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Iran: Where Bush Failed, Obama Simply Wastes Time

Once critical of Bush's policy, President Obama adopted a similar, though softer, strategy.

by
Elise Cooper

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May 13, 2010 - 12:00 am
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Candidate Obama’s words on Iran have come back to haunt President Obama. Previously critical of the Bush administration’s Iranian policy, Obama has chosen to continue the status quo rather than implement his own strategy. Now several former Bush administration officials, requesting anonymity, tell PJ Media they fear the Iranians are now trying to run out the clock and that Obama must quickly implement a more aggressive policy to replace Bush’s.

President Bush attempted negotiations in July 2008, when he sent Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns to sit in on nuclear talks with Iran. The talks ended without an agreement. But shortly after becoming president, Obama attempted the same tactic of engagement, stating:

Strong countries and strong presidents meet and talk with our adversaries. We shouldn’t be afraid to do so.

His policy of engagement and negotiations has failed, just like Bush’s attempt did. A former senior Bush official notes:

The Obama administration’s attempted engagement to affect Iranian behavior was a big zero. All it did was give the Iranians another year to advance their program.

Obama has frequently talked about crippling sanctions, but has enacted nothing. The Bush administration did enact sanctions, encouraging the UN to impose three sets: May 2006, December 2006, and March 2007. Yet in talking about President Bush’s foreign policy, candidate Obama stated:

Unfortunately, I fear our once great influence is waning, a victim of misguided policies and impetuous actions. Never has the U.S. possessed so much power, and never has the U.S. had so little influence to lead.

As president, Obama has obviously not followed his own advice with sanctions: an end-of-the-year deadline was pushed back to January, then February, and then came May, with talk of weakened sanctions that might bring Russia and China on board. A former CIA analyst commented:

The Obama administration is saying we are open and receptive, and what has that meant? Nothing. Russia and China enjoy this struggle that affects the U.S. and its allies, and they are hoping that the problem is continually ignored. The new set of sanctions does not appear to be very powerful and has been very slow moving in getting off the ground.

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