We all thought the Iran Deal was over and done – a done deal which gave Iran more or less everything it demanded and allowed them to get away with anything which the West demanded of it. The deal also included giving the Iranians $150 billion via sanctions relief.
All this was bad enough. At the time the deal had all of us, the West, Middle Eastern states such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, but especially Israel, scratching our heads in bewilderment and fear, and wondering if Obama was stupid, had misread the situation, had lost his mind, or simply and deliberately misled us all.
It now appears that the last option is the accurate one. Obama knew very well what he was doing. He deliberately set out to give Iran everything they asked for, and then he covered his tracks by recruiting a “foreign expert” who was nothing more than a paid hack barely out of college, to write up glowing reports, and then for the writer to enlist a willing and gullible media to back him up.
Israel Hayom reports on the top White House aide who bragged about the Iran deal deception:
In the lead-up to and wake of the nuclear deal reached between Iran and six world powers last July, U.S. President Barack Obama tried to sell it as a historic opportunity. His argument was simple — a “moderate” president, Hassan Rouhani, had taken power in Tehran and was seeking to open a new relationship with the West.
But, it turns out that, as many suspected, the Obama administration was peddling a false narrative. A New York Times Magazine article published on Thursday revealed that the administration intentionally distorted the truth to hide fact that Obama had already wanted a deal with Iran when extremist Holocaust denier Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was president. And this campaign of deception was led by Obama’s deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, Ben Rhodes.
This revelation was made by Rhodes himself in the New York Times Magazine article, which was a profile piece about him. Calling the 38-year-old Rhodes the “boy wonder of the Obama White House” and “Obama’s foreign policy guru,” the article said Rhodes had achieved a “mind meld” with Obama and helped the president “execute a radical shift in American foreign policy.” This despite the fact that, as the article stated, Rhodes’ “lack of conventional real world experience of the kind that normally precedes responsibility for the fate of nations — like military or diplomatic service, or even a master’s degree in international relations, rather than creative writing — is still startling.”
Rhodes admitted to the article’s author David Samuels that the Obama administration had created a media “echo chamber” to promote the Iran deal, with reporters “saying things that validated what we had given them to say.”
“In the absence of rational discourse, we are going to discourse the [expletive] out of this,” Rhodes said. “We had test drives to know who was going to be able to carry our message effectively, and how to use outside groups like Ploughshares, the Iran Project and whomever else. So we knew the tactics that worked.”
Regarding opponents of the Iran deal, Rhodes said, “We drove them crazy.”
The article is enraging, depressing and terrifying in equal parts. It is enraging that an inexperienced “journalist” can promote such an irresponsible foreign policy deal that literally endangers the world; it is depressing that diplomatic and foreign correspondents fell into line with his reporting; and it is terrifying that such a trick could be played even in this day of 24/7 press coverage, social media and all the modern technology available to all of us, not to mention the dozens of expert opinions which slammed the emerging deal.
The Israel Hayom article continues with Rhodes contempt for his fellow journalists (justified contempt) and also an attempt at explaining Obama’s mindset:
Rhodes described the ease with which the White House manipulated reporters, saying: “All these newspapers used to have foreign bureaus. Now they don’t. They call us to explain to them what’s happening in Moscow and Cairo. Most of the outlets are reporting on world events from Washington. The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing.”
Regarding the Obama administration’s approach to foreign policy, Rhodes said: “We don’t have to kind of be in cycles of conflict if we can find other ways to resolve these issues. We can do things that challenge the conventional thinking that, you know, ‘AIPAC doesn’t like this,’ or ‘the Israeli government doesn’t like this,’ or ‘the Gulf countries don’t like it.’ It’s the possibility of improved relations with adversaries. It’s nonproliferation. So all these threads that the president’s been spinning — and I mean that not in the press sense — for almost a decade, they kind of all converged around Iran.”
The article said: “By eliminating the fuss about Iran’s nuclear program, the administration hoped to eliminate a source of structural tension between the two countries, which would create the space for America to disentangle itself from its established system of alliances with countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel and Turkey. With one bold move, the administration would effectively begin the process of a large-scale disengagement from the Middle East.”
Former CIA Chief Leon Panetta came out with a damning indictment of President Obama too:
Panetta said that as defense secretary one of his primary tasks was to keep Israel from launching a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. According to Panetta, both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then-Defense Minister Ehud Barack “were both interested in the answer to the question, ‘Is the president serious?’ And you know my view, talking with the president, was: If brought to the point where we had evidence that they’re developing an atomic weapon, I think the president is serious that he is not going to allow that to happen.”
Panetta was then asked if he would make the same assessment now.
“Probably not,” he replied.
The NYT article prompted a certain amount of well-deserved backlash against Ben Rhodes:
… many using derogatory terms for Rhodes, including “liar.”
New York Post columnist John Podhoretz wrote: “Congratulations, liberals of the Washington press corps and elite organizations: You’re a bunch of suckers. We all know this because the Obama White House just told us so.”
Brooklyn Democratic Assemblyman Dov Hikind said, “What an absolute disgrace — what a farce! Not only were Iranians laughing at us, our government was laughing at us.”
Republican Congressman Peter King of New York called the Iran deal a “hoax on the American people.”
David Weinberg, also in Israel Hayom, says that the central lesson we should learn from the Rhodes fiasco is not just the deceit of Obama and his Administration but the contempt with which he regarded America:
The central takeaway is not just rich mendacity and downright deceit.
