The New Middle East

Deluded. (AP photo)

(AP photo)

I’m a Bad News First kinda guy, so let’s get that out of the way first.

THE BAD NEWS: The Iran deal “seems like a dangerous gamble.”


There is good news, yes? Yes!

THE GOOD NEWS: President Obama can win that bet simply by reversing every other policy or attitude he’s ever pursued or held regarding Iran.

No, I’m not day drinking. That’s what Leon Panetta argued in the Los Angeles Times while I was up in Crested Butte for the long holiday weekend.

Read what Panetta says the President should do once the deal is in place:

Enforce the deal. A certain inertia follows the approval of any arms deal. That cannot happen in this case. The United States must work diligently with its allies, the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency to fully implement the constraints in the agreement. Any violation, even a small one, must be swiftly and strongly addressed.

Maintain a strong military presence. Force projection by our naval, air and ground forces is vital for defending our interests.

Expand intelligence capability. If Iran violates the agreement, it will do so covertly. For that reason, the United States must restore its cooperative intelligence relationship with Israel and invest in intelligence operations with our other allies. Monitoring Iranian activity, targeting terrorist leaders and networks, and assessing potential threats and hidden activities will be crucial for both stability and security in the region.

Make it clear that force is an option.


Do any of those four items sound anything like the current occupant of the Oval Office?

The bright side, if there is one, is that President Obama has limited time left in office. But his successor, even if they were to take Panetta’s advice, would find their hands tied — not just by an emboldened and an enriched Iran, but also by mercantilist European allies.

To say nothing of Russia, which is on the cusp of becoming the Middle East’s new security guarantor and a de facto Iranian ally.

From the chaos in Libya, to backing the losing horse in Egypt, to pissing off the Israelis, to allowing Putin (and Tehran) the upper hand in Syria, to abandoning Iraq, and finally to unleashing Iran, there is nowhere in the Greater Middle East that our position is not weaker — by design — than Obama found it on January 20, 2009.


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