The Middle East Is in Deep Trouble—and So Are We

 

How many times did the Obama Administration lie to us during Obama’s Presidency? Most of us have probably lost track. But did you realize that they lied at least 14 times about the JCPOA? President Trump removed us from this abomination of a deal and instituted sanctions on Iran for their duplicitous activities on the JCPOA; unfortunately, the Biden Administration has reversed his actions and even worse, are using most of Obama’s original team to complete the deal with Iran. These activities will not only jeopardize peace in the Middle East, but create an existential threat to Israel and most importantly, put our own national security at risk. The arrogance and naivete of Biden’s team is pathetic at best, and treacherous at worst. We are all in deep trouble.

The Biden Administration has decided that Iran is a better choice for leading the Middle East than the Saudis. They’ve demonstrated their intentions in a number of ways. Although Secretary of State Blinken has stated that the U.S. must “toe a harder line” in the JCPOA negotiations, our actions have confirmed the opposite. (This excellent article explains what is occurring in the “negotiations,” and the reasons.) A key player for the U.S. team is Robert Malley, who was on Obama’s team, and seems to be driving the Biden strategy. Biden’s people agree not only that Obama’s original agenda must be completed, but they have already agreed to a number of concessions in principle. Abbas Aragchi, Iran’s lead negotiator in Vienna, indicates the following:

The American negotiators, he claimed, had already agreed in principle to remove sanctions on Iran’s energy sector, automotive industry, financial services, banking industry, and ports—to eliminate, in other words, all of the most significant economic sanctions ever imposed on Iran. Recent statements from Biden administration officials give us no reason to disbelieve Araghchi, and the smart money is now on a full resurrection of the JCPOA in relatively short order.

So why do the Obama/Biden administrations back Iran in a way that will assist its leadership role in the Middle East? According to Robert Malley:

The president’s ‘ultimate goal’ Malley wrote, was ‘to help the [Middle East] find a more stable balance of power that would make it less dependent on direct U.S. interference or protection.’ That is a roundabout way of saying that Obama dreamed of a new Middle Eastern order—one that relies more on partnership with Iran.

So, Obama believed that with the leadership of Iran (the only Shia nation in the Middle East that hates the Sunni states, and is busy supplying terrorists worldwide), we are likely to be able to pull back in our involvement, at least militarily. And of course, Obama progressed in his plans through lies, deception, and confusion, and Biden’s people are continuing in the same vein. Their efforts will compromise the power of the Sunni states as Iran continues to grow in power.

How will Biden be able to conduct this “Realignment” (a term that Michael Doran has used)? Who will stop them?

Israel is tied to the U.S. which supplies the Iron Dome; Netanyahu is not about to jeopardize that critically important supply line. Progressivism is less than enamored of its relationship with Israel:

Contemporary progressivism is, shall we say, less than enthusiastic about Zionism. One of its cherished goals is to reduce American support for Israel, and the Realignment helps it realize that ambition—but it does so slyly. It refrains from making its anti-Zionism explicit for fear of stirring up opposition to the project among the largely pro-Israel American people. But by upgrading relations with Iran, the Realignment perforce downgrades the Jewish state.

The U.S. is also putting pressure on Saudi Arabia to end its war with Yemen. The Biden administration has already removed the Houthis from the terrorism list. These efforts are intended to downgrade the Saudis’ status and pressure them into dealing with Iran.

The U.S. has also re-instated supportive steps for the Palestinians: restarted the funding for the United National Relief and Works Agency (which has demonstrated repeatedly its anti-Israel positions); it denies the existence of the Abraham Accords; reiterated the plight of the Palestinians and ignored the attacks by the Gazans; and returned to describing the “disputed” Palestinian territories as “occupied.”

Biden’s people, at this stage, are indifferent to the Iranians developing a nuclear weapon; its efforts are secondary to the grander scheme of transforming the Middle East.

Do all of these decisions affect the US and our national security?—

The tilt toward Iran in Yemen also has sinister implications for America’s rivalry with its greatest competitor in the world today. China and Iran recently signed a 25-year ‘strategic partnership’ that funnels hundreds of millions of dollars into Iran, helping Tehran expand its nuclear power program, modernize its ports, and develop its energy sector. The deal also includes greater cooperation on defense and the transfer of Chinese military technology. Meanwhile, Beijing is upgrading its naval base in Djibouti, building a dock that can accommodate aircraft carriers 20 miles from Yemen across the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, which controls the approaches to the Suez Canal from the Indian Ocean. With each passing day, the prospect of a Chinese-Iranian alliance capable of dominating the strait increases.

