The Corner

Politics & Policy

Some Thoughts on Obama’s Zakaria Interview

‐President Obama says the hardliners in Iran oppose his agreement. But Iran’s hardliner-in-chief is the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. If he didn’t think this deal disproportionately benefited Iran, if he thought it crossed his many “redlines,” he would say no, and that would be the end of it.

‐Obama said: “The Supreme Leader is a politician apparently, just like everyone else.” The role and position occupied by Ayatollah Khamenei is significantly different from that of any elected leader in any democratic society. Iran’s rulers have an ideology. In 2007, Mark Bowden wrote a book about the 1979 hostage crisis. He called it “Guests of the Ayatollah: The First Battle in America’s War with Militant Islam.” When did we forget that the Islamic Republic is a militant Islamist regime?

‐​How odd for the president to suggest that Israelis are interfering in American affairs by saying what they think of this agreement. Israelis fear that this agreement will make it easier for the Islamic Republic to effectively threaten the Jewish state. It’s their lives that are being put on the line. Obama believes that this is a matter for Russia and China and other members of the P5+1 – but it’s inappropriate for Israelis even to voice an opinion?

‐​Obama seems not to understand why Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and other Sunni/Arab states see this agreement as putting them in greater peril. Contrary to what the president said, we are not looking at a simple “rivalry” among “nation-states.” This is about an ancient theological divide. And it is about Iran’s longstanding imperial ambitions. Iran controls four Arab capitals – so far. The question is being asked:  Should those who call themselves America’s enemies still fear America? And can those who call themselves America’s friends trust the current administration?

Clifford D. MayClifford D. May is an American journalist and editor. He is the president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a conservative policy institute created shortly after the 9/11 attacks, ...


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