Obama of Arabia


Just last night, a friend referred to Obama's desperate pursuit of an alliance with Iran as "Lawrentian" (as in Lawrence of Arabia), which I like. It helps us focus on the current embarrassment, with Kerry tenaciously talking day after day to Jarif (the "charming" one who had to be asked to stop shrieking at the secretary of State), obviously desperate for something that could be called an agreement.

Sure, Kerry wants a Nobel Peace Prize, and no doubt believes an Iran deal would win it for him, but there's more to it than that. There's the president's long-standing passion to embrace the Islamic Republic. Much like Lawrence's passion for the Arabs, it's not just a geopolitical conviction, as you can see from this WaPo piece by Greg Jaffe, which is one of the best I've read that tries to explain Obama's passion in terms of a serious world-view:

The Iran negotiations also reflect Obama’s abiding belief that the best way to change the behavior of hostile governments with spotty human rights records isn’t through isolation or the threat of military force, but persistent engagement. In recent years, Obama has pushed to open up trade and diplomatic relations with countries such as Cuba and Burma.

“He believes the more people interact with open societies, the more they will want to be part of an open society,” said Ivo Daalder, Obama’s former NATO ambassador and head of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

As if the Iranian people needed to "interact" with us to want to be part of an open society! They know that already, as demonstrated by the regime's increasingly violent repression. But Obama doesn't talk about Iranians' desire for freedom, as he would if that were a central element in his Persian passion. Instead, as Jaffe tells us in useful detail, this is an intensely personal matter:

As the negotiations have progressed, Obama has become more personally involved in the talks, said current and former aides. He can describe in minute detail the number and type of centrifuges that Iran would be allowed to retain under a deal...

The negotiations are...personal for the president. Obama was dismissed as dangerously naive in 2007 by then-candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton for suggesting that he would engage in “aggressive personal diplomacy” with Iran...

“There’s a determination to prove the Republicans wrong,” said Smith, “and to prove the world wrong.”

Of course it's personal, it's very laurentian. It's not just the leftist myth that all that's wrong with the Force is America's fault, and thus, carrying the illogic to its wild conclusion, the way to make things right is to castrate America and turn from old allies to the enemies we've wronged in the past. If that were the driving principle, Obama (as he promised, lest we forget) would be working much harder to embrace Vladimir Putin.

But no, his heart is with Khamenei and Rouhani.

I wish I knew why...but then, perhaps there is no "why." In affairs of the heart, explanations really don't apply, do they?