Of course, we are not hearing about these decisions, and when the Biden people are forced to address them, they speak in vague and confusing terms. If they were taking legitimate steps, I think we would hear much more.

The primary article I referenced in this post concludes with this statement:

Now that we can see past the cute tricks that hide the Realignment’s true goals, we can state its four strategic imperatives in plain English: First, allow Tehran an unfettered nuclear weapons program by 2031; second, end the sanctions on the Iranian economic and financial system; third, implement a policy of accommodation of Iran and its tentacles in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon; and fourth, force that policy on America’s closest allies. If the United States follows those commandments, then a kind of natural regional balance will fall into place. The United States, so the thinking goes, will then finally remove itself from the war footing that traditional allies, with their anti-Iran agenda, have forced on it. Thereafter, diplomatic engagement with Iran will be the primary tool needed to maintain regional stability.

*     *     *     *

To say that these steps taken by the Biden administration are baffling would be an understatement. What in the world causes them to believe that the Iranians are at all interested in working with the U.S.? Why are we choosing to work with an organization that blatantly supports terrorist organizations? Are we abandoning Saudi Arabia because it has the possibility of forging a new future with Israel? Do they believe that the Iranians can achieve their goals through peaceful, diplomatic means? What would lead the Biden administration to believe those goals are not only achievable, but the Iranians care about working with us?

This situation demonstrates arrogance, ignorance, and naivete at its worst. And the world, not just the Middle East, will pay the price.

Published in Foreign Policy
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  1. DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) Coolidge
    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!)
    @DonG

    Susan Quinn: The Biden Administration has decided that Iran is a better choice for leading the Middle East than the Saudis.

    Maybe.  Or, maybe the Dems are looking to cause more chaos by sending money to the biggest terrorist regime in the world.  I think you should assume the worst motive for anything the Dems are doing.

    • #1
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: The Biden Administration has decided that Iran is a better choice for leading the Middle East than the Saudis.

    Maybe. Or, maybe the Dems are looking to cause more chaos by sending money to the biggest terrorist regime in the world. I think you should assume the worst motive for anything the Dems are doing.

    Since Obama’s soldiers have been boasting about their goals, they want to be sure that Obama’s legacy will shine. The likely will create more chaos, but they’ll find someone to blame . . . .

    • #2
  3. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree
    @CACrabtree

    It’s been quite some time since Tahseen Bashir made the succinct observation that, “Egypt is the only nation-state in the Arab world; the rest are just tribes with flags.”  (Iran, which is Persian, is scarcely better.)  

    Obama and his diplomatic progeny have insisted on treating these tribes as nation-states even though they are little more than family-run terrorist enterprises with a theocratic flavor (some stronger than others).  The tribes always realized that Obama treated diplomacy as an extension of his own narcissim and acted accordingly.

    Bottom line:  we can expect nothing but more chaos.

    • #3
  4. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Susan Quinn: What would lead the Biden administration to believe those goals are not only achievable, but the Iranians care about working with us?

    You would think all the state-sponsored “Death to America!” protests would give them a clue . . .

    • #4
  5. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    It’s been quite some time since Tahseen Bashir made the succinct observation that, “Egypt is the only nation-state in the Arab world; the rest are just tribes with flags.” (Iran, which is Persian, is scarcely better.)

    Obama and his diplomatic progeny have insisted on treating these tribes as nation-states even though they are little more than family-run terrorist enterprises with a theocratic flavor (some stronger than others). The tribes always realized that Obama treated diplomacy as an extension of his own narcissim and acted accordingly.

    Bottom line: we can expect nothing but more chaos.

    It’s going to be ugly.

    • #5
  6. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Stad (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: What would lead the Biden administration to believe those goals are not only achievable, but the Iranians care about working with us?

    You would think all the state-sponsored “Death to America!” protests would give them a clue . . .

    Much too subtle.

