The Corner

Lehman: China Gives ‘Naive’ Obama the ‘Slow Roll’

At the close of Tuesday’s Nuclear Security Summit, President Obama admitted that China is still noncommittal about whether it will approve sanctions against Iran. “I think we that we have a strong number of countries on the Security Council who believe this is the right thing to do,” Obama said. “But I think these negotiations can be difficult.”

One statesman entirely unsurprised by China’s holdout is John Lehman, the secretary of the Navy in the Reagan administration and a member of the 9/11 Commission. Lehman tells National Review Online that Obama’s strategic handling of the summit was “so naïve as to be almost comical.”

“President Obama believes that diplomacy is the ultimate intellectual tool to solve world problems,” Lehman tells us. “What he doesn’t realize is that diplomacy is the shadow that is cast by a strong and capable military and an administration that knows how to use if effectively. It’s not some blunt instrument.”

Lehman says Obama’s struggle to convince China to support Iranian sanctions is due to China’s inability to believe Obama’s seriousness on the issue, “given his administration’s fawning and almost obsequious approach and attitude toward the Iranian government.” Both China and Iran “know that the president abjures the use of force or even the threat of force to achieve diplomacy, so they will continue to give the United Nations and the U.S. the slow roll.”

“Why should China pull our chestnuts out of the fire?” Lehman asks. “Iran is no threat to them. It’s naïve of the president to think that somehow he can create a common interest with China or somehow persuade them to bring pressure on Iran when Iran supplies a significant portion of its oil. When Iran is tying us in knots that actually suits the Chinese down to a T.”

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