One if the points that the Democrats have harped over the past seven years is what they perceive as President Bush “going it alone” on foreign policy. In fact during the last campaign, Senator John Kerry said that he would as the EU and the United Nations for “permission” every time he made a move.
Thats one of the things that is so crazy about Senator Obama’s flip-flops on Iran. If you remember, first he said that he would meet with them, no preconditions. Since then he has been doing his best to move away from the “no preconditions” line. The EU is becoming more concerned whether a “President Obama” (God Forbid) would ignore the UNANIMOUS UN Security Council demand that Iran cease its uranium enrichment. In other words, will Obama go it alone ?:
OBAMA VS. EUROPE O’S UNILATERALISM OUTRAGES EU SLIDES
DOES Barack Obama intend to break the united front that the Bush administration has built to deal with Iran’s nuclear ambitions? The question, posed by US allies in Europe and the Middle East, shows the growing concerns about Obama’s contradictory remarks on the issue. Initially, Obama announced that he’d seek unconditional talks with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Later, he changed that to talks with “appropriate Iranian leaders” and tried to skirt the “unconditional” bit of his pledge by saying that some “preparatory work” might be needed before he’d sit with an Iranian interlocutor. What isn’t clear is whether Obama would insist that Iran respect the unanimous decision of the UN Security Council to stop uranium enrichment. The new UN compromise package, presented by the European Union foreign-policy czar Javier Solana to the mullahs this month, is structured around the demand that Iran stop enrichment as prerequisite for dialogue. Tehran, however, insists that the enrichment issue is “closed for ever” – clearly hoping that an Obama administration would endorse that position. If the US is likely to drop that key demand soon, there’s no reason why Iran should meet it now. Obama, in other words, pulled the carpet from under Solana’s feet while the mullahs watched and chuckled. European anxiety about possible US defection under a President Obama is reflected in an op-ed published last week by British Foreign Secretary David Milliband. In it, he insists that diplomatic efforts backed by UN resolutions shouldn’t be interrupted or sidelined. By ignoring the European Union and the United Nations, Obama would only encourage the Khomeinist leadership’s most radical factions. French President Nicolas Sarkozy also worries that an Obama administration might “give the mullahs what they want.” Francois Heisbourg, who helped author Sarkozy’s new national-defense review, warns that Obama’s position could undermine confidence in US leadership. “Dropping a unanimous Security Council condition would simply be interpreted by Iran and America’s allies as unconditional surrender and America’s friends would view this as confirmation of America’s basic unreliability,” Heisbourg, one of Europe’s leading strategic analysts, told The Washington Post – “a hell of a way to start a presidential term.” Heisbourg has published a book arguing that Iran’s nuclear ambitions, if not nipped in the bud, could lead to bigger and costlier conflicts, even war. Obama’s potentially dangerous stance is the result of a naive belief that he could persuade the mullahs to do what several other countries have done – abandoning their nuclear ambitions. The point is hammered in an op-ed co-authored by Zbigniew Bzrezinski last week. Bzrezinski, President Jimmy Carter’s former national security adviser and now one of Obama’s “grand old men,” claims that Tehran is seeking the bomb because the Bush administration is threatening it with military action. Hmm. The latest volume in the memoirs of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, published last year, states that the mullahs started their secret nuclear program in 1984 have – 16 years before Bush won the Oval Office. Bzrezinski doesn’t explain why he expects the mullahs to abandon a program that they’ve clung to in the face of diplomatic isolation, economic sanctions and the threat of war. He demonstrates a remarkable ignorance of the facts of international life when he claims that Iran would voluntarily give up its quest for nuclear weapons, presumably because of Obama’s undeniable charm. Yes, several nations have scrapped nuclear programs at different times. But all did so after the regime that had started the program had been consigned to the dustbin of history: Germany, after Hitler was gone; South Africa, once the apartheid regime had collapsed; Brazil and Argentina, after the military regimes that had started the programs were toppled. Ukraine and Kazakhstan gave up their nuclear weapons after the USSR’s fall enabled them to become independent and build new regimes. Rather than weakening what is, after all, his own side, Obama should support the EU-US package that Solana presented with unanimous support from the Security Council. He can, if he so wishes, keep the door open for a tete à tete with “appropriate Iranian leaders” – but he shouldn’t give the impression that he’s breaking the UN-backed coalition that’s trying to persuade Tehran to reconsider its dangerous ambitions. Sabotaging the Solana mission wouldn’t make it any easier for a putative President Obama to charm the mullahs out of their deadly hubris.