate a newly dovish U.S. of A. No surprise here; bad guys traditionally take advantage of the weak – or at least the strong who (inexplicably) desire to be weak. They also love to fill power vacuums: Iran in Syria, Russia in Ukraine, and China in the South China Sea, to name a few.
And so our most progressive president has cut a deal with one of the worst regimes in the world. It’s all about legacy (and renting the Iranian army to kill ISIS fighters). Which takes us back to the one promise Barack Obama has (partially) kept:
I will initiate tough diplomacy with our enemies. That includes Syria, Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela. I would meet with them, and I would meet with them without preconditions.
Of course, “tough” and “no preconditions” are oxymoronic; such an obvious contradiction is not lost on our newly aggressive enemies. How sad that this president has made the world a far more dangerous place than he found it upon arriving in the Oval Office.
— Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. was a member of Congress from 1995 to 2003, and he served as Maryland’s governor from 2003 to 2007. He is currently a partner at the firm of King & Spalding.