    • #6
  7. Doctor Robert Member
    Doctor Robert
    @DoctorRobert

    You give Xiden and his people too much credit.   They are bought and sold and deeply anti-American.  The Dems have been since Clinton.

    Name a law, policy, appointment, proclamation or action by any Dem President since Carter which served to increase American strength, freedom or influence in the world. Just one.

    That’s OK, take your time, I’ll wait.

    • #7
  8. DJ EJ Member
    DJ EJ
    @DJEJ

    While Iran’s proxy rained rockets down on Israel, Biden administration officials were hard at work “negotiating” (giving away the store) with Iran in Vienna. One couldn’t have asked for a more blatant reason not to negotiate with Iran, but the level of cognitive dissonance from these Democrats is truly incredible. The fact that they didn’t walk out of the negotiations in Vienna when Hamas was attacking Israel shows how weak, morally corrupt, and anti-Israel the Biden administration is. Why they are hellbent on giving Iran billions and billions of dollars makes absolutely no sense to me, even more so in light of Iran’s new strategic partnership with China.

    The Biden administration should be asked repeatedly why, as we approach the 20th anniversary of 9-11, they are negotiating with Iran, the country that is giving safe harbor and freedom of movement to Al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda is now based in Iran.

    With Iran’s growing relationship with China and America’s return to favoring the #1 state sponsor of terror (based on the delusional theory that the country that causes the most instability in the Middle East will somehow bring stability to the Middle East when it has more power), the likelihood of war grows. The window for Israel and its Sunni allies to act is closing. Israel will not wait until Iran is an existential threat. Israel knows that if the Democrats are in the White House, the USA can’t be relied on. To be honest, I hope they’re taking the Iron Dome technology and setting up their own production capabilities. They have to be ready to act alone, but hopefully the Abraham Accords have created a durable alliance (that provides cover for Saudi Arabia to also act in concert with them) that will work together to degrade and destroy Iran’s military and nuclear capabilities when the time comes to act.

    Mere speculation on my part, but were this to spark a larger regional or even worldwide conflict, what side would America under the Biden administration be on? Or would we project further weakness and do nothing. Scary thoughts.

    • #8
  9. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    We are looking at a world ruled by Communist China and Islamist Iran.  I wonder if the US Democrats think they have a place in that world?

    • #9
  10. Rōnin Coolidge
    Rōnin
    @Ronin

    Susan Quinn:

    * * * *

    To say that these steps taken by the Biden administration are baffling would be an understatement. What in the world causes them to believe that the Iranians are at all interested in working with the U.S.? Why are we choosing to work with an organization that blatantly supports terrorist organizations? Are we abandoning Saudi Arabia because it has the possibility of forging a new future with Israel? Do they believe that the Iranians can achieve their goals through peaceful, diplomatic means? What would lead the Biden administration to believe those goals are not only achievable, but the Iranians care about working with us?

    This situation demonstrates arrogance, ignorance, and naivete at its worst. And the world, not just the Middle East, will pay the price.

    We have fools dancing with the Devil, and the fools think they are in control, while half of the U.S. voting public still thinks everything is OK.  You are correct @susanquinn, This will not end well for any of us.  But you stay well and you keep the faith – I’m depending on you.

    • #10
  11. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Rōnin (View Comment):
    We have fools dancing with the Devil, and the fools think they are in control, while half of the U.S. voting public still thinks everything is OK.  Y

    I’m going to have to remember this description.  It think it is the closest to why the Democrats think all will go well and continue in their burn-it-all-down tantrum.

    • #11
  12. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    I am still trying to figure out whether there is any category that Biden supporters fall into other than incredibly foolish or incredibly evil. The incredibly evil see personal advantage from the destruction of America, and also think they will be exempt from the consequences. (I don’t think they will be but it is little comfort that they will be eaten at some time after me.) The incredibly foolish seem to believe the propaganda they have been fed or are criminally negligent with their civic responsibility to preserve a citizen-controlled government. If our nation was actually outfitted with a warning device that is routine for aircraft it would be crying “pull up, pull up!”

    • #12
  13. Buckpasser Member
    Buckpasser
    @Buckpasser

    Obama’s favorite religion was Shia Islam, even though he is not religious himself.  He brought biden into that world.  No surprise there.  Also, the next commemoration of 9/11 will simply be a harangue against anti-muslim thinking.

