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Makovsky in Washington Post on Obama letter to Iran

The dumbest move yet on Iran?
By Jennifer Rubin – 11/7/2014

The news media broke (or were given) the story that President Obama penned a letter to Iran’s Supreme Leader:

The letter appeared aimed both at buttressing the campaign against Islamic State and nudging Iran’s religious leader closer to a nuclear deal.


The dumbest move yet on Iran?
By Jennifer Rubin – 11/7/2014

The news media broke (or were given) the story that President Obama penned a letter to Iran’s Supreme Leader:

The letter appeared aimed both at buttressing the campaign against Islamic State and nudging Iran’s religious leader closer to a nuclear deal.

Mr. Obama stressed to Mr. Khamenei that any cooperation on Islamic State was largely contingent on Iran reaching a comprehensive agreement with global powers on the future of Tehran’s nuclear program by a Nov. 24 diplomatic deadline, the same people say. The October letter marked at least the fourth time Mr. Obama has written Iran’s most powerful political and religious leader since taking office in 2009 and pledging to engage with Tehran’s Islamist government.

Writing one letter, let alone four, is among the dumbest moves in a foreign policy with far too many blunders in it already. Even worse, Obama seemed to be suggesting just the sort of alliance critics have suspected was his objective all along and which will certainly terrify Israel and our Sunni allies.

Along with outgoing intelligence chairman Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) a number of senators blasted the move:

Senate Armed Services Committee Republicans John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina upbraided Obama’s actions:

“It is outrageous that, while the cries of moderate Syrian forces for greater U.S. assistance fall on deaf ears in the White House, President Obama is apparently urging Ayatollah Khamenei to join the fight against ISIS,” the senators said in a joint statement.

Graham and McCain, frequent critics of the Obama White House foreign policy, added that cooperating with Iran would “harm U.S. national security interests” and allies with Arab partners.

Later Friday, Sen. Ron Johnson said the report further indicated Obama’s “weakness” in foreign affairs.

“It’s just a further demonstration of this president’s weakness on foreign policy,” the Wisconsin Republican said on MSNBC.

They are right to be concerned. Former deputy national security adviser Elliott Abrams told me, “We are casting ourselves as an inferior power pleading with Tehran to be reasonable. That regime respects only power, and its disrespect for the United States must grow and grow.” At a time when we have leverage we seem only to want to throw it away.” After all, oil prices are dropping through the floor and yet we still importune them?” says Abrams. “In our shoes, they would be squeezing us to death, so they must see this most recent letter as a sure indication we are desperate and are incapable of making life hard for them.”

Click here to read the full article in the Washington Post

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