Engagement diplomacy

First there were sanctions “that bite.” Then sanctions that would “cripple.” Meanwhile, Iran goes on its merry way.

From the very start we have conducted our diplomacy with Iran as if it were Belgium, and we seem surprised when we get the same dismal results. President Jimmy Carter tried and failed miserably, ending his political career, and every secretary of state since seems unable to accept that the Iranian leaders don’t negotiate like us, they don’t think like us and they certainly don’t like us. Yet we continue.

Throughout the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama focused his future foreign policy on engagement with Iran, repeatedly distancing his diplomacy from that of George W. Bush. On May 18, 2008, candidate Obama suggested Iran “doesn’t pose a threat to us the way the Soviet Union posed a threat” and he reminded his audience that “Kennedy talked to Khrushchev, Reagan talked to Gorbachev and Nixon talked to Mao.” Backing up his campaign rhetoric, just two months after his inauguration, President Obama reached out to Iran offering “the promise of a new beginning” to be “grounded in mutual respect.”

Yea. That “engagement” plan? Sucked. Iran doesn’t pose a threat to us? Yea, Iran’s just a free, rational country. That has repetedely stated it’s going to wipe Israel off the map, and now has ballistic technology to reach Europe.

Now, this … I just don’t know what to say.

On Saturday, Pres. Barack Obama gave a commencement speech at the United States Military Academy at West Point, which in effect told the thousand or so soon-to-be second lieutenants that, if he has his way, they’ll soon be out of a job.

Obama outlined for the cadets his vision of a new international order organized around bodies such as the United Nations. In Obama’s future, American military force will give way to American diplomacy joined together with new multilateral partnerships, while “stronger international standards and institutions” will replace unilateral assertion of national interests — including our own. Obama told West Point’s Class of 2010 that he sees them not battling our enemies but “combating a changing climate and sustaining global growth, [and] helping countries feed themselves” even as their citizens achieve their “universal rights.”

Who the fuck invited Obama to speak at the West Point Commencement? Worst. Decision. Ever.

We’ve had presidents who wanted to thrust visions of a new world order on us: after World War I, after World War II, and then after Desert Storm. But all these great grand visions came hot on the heels of amazing American success in war and foreign policy. Obama, in contrast, is pushing his new multilateral “international order” hot on the heels of two important failures — in Iran and North Korea. Obama’s vision for America’s future flies in the face of reality and fails to account for his own experience as president.

Just days ago we were treated to the image of Ahmadinijad with Turkey’s and Brazil’s presidents. Arms raised. All smiles. Iran’s nuclear future secure.

So, what’ the UN going to do now? How’s that “engagement” going Obama? Obama’s inclination to seek international approval and consensus – that bullshit up there he told the graduating cadets – doing away with “unilateral assertion of national interests” in favor of a world opinion. The International Community ™ is on it:

[Obama] said the international community is looking at a significant regime of sanctions that will provide a “variety of ways” to apply pressure to Iran’s government, without detailing them.

Obama said the United States is confident the world is “unified around Iran’s misbehavior in this area.”

Of two allies who have been reluctant to approve new UN sanctions in the past, Russia and China, Obama said he was pleased by how Russia has been “forward-leaning” lately but was uncertain about China.

“How China operates at the Security Council as we pursue sanctions is something we’re going to have to see,” he said.

Misbehavior? But, good news: Security Council is working on something.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates told Fox News earlier Tuesday: “I think it’s going to take some period of time – I would say weeks, not months – to see if we can’t get another UN Security Council resolution,” according to the transcript of his interview.

Well, that’s comforting.

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