Obama and Kerry appear to be getting played bad by Iran. While I favor a policy of strategic disengagement, to include removing troops from Europe, moving troops away from the DMZ in Korea, not taking sides in civil wars in Yemen or Egypt or Libya, ending funding to Israel and Egypt, and the like, there are a few things that are in our national interest, including open sea lanes, stopping “terrorists of global reach,” and preventing nuclear proliferation. Stopping Iran from getting nuclear weapons implicates all three goals.
The deal, so far as I can tell, is not a real deal, does not have robust inspectors, is time-limited, and would supercharge Iran’s ability to sock away cash by removing sanctions. It has no teeth, and the US was in the pathetic position of having France and others be the hardliners in the negotiation.
Obama’s motives are two fold. One, like all Presidents, he is vain. Recall Clinton’s attempt to recreate the rather impressive Camp David Agreement with the failed Oslo agreement with Israel and the Palestinian Authorities. Obama wants to go down in the history books and he wants to be known as a peacemaker. To his chagrin, he has been cajoled into wars in Libya, nearly one in Syria, and sucked back into Iraq because of his neglect of things after our withdrawal. This is a last ditch effort. In his stupidity, he revealed what this agreement means long term. One gets the sense, even taking his goals at face value, his lack of real life experience is at work here; everyone knows, negotiations do not get very far if you’re not willing to walk away and move away from your non-negotiables, which we appear to have done here.
His other motive is his belief that the world is a better, safer, and more just place when there is “justice for the oppressed.” That means insulting traditional allies, while opening up trade with Cuba, praising people power in Egypt even when it leads to sharia law, and generally weakening Europe and strengthening the land of his paternal ancestors, the Third World. In other words, when it comes to America-hating Iran and similar places, he feels their pain to a fault. Of course, this is a ridiculous view. The Third World is generally a venal, violent, uncivilized and unproductive place, full of petty and power-hungry people who resort to war far more readily than Europeans, and who cannot run their internal affairs without massive corruption and inefficiency. In other words, it is much like Chicago where Obama got his start, and it’s much like the Kenya of his father. The West is not the cause of its problems, but the West best ignore the entreaties of voices on the left and right who would get us into that brier patch. Instead, Obama wants us to get in there only to strengthen them and weaken us. This is why the urban legends of “Obama being a Muslim” and “Obama being born in Kenya” resonate. They’re not true, but they are plausible based on his behavior, attitude, and instinctual anti-Americanism.