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Tiny Iran
Obama's big learning curve.


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Anne Bayefsky

‘It’s terrorism, stupid.” Nothing short of blunt talk will do in light of Sen. Barack Obama’s comments this past week on Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah. They are the most significant indication to date of the looming catastrophe for American national security posed by an Obama presidency.

Here is Obama in his own words, speaking in Pendleton, Oregon on Sunday night: “Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, these countries are tiny compared to the Soviet Union… In Iran they spend 1/100th of what we spend on the military. If Iran ever tried to pose a serious threat to us, they wouldn’t stand a chance.”

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How does one begin a course for a presidential candidate in Terrorism 101? Where has Obama been for the past three decades during which the greatest threats to peace and security have moved beyond the sphere of state actors operating alone? After 9/11, why doesn’t Obama recognize the capacity of relatively small entities to wreak havoc, at comparatively little cost, on a nation as large and strong as America?

Despite Obama’s claim to be a foreign-policy realist, his fancy foreign-policy footwork contains as much realpolitik as a dancing sugar-plum fairy. Obama is keen to explain his hankering for an early heart-to-heart with Iranian President Ahmadinejad — with whom he would “be willing to meet separately, without precondition during the first year of [his] administration” or his desire to engage in “direct presidential diplomacy with Iran without preconditions.” His strategy so far has been to deny the undeniable transaction costs of an unconditioned presidential get-together: the undeserved legitimacy conferred on a would-be mass murderer, the time lost while a nuclear-weapons program continues in full swing, and the betrayal of brave local dissenters.

“Tiny” and not “serious” move us another step closer to the edge. The unfortunate reality is that Iran not only poses a serious threat already, but it does stand a chance of carrying out its dire program. Ahmadinejad, in addition to his professed affinity for genocide, is funding terrorist proxies in Lebanon and Gaza who believe they have started the job and are committed to finishing it. The message Obama sends in denying that Iran has “tried to pose a serious threat to us” is that a grave threat to the peace and security of Israel is not a threat to the peace and security of the United States. Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, of “Israel Lobby” fame, would be proud. But even the anti-nuclear-anything activists in the Democratic party should begin to worry about a president who thinks the consequences of an Iranian nuclear strike on Israel can be confined to the locals.



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