    • #13
  14. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Buckpasser (View Comment):

    Obama’s favorite religion was Shia Islam, even though he is not religious himself. He brought biden into that world. No surprise there. Also, the next commemoration of 9/11 will simply be a harangue against anti-muslim thinking.

    I didn’t know he favored Shia Islam. Too bad he liked Shias who were terrorists, too. 

    • #14
  15. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    You can thank President Doormat for presenting a weak, ineffective United States to the rest of the world . . .

    • #15
  16. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Stad (View Comment):

    You can thank President Doormat for presenting a weak, ineffective United States to the rest of the world . . .

    That too! Everyone, especially China and Iran, assumes they can step all over us. Just today the administration is saying to the UAE, wait a sec, you’re going to buy military supplies from China–and we’re supposed to be selling you planes? What’s wrong with that picture??

    • #16
  17. David Carroll Thatcher
    David Carroll
    @DavidCarroll

    What?  The government lied to us?    

    • #17
  18. David Carroll Thatcher
    David Carroll
    @DavidCarroll

    Stad (View Comment):

    You can thank President Doormat for presenting a weak, ineffective United States to the rest of the world . . .

    Are you referring to Fake President Joe Bonehead?

    • #18
  19. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Recall that when Bush convened the Baker Iraq Study Group, these elder statesmen said (a) the situation in Iraq is hopeless; (b) we should run away and hand Iran the keys; (c) that will upset the Saudis and other Sunnis so cut ties all with Israel as a consolation prize and (d) this will create peace and a situation in which the US will never have to go back.  Bush wisely opted for the Kagan-Keene surge plan instead.

    Obama made Biden his point man at a time when the fighting in Iraq had already subsided.  Obama’s brain trust never grasped that the success in reducing the violence was that the surge was the stick to go along with the carrot of keeping Maliki in check so he did not cheat or abuse the Sunni minority.  Idiot Joe blew off advice from the supposed Bush cowboys, announced: “Maliki is our guy” which Maliki correctly assumed was a blank check.  The Sunni hotheads could then say to their elders that “see, we told you that you can’t trust Americans to keep their word.”  Thus, after laying the foundation for ISIS and declaring that the Obama Administration would go down in history for achieving peace, Idiot Joe came home, Obama withdrew the troops and the whole region exploded.

    So, in a reprise of refusing to acknowledge the success of the surge by his predecessor prior to undoing it, Obama’s idiot former Veep is trying to undo the successful Abraham accords and impose the Baker doctrine on the theory that (a) what the other guy (Bush, Trump) did must be wrong (b) all the smart guys say this is right (c) this will solve the Middle east so we can get out and never go back.

    To personally screw up the Middle East twice and not seem to be remotely aware of it is so very Bidenesque.  Yassi Afarat and the Ayatolla Khomeini seem constructive by comparison. 

    I thought that Cyrus Vance would go down as the worst Secretary of State ever after he said he would resign unless Carter foreswore the use of military force to rescue the embassy hostages thus handing thugs an unbeatable bargaining position for an entire year.  But Blinken appears to be primed to fail on a number of fronts and thus make bad behavior by bad regimes and even open war far more likely. 

     

     

    • #19
  20. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    Recall that when Bush convened the Baker Iraq Study Group, these elder statesmen said (a) the situation in Iraq is hopeless; (b) we should run away and hand Iran the keys; (c) that will upset the Saudis and other Sunnis so cut ties all with Israel as a consolation prize and (d) this will create peace and a situation in which the US will never have to go back. Bush wisely opted for the Kagan-Keene surge plan instead.

    Obama made Biden his point man at a time when the fighting in Iraq had already subsided. Obama’s brain trust never grasped that the success in reducing the violence was that the surge was the stick to go along with the carrot of keeping Maliki in check so he did not cheat or abuse the Sunni minority. Idiot Joe blew off advice from the supposed Bush cowboys, announced: “Maliki is our guy” which Maliki correctly assumed was a blank check. The Sunni hotheads could then say to their elders that “see, we told you that you can’t trust Americans to keep their word.” Thus, after laying the foundation for ISIS and declaring that the Obama Administration would go down in history for achieving peace, Idiot Joe came home, Obama withdrew the troops and the whole region exploded.

