Off on the Road to (Bungle) Iran
"Goodbye Syria, On to Iran!" is the title of the latest piece by Victor Davis Hanson for his PJM column. And having grown up watching the Bing Crosby and Bob Hope "Road" pictures on the late show, and having a dad who absolutely worshiped Crosby, of course I had to Photoshop the poster for Road to Morocco to accompany it. (I remember watching Road to Morocco on AMC or TCM around the time we first went off on the Road to Baghdad in 2003 and thought, will today's Hollywood ever satirize the Muslim world ever again, even on the gentle kidding around level of Bing and Bob?)
It wasn't easy finding a photo of Samantha Power smiling -- odds are there will be even less of them coming out in the next few years:
Why the sudden Iran charm offensive, if not that the theocracy believes it can now follow Assad’s model, but focusing on a nuclear bomb, or at least the lifting of sanctions? And why is Putin suddenly in the news, as if to remind the world that he can prevent not just a reckless U.S. from doing real harm to others, but, he feigns, to itself as well?
Obama is probably not too concerned with any of these worries. After all, he pulled out all the troops in Iraq, after a brilliant two-year surge that by January 2009 had led to a stable, consensual government. Apparently, such a legitimate constitutional Iraq was not as valuable to Obama as a reelection slogan that he had “ended the war” in Iraq.
Ditto Afghanistan. The once good war that candidate Obama promised to win is pretty bad; for Obama, leaving Afghanistan seems far more important than saving it. Again, “Bush did it” is all ye need to know about the looming defeat. Let us hope the Taliban does not play the role of the North Vietnamese in 1975. (How will there be boat people, with no boats and water? Airlifts to mountaintops for mountain people? Beheadings in lieu of reeducation camps?)
Who, Obama assumes, cares what Libya has become? “We came, we saw, [Kaddafi] died,” Hillary chuckled, as if she had been Caesar on a white horse at Zela taking out Pharnaces II of Pontus.
So what difference at this point does it make? Who, Obama assumes, cares about what happened later in places like Benghazi or the current status of events on the ground in Tripoli? Like the stuff with the Russians and Assad, to the extent these are even problems, they exist down the line for someone else. If Obama retired early during the Noche Triste in Benghazi and played 15 rounds of cards with Reggie Love on the night of the Osama bin Laden hit (“I’m not, I’m not going to be down there, I can’t watch this entire thing”), why would he get too worked up about Syria?
But Iran’s President Rouhani, following Putin’s lead, apparently did. He wrote another therapeutic letter to the American people (albeit settling for the Washington Post rather than the New York Times; I guess the latter thought this nice dictator stuff could get habit-forming). The campus diversity czar, Peace Studies professor, or T-ball coach could have written Rouhani’s script — and no doubt they were all inspirations for his American speech handlers.
America, Rouhani reminds us, should pay attention to “identity,” avoid “zero-sum” attitudes. We must look for “root causes” of terrorism, seek “win-win” results, don’t get caught in a “Cold War” mentality, and should “dialogue” — and for the “children,” no less. All Rouhani needs to let the centrifuges do their work, for the Republican Guard to finish up in Syria, and for his terrorists to keep blowing stuff up, is to drop the lunatic Ahmadinejad mode, go T-ball therapeutic, and find in Obama a decent sort of Stanley Baldwin or Neville Chamberlain. The glee that American elites have met Rouhani’s creepy letter suggests, aside from the fact that they read and write that stuff on campus all the time, how well Iranians understand us.
But more importantly, Rouhani meets an Obama not just weakened over his Syrian embarrassment, but actually convinced that he is “empowered” by it! Although he admits some loss of his usual panache and style, Obama brags that his diplomacy was brilliant, a virtual blueprint of thing to come.
After all, who could go 360 degrees in two weeks, from imminent bombing to legitimizing Assad and elevating the Russians, all at once ignoring and courting and ignoring the Congress — only to call it all a head-spinning success, ending with Putin shrugging that it will take lots of time to find WMD, though he (and now Rouhani!) deplore its use that led to one percent of the deaths in Syria? It is as if soaking yourself, and everyone in the vicinity, with gasoline and not lighting the match in your hand is better proof of your prudence than never going for the match and gas can in the first place.
Again, Rouhani is intrigued by such thinking. The fact that Obama legitimized the Assad, Hezbollah, Iranian axis in Syria, ignored the body count, confused and divided the nation and Congress, outsourced matters of WMD proliferation and use to Vladimir Putin, turned redlines into no-lines and bombing in 24 hours into talking for years — and called it all a smashing success — is, well, something worth following up on. Syria is history; Iran is now.
Oh and the AP notes that for this weekend's homework assignment, "White House grapples with how to answer al-Qaida-linked Somali rebel group." After bragging in 20122 to low-information voters, even after the Benghazi attack that "al-Qaeda has been decimated," no doubt the White House will make the same hash of the situation that they've done in Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya, Syria and as VDH writes, coming soon, Iran.
Gee, maybe I should I have done a Photoshop of the Goldfinger poster instead, come to think of it...
Related: Give AP credit for at least recognizing that there's terrorism involved in the Kenya attack. That's more objectivity than the BBC could initially muster, as Zombie noted last night.