What bolts off the pages of this interview with Rhodes — who is described as Obama’s “ventriloquist” or “mind meld” doppelganger — is the unabashed “contempt” and “revulsion” for America.
In fact, the word “contempt” is the interview’s keyword. It appears five times. Rhodes is described as being “laced with aggressive contempt for anyone or anything that stands in the president’s way.” He and Obama are said to be “laced with brutal contempt” for the mainstream media, which is so easily manipulated by them. They hold a “healthy contempt for the groupthink of the American foreign policy establishment,” and for the history and principles of traditional American foreign policy. The author of the New York Times Magazine profile, David Samuels, is perceptive enough to pick up on this “contempt” and term it the Obama/Rhodes “hallmark.”
Worst of all, Obama/Rhodes express “contempt” for the notion of America as a “moral actor.” They disdain and dismiss this concept. They view America as a sullied actor on the world stage, and have been on a campaign to “restructure the American narrative” in light of this incriminating belief. “We saw this as our entire job from the very beginning,” Rhodes avows without blinking.
In short, America is a bad actor that has to make amends for its ugly imperialist past and allow equally rightful and perhaps more legitimate actors (such as Iran) to assume a legitimate role on the world stage. Only Obama has the deep understanding of America’s criminality in order to right the world by cutting America down to size.
Everyone else just “whines incessantly” about the collapse of the American security order in Europe and the Middle East, Rhodes prattles. All previous American leaders and defense policy decision-makers were “morons.”
This is the mindset at the root of the Obama presidency.
Weinberg reminds us that both Obama himself and his closest adviser Valerie Jarret were born or brought up in Muslim countries: Indonesia and Iran respectively, and “suffered” the effects of “American imperialism”. This is what created their present mindset of reducing America’s footprint on the international stage. And what a good job they did!
… Therefore, they share a “deeply held premise about the negative effects of use of American military force on a scale much larger than drone strikes or Special Forces raids.”
Thus, the deal with Iran was something that Obama “was eager to do since the beginning of his presidency.” It was the “center of the arc” — the ultimate goal that would “create the space for America to disentangle itself from its established system of alliances with countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel and Turkey. With one bold move, the administration would effectively begin the process of large-scale disengagement from the Middle East” — and the handover of the region to Iran.
Weinberg concludes with very harsh words about Obama and his misguided policies:
Washington analyst Lee Smith (The Weekly Standard) summarized the Rhodes interview this way: “For the last seven years the American public has been living through a post-modern narrative crafted by an extremely gifted and unspeakably cynical political operative whose job is to wage digital information campaigns designed to dismantle a several-decade-old security architecture while lying about the nature of the Iranian regime. No wonder Americans feel less safe — they are.”
To which I add: For the last seven years, America has been led by an ideologue whose conceptions of global right and wrong were formed in the Muslim world, and who has been set on a course from day one to bring about a seismic shift in the global balance of power against the West and in favor of Islam.
It’s not (merely) a fear of Middle East quicksand, nor a distaste for American overreach, nor the search for some new grand geopolitical architecture that animates Obama. It’s a devotion to the honor of Islamic civilization.
If you are interested in learning more about Obama and his Iran strategy, Mosaic Magazine has a very long article with the full story of Obama’s Secret Iran Strategy. It too is terrifying and enraging in equal measure.
With all this in mind is it any wonder that Iran feels free to threaten to close the Straits of Hormuz over an American bill seeking stronger sanctions against it?
The US Navy rejected the threat and condemned a previous Iranian drone flight in December conducted over US warships, but why should the Iranians listen, given their good friend in the White House?
And now the Iranians claim they have successfully tested a missile that can reach Israel:
A senior Iranian general on Monday announced that the country’s armed forces successfully tested a precision-guided, medium-range ballistic missile two weeks ago, the state-run Tasnim agency reported.
“We test-fired a missile with a range of 2,000 kilometers and a margin of error of eight meters,” Brigadier General Ali Abdollahi was quoted as saying at a Tehran science conference.
The eight-meter margin means the “missile enjoys zero error,” he told conference participants.
The general went on to say that 10 percent of Iran’s defense budget has been allocated to “research projects aimed at strengthening defense power,” the report said.
Thank you Mr. Obama for your kind present of $150 billion.
Under a nuclear deal signed last year between world powers and Iran, ballistic missile tests are not forbidden outright, but are “not consistent” with a United Nations Security Council resolution from July 2015, US officials say.
According to the UN decision, “Iran is called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology,” until October 2023.
That has not stopped Iran from carrying out a number of tests of ballistic missile technology since the nuclear deal was adopted on October 18, 2015.
In November, Iran launched a missile with a range of 1,930 kilometers (1,200 miles) from a site near the Gulf of Oman, US officials said at the time.
In March, Iran test-fired two more ballistic missiles, which an Iranian news agency said had the phrase “Israel must be wiped out” written on them in Hebrew. An Iranian commander said the test was designed to demonstrate to Israel that it is within Iranian missile range.
That launch sparked international fury as it appeared to flout the agreements made in the Iranian nuclear deal.
There’s no point in being furious with Iran. They’re only doing what comes naturally. The world, including the useless UN, should address their fury to Barack Obama and his willing assistants who helped to fool the world.