Among the academic set from which President Barack Obama springs, everyone agrees that wars are the result of "arrogance" and bullying by the United States. So concerned was then-Sen. Obama about the potential for U.S. aggression that he declined to vote for 2007 legislation that would have designated Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization.
The IRGC had been involved in training and arming terrorists worldwide, particularly in Lebanon (Hezbollah) but also in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Palestinian territories. But Obama worried that such a vote would be "saber rattling."
Our standing in the "world community" (an oxymoron to beat all oxymorons) and our credibility had been badly damaged by just such bellicosity, Obama argued. His administration would deploy "soft power" and diplomacy to make the world safer and more peaceful.
It would be nirvana to live in the world of the left's imagination -- a world in which the U.S. is the greatest threat to peace and stability. Obama has shown greater bellicosity toward Republicans (described as "terrorists with bombs strapped to their chests") than toward our actual adversaries. When Mitt Romney cited Russia a long-term adversary of the U.S. in 2012, Obama's contempt was glacial: "The '80s called and they want their foreign policy back."
Though the president has repetitively declared that Iran's possession of nuclear weapons would be "unacceptable," his true wish -- to accept Iran as a nuclear power in hopes that they will change their behavior -- is now unfolding. In Vienna, diplomats from the P5+1 (U.S., U.K., Russia, China, France and Germany) dine on fine cuisine washed down with excellent wines and periodically issued declarations of progress -- which usually only means the agreement to meet for more empty discussions. Meanwhile, the severest sanctions against the Iranian regime have been lifted just as they were beginning to bite.
It can't do any harm to talk, right? That was Obama's claim in 2008, when he suggested that he would meet with any rogue leader. He thinks words are like chicken soup -- they may not help but they cannot hurt. We're now seeing how dangerous that view is.
First, as Claudia Rosett of Forbes writes, the pattern of talks we're engaged in with Iran is identical to what we did with North Korea. "The pattern was one of procedural triumphs ... followed by Pyongyang's reneging, cheating, pocketing the gains and concessions won at the bargaining table, and walking away."