But interim deal with Iran puts the White House and its traditional Middle East allies in opposing camps.2:52 PM, Nov 25, 2013 • By LEE SMITH
In the wake of the interim deal that the White House signed with Iran Saturday, Secretary of State John Kerry said on the Sunday talk shows that nothing has changed, not with the American position in the Middle East, or with the U.S. alliance system in the region. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is screaming his head off, but Israel has nothing to worry about says Kerry. “Israel and the United States absolutely share the same goal here. There is no daylight between us.”
In reality, the deal implicitly acknowledging Tehran’s right to enrich uranium puts the White House and its regional partners, especially Israel and Saudi Arabia, in opposing camps. In order to protect his deal with the Iranians, Obama will have to clamp down on these American allies, an action that Iran may well see as signaling carte blanche to pursuse its various regional interests, particularly in Syria. In order to protect their own interests, Jerusalem and Riyadh may have no choice but to put as much daylight as possible between themselves and the White House.
The interim deal makes official what Obama has long been pursuing—a strategic realignment integrating Iran into a multipolar Middle East, where once traditional American allies will no longer enjoy a privileged relationship with Washington. The signs pointing to Obama’s new configuration, downgrading Saudi Arabia and Israel and upgrading Iran, have long been apparent, if incredible. For instance, when Obama backed off on striking Bashar al-Assad and instead signed on to a Russian initiative to rid the Syrian despot of his chemical weapons, the president not only angered U.S. Arab allies, but turned against them and partnered instead with Assad and Putin. When Obama announced at the U.N. General Assembly in September that negotiations with Iran were an administration priority, he not only turned Iranian president Hassan Rouhani into a partner, but also sheltered Iran from any potential Israeli attack. In short, Obama switched sides.
However, it is only in the last few days with reports of secret U.S.-Iran talks conducted behind the backs of U.S. allies that we understand to what extent Obama abandoned the traditional regional order. Again, it’s useful to consider the White House’s Syria policy, not least because this has been Tehran’s key battleground for the last two and a half years. Accordingly, Obama saw Syria not in terms of how the outcome might affect traditional allies, but primarily in light of how it might affect his negotiations with Iran.
If some administration officials believed Obama seemed “impatient or disengaged” during deliberations on Syria policy, that’s only evidence that they hadn’t been clued in yet regarding the White House’s secret Iran talks. Discussions about arming the Syrian rebels or striking Assad were irrelevant because Obama’s mind had been made up long before. Similarly, it’s now clear that the so-called “walk-and-talk” in the Rose Garden where Obama ostensibly changed his mind after bouncing ideas off of White House chief of staff Denis McDonough was nothing but a clever piece of stagecraft out of The West Wing. There was never any chance Obama was going to strike Assad because he feared that targeting an Iranian ally, one in whom Tehran had invested men, weapons and money to ensure his survival, might anger his negotiating partner.
Nov 18, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 10 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
Watching the Obama administration at work this week, a friend offered this judgment: Under Obama, Iran keeps its nuclear program and Americans lose their health insurance.
11:15 AM, Sep 19, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Bill Kristol joined Anderson Cooper and his panel Wednesday night on CNN to discuss Iran and its pursuit of nuclear weapon capability. Watch the video below:
Hosted by Michael Graham.4:04 PM, Apr 4, 2013 • By TWS PODCAST
THE WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with editorial assistant Ethan Epstein on North Korea's belligerence. Hosted by Michael Graham.
Iran talks fail again.Jul 16, 2012, Vol. 17, No. 41 • By JOHN BOLTON
The ongoing failure of talks concerning Iran’s nuclear weapons program, most recently in Istanbul on July 3, is no surprise. This latest negotiation charade between Iran and the Security Council’s five permanent members plus Germany (P5+1) is the culmination of 10 years of innumerable diplomatic endeavors. These efforts rested on the erroneous premise that Iran could be talked out of its decades-long effort to build deliverable nuclear weapons.
An Iran with nuclear weapons is the true threat to the world economy.Jan 16, 2012, Vol. 17, No. 17 • By MICHAEL MAKOVSKY AND LAWRENCE GOLDSTEIN
In 1993, James Carville, President Bill Clinton’s political strategist, said that “if there was reincarnation,” he’d like to return as the bond market, because then he could “intimidate everybody.” Today, with interest rates historically low, the fantasy of choice would no doubt be to come back as the oil market, which intimidates even the U.S. government.
Will the increasingly liberal views of the National Association of Evangelicals affect the next election? 2:29 PM, Nov 10, 2011 • By MARK TOOLEY
The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) on November 8 released a new policy that falls just short of urging total nuclear disarmament while surmising that reliance on nukes might be idolatrous.
NAE was founded in the 1940’s to counter the liberal and then influential National Council of Churches, and was historically a conservative bulwark. Its most famous public moment was likely President Ronald Reagan’s 1983 “evil empire” speech to NAE.
3:26 PM, Jun 29, 2011 • By ANNE BAYEFSKY
On Tuesday, the United Nations again made itself an international laughing stock – except perhaps to the American taxpayers who continue to foot 22 percent of the bill – by appointing North Korea chair of the U.N. Conference on Disarmament. That would be the same North Korea that, according to an article this week by Senator John Kerry, head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has “twice tested nuclear weapons…is developing missiles to carry them…has built facilities capable of producing highly enriched uranium for more nuclear weapons” and has defied a U.N. arms embargo by exporting weapons and sensitive technologies to rogue regimes.
The perils of proliferation in the post-Cold War world.Jun 20, 2011, Vol. 16, No. 38 • By MICHAEL ANTON
How the End Begins
The Road to a Nuclear
World War III
The endgame may be coming soon.4:45 PM, Aug 14, 2010 • By MICHAEL ANTON
Speculation about a possible attack on Iranian nuclear sites has reached a fever pitch over the summer. The talk is so wild that even level-headed commentators on the right like Michael Barone opine aloud that perhaps Israel won’t be the instigator; rather the Obama administration might order a U.S. strike.
The time for evasion is over.Jul 26, 2010, Vol. 15, No. 42 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
Last month, we published an editorial under the title “A Period of Consequences.” The phrase was taken from a speech in the House of Commons in late 1936 in which Winston Churchill warned: “The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays is coming to its close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences.”