    So, in a reprise of refusing to acknowledge the success of the surge by his predecessor prior to undoing it, Obama’s idiot former Veep is trying to undo the successful Abraham accords and impose the Baker doctrine on the theory that (a) what the other guy (Bush, Trump) did must be wrong (b) all the smart guys say this is right (c) this will solve the Middle east so we can get out and never go back.

    To personally screw up the Middle East twice and not seem to be remotely aware of it is so very Bidenesque. Yassi Afarat and the Ayatolla Khomeini seem constructive by comparison.

    I thought that Cyrus Vance would go down as the worst Secretary of State ever after he said he would resign unless Carter foreswore the use of military force to rescue the embassy hostages thus handing thugs an unbeatable bargaining position for an entire year. But Blinken appears to be primed to fail on a number of fronts and thus make bad behavior by bad regimes and even open war far more likely.

    Their ability to come to conclusions that have no basis in reality or history is mind-boggling. If it “makes sense to them,” it must be workable. Nothing else matters. I just can’t get over the idiocy of the whole thing. And Blinken went to the Middle East yesterday to help ensure that the cease fire holds. Right. No, he’s there to reassure the Palestinians and subtly threaten Netanyahu. Just watch.

    • #20
  21. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    Recall that when Bush convened the Baker Iraq Study Group, these elder statesmen said (a) the situation in Iraq is hopeless; (b) we should run away and hand Iran the keys; (c) that will upset the Saudis and other Sunnis so cut ties all with Israel as a consolation prize and (d) this will create peace and a situation in which the US will never have to go back. Bush wisely opted for the Kagan-Keene surge plan instead.

    Obama made Biden his point man at a time when the fighting in Iraq had already subsided. Obama’s brain trust never grasped that the success in reducing the violence was that the surge was the stick to go along with the carrot of keeping Maliki in check so he did not cheat or abuse the Sunni minority. Idiot Joe blew off advice from the supposed Bush cowboys, announced: “Maliki is our guy” which Maliki correctly assumed was a blank check. The Sunni hotheads could then say to their elders that “see, we told you that you can’t trust Americans to keep their word.” Thus, after laying the foundation for ISIS and declaring that the Obama Administration would go down in history for achieving peace, Idiot Joe came home, Obama withdrew the troops and the whole region exploded.

    So, in a reprise of refusing to acknowledge the success of the surge by his predecessor prior to undoing it, Obama’s idiot former Veep is trying to undo the successful Abraham accords and impose the Baker doctrine on the theory that (a) what the other guy (Bush, Trump) did must be wrong (b) all the smart guys say this is right (c) this will solve the Middle east so we can get out and never go back.

    To personally screw up the Middle East twice and not seem to be remotely aware of it is so very Bidenesque. Yassi Afarat and the Ayatolla Khomeini seem constructive by comparison.

    [snip]

    Their ability to come to conclusions that have no basis in reality or history is mind-boggling. If it “makes sense to them,” it must be workable. Nothing else matters. I just can’t get over the idiocy of the whole thing. And Blinken went to the Middle East yesterday to help ensure that the cease fire holds. Right. No, he’s there to reassure the Palestinians and subtly threaten Netanyahu. Just watch.

    The enemies of Israel only look for peace in a Jewish graveyard. It is incomprehensible that they would support genocide.

    • #21
  22. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Susan Quinn: But did you realize that they lied at least 14 times about the JCPOA? President Trump removed us from this abomination of a deal and instituted sanctions on Iran for their duplicitous activities on the JCPOA; unfortunately, the Biden Administration has reversed his actions and even worse, are using most of Obama’s original team to complete the deal with Iran.

    Do not blame the Democrats for doing what they promised, and acting to fulfill their core supporters’ desires. Rather, blame Mitch McConnell and the Senate RepubliCAN’T gang for pretending they did not have the power to call up the JCPOA as the treaty it clearly was, force debate, and defeat it by failing to approve it with the required 2/3 vote. That would have killed the deal dead. They pretended to be powerless, then inverted the Constitution by passing a law that let the JCPOA go forward unless the Senate mustered a 60 vote majority AGAINST it.

    • #22