Sunday, January 10, 2010

Good news on Obama's Iran policy

Iran expert Gary Sick reports what looks like good news about the Obama administration's Iran policy in All the President's Leaks Foreign Policy 01/03/09. He argues that Obama foolishly let the Iran hawks talk him into setting a firm deadline for Iran to agree on his proposals for Irtanian uranium enrichment. But also that he's now trying to back away from the hardline policy to give himself some more practical negotiating room. Sick also argues that Israel knows that it can't pull off a military attack on Iran without American approval and that the latter is not going to be forthcoming in the immediate future.

All good news, if true. And Gary Sick is often right about these things.

Sick sees avoiding having Congress imposing gasoline sanctions became and urgent goal for Obama. And that Obama's verbal denunciations of Iran for human rights violations helped him project a tough image and thus helped him back away from the more hostile measures to which the Iran hawks are pushing him. Sick mentions at several times the dysfuntional behavior of the national so-called quality press on Obama's Iran policy. And he concludes:

In short, Mr. President, you have taken what appeared to be a losing hand and, with a few well-placed leaks, transformed it into a victory over Iran. You have converted a lose-lose proposition of crippling sanctions vs. appeasement into an Iranian nuclear collapse. The imminent threat of Iran has become an indefinite delay of its breakout capability. The huffing and puffing of Congress has been rendered irrelevant even before it hits your desk. A deadline has become a new beginning of negotiations. And you brought the Israelis along with you, without a peep of complaint. As for the punditocracy, so far so good.


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