The multinational negotiations held over the weekend in Turkey with the ostensible purpose of halting Iran's nuclear weapons program will be followed by - drum roll - yet another round of talks in late May. Not surprisingly, the Iranian regime is calling this diplomatic exercise "a success."
Indeed, it is from their perspective. The Persians are, after all, the people who invented chess. They have millennia-old experience haggling about carpets and other merchandise in the bazaar. And they have the Obama administration and the rest of the so-called "international community" right where such strategically minded folks with a gift for besting their interlocutors want them: Talking, seemingly endlessly.
The Iranians know that as long as the United States and the other members of the Perm 5-plus-1 - diplo-speak for the Permanent Members of the UN Security Council (the U.S., Britain, France and the mullahs' patron/protectors, Russia and China) and Germany - are engaged in a diplomatic dance, they will insist that Israel not take matters into its own hands and strike Iran.
The predictable effect will be to give Tehran the time it needs to complete its longstanding bid to get the Bomb, even as President Obama's campaign flaks and foreign policy acolytes congratulate him on skillfully managing the vexing Iran portfolio.
Such a posture reminds me of the old cowboy put-down of someone who is "all hat and no cattle." If ever there were a case of someone who is good at the hat bit - talking big, gesticulating forcefully - but abysmal at the business of delivering, it is Barack Obama.
Sadly, the Iranian debacle is not the only example of Team Obama's all-hat-no-cattle foreign policy. A small sample of the most important of such behavior would include:
A reset with Russia that has amounted to nothing more than a serial give-away to the Kremlin on missile defense, on nuclear deterrence and the political cover the Russians' persist in providing rogue states like North Korea, Iran and Syria. One can only imagine how much worse this will get if the President gets reelected and can be even more "flexible" on such matters than he has been to date.
Coddling of China, even as it arms to the teeth with weapons designed to attack American forces and infrastructure - a number of which have emerged to the complete surprise of U.S. intelligence. In the face of such developments, to say nothing of what amount to acts of war as sustained PRC government-linked hacker attacks on public and private sector computer networks, the Obama administration has maintained what can only be described as a cordially accommodating, business-as-usual approach to Beijing.
Ignoring the strategic implications of the impending demise of Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez. The President's participation at the Summit of the Americas over the weekend could have been an opportunity to forge a hemispheric commitment to democracy in Venezuela. At the very least, the United States could have put a strong marker down in opposition to the prospective hijacking of thatlong-suffering country by the narco-generals Chavez has put into power as his cancer metastasizes. In this case, even the President's big hat was obscured by the scandal involving his womanizing Secret Service detail.
Perhaps most worrying of all is Team Obama's recent and intensifying engagement with the virulently anti-American and anti-infidel Muslim Brotherhood. Far from contributing to democracy in Egypt and regional peace with Israel, the prospect for either, let alone both, have become substantially worse, thanks to the administration's appalling conduct. The latter includes: opening formal relations with a group whose declared purpose is "destroying Western civilization from within"; feting a Brotherhood delegation in Washington; turning over to the Brotherhood-led Egyptian government in one lump-sum payment $1.5 billion in military assistance; and doling out a further $180-plus million to the Brothers' franchise in "Palestine," Hamas, which is now partnered with the Palestinian Authority in a unity government there.
The all-hat-no-cattle policy is advancing the three practical effects of the Obama Doctrine: emboldening our enemies, undermining our friends and diminishing our country.
Speaking of friends, press reports are circulating in the wake of the weekend's negotiations with Iran, that Israel is reportedly about to strike that Islamic republic. If true, it's deeply regrettable that such early warning is being given to the Iranians.
But the prospect that the Obama administration has every intention of allowing the Iranians to run the clock out leaves the Israelis with no choice but to attack if they are to stave off an existential threat to their people. We should be helping them do that, not helping the mullahs - and not encouraging still other enemies of this country, actual and prospective, to believe that the costs of taking us on are minimal thanks to our all-hat-no-cattle administration.
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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