It seems as if President Obama has come full circle. During the 2008 campaign, then candidate Obama, said that despite Iran’s consistent lies, its work towards a nuclear weapon, its constant threats to annihilate Israel, its sponsorship of terrorism worldwide that were he elected President, he would be happy to sit down with the leaders of Iran and try to work out out differences.
On the Left Hillary Clinton used this as a way to show he was inexperienced. The Right pummeled him for being not only extremely naive but threatening national security. Yet candidate Obama stuck by his statement. What was so wrong with sitting down with people you disagree with and talking? He asked.
It turns out there is a lot of problems with offering to talk to a country full of lunatics like Iran.
First off, in the rough part of the world known as the Middle East, this was seen as the ultimate sign of weakness. Obama was already running on a platform of scaling back the war in Afghanistan, of rapid withdrawal from Iraq and of focusing more on individual terrorists. To say he wanted to talk just made him look weak. Iran has proven time and again that when America seems weak, they will exploit exploit that weakness and go on the offensive.
Second, Iran uses talks as a pretext to advance their nuclear program. Iran knows that as long as they pretend to sit down with the Europeans and talk about their nuclear program (even though they enter these talks reiterating that they have no intention of giving up even one inch of their nuclear program) that the world will stop pushing against them and will loosen the screws. Facing sanctions right now, they hope these talks will cause the west to lose its resolve.
Finally, the pretext of talks takes the military option off the table while the Iranians keep showing up to discuss disarmament. When Iran offered to talk this time it was widely believed that Israel was preparing a preemptive strike and we were less than a month or two away from all out war. Now Israel has been silenced. Israel’s leaders are towing the American line that maybe there is more time for sanctions to work, maybe there isn’t so much to worry about.
Obama has threatened military action, imposed sanctions, promised Israel security and in the end he got what he wanted all along. Iran at the table for talks.
The sad part about this is that it is very plain to all observers that this is what is going on. This is going to be Mitt Romney’s most poignant argument against Obama in the fall. That Obama really believes the more ridiculous things he says. Any student of history knows that talks with Iran are the absolute equivalent of Chamberlain’s talks with Hitler. Chamberlain declared “Peace in our Time” after getting a “promise” from Hitler that he wasn’t interested in war.
The question will be is whether Obama will have to deal with the same result as Chamberlain did.
Left and Right is a three times weekly column by Inquistr writer H. Scott English examining the hottest political issues of the day, the candidates running for public office and the 2012 elections.