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Clinton miscalculates on Iran

By
From page A13 | February 05, 2014 |

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates sure had it right: Hillary Clinton, confronted with the choice between responsible and intellectually consistent foreign policy and the chance to endear herself to the isolationist left in the Democratic Party’s primary base, will choose the latter.

She did on the Iraq surge, and she just did it on Iran sanctions in a letter to Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Armed Services Committee:

“As President Obama has said, we must give diplomacy a chance to succeed, while keeping all options on the table . . . (New sanctions) could rob us of the diplomatic high ground we worked so hard to reach, break the united international front we constructed, and in the long run, weaken pressure on Iran by opening the door for other countries to chart a different course.”

This is the same twisted logic employed by President Obama and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. She acknowledges that sanctions brought Iran to the table, but she now argues that to keep sanctions as a backstop to force Iran to agree to a deal acceptable to the West could mean war. This, incidentally, is precisely Iran’s line. Moreover, Clinton, like Obama, Paul and Secretary of State John Kerry, ignore the obvious: No sane observer – including members of the Senate – thinks all options are on the table. Long ago this president made clear he has no interest in using U.S. power. It is either sanctions or Israel that will prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.

From the political angle, Clinton, biding her time, was once again seen as the opportunist waiting to see which way the wind was blowing. So she coughed up a statement on her own views. That statement, however, leaves her in the hot seat. She can’t deny responsibility for the likely disastrous end to the policy, since she has embraced it entirely. Perhaps left-wing primary voters don’t care, but having “lost” Iran will for all intents and purposes disqualify her as commander in chief.

As for the policy, the administration has weakened its own hand while promising a result that does not leave Iran’s program on the threshold of breakout. If it doesn’t get such an agreement, it will be hard-pressed to declare victory.

The problem is not sanctions per se but an Iran policy that is completely disconnected from the ends the United States seeks. Barring a miracle, Obama, Clinton, Paul and other sanctions opponents will have the unenviable distinction of helping to foster either war or a nuclear-armed Iran.

Jennifer Rubin is a columnist for The Washington Post. Reach her at jennifer.rubin@washpost.com.

Jennifer Rubin

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Discussion | 3 comments

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  • G-ManFebruary 05, 2014 - 2:10 am

    It seems we'll never learn..You can't negotiate with these people..their only goal is an Islamic dominated world and the destruction of Judeo Christian Society..and the Islamic extremists have a naïve,incompetent, and weak adversary in Washington DC...sure we send up a drone here or there..,obama will make speeches on how Al Queda is decimated..the newly Al Queda occupied cities in Iraq that we spent so much blood and treasure to liberate tell a different story...And now comes Hillary Rodham Clinton..the one promoted as able,willing and qualified to take that 3AM call...guess her line was busy when Benghazi called...And as is now being reported the reason the job of going on 5 different talk shows and basically just lying about the Benghazi attacks fell to Amb.Susan Rice was that her boss Hillary was too distraught and overwhelmed by the magnitude of it all...Really?..If that's true do we really want some one of this caliber as Commander in Chief?..Awake America..You're still a very young Nation if you want to become an old Nation wake up.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rhee MedboyFebruary 05, 2014 - 6:29 pm

    Clinton--the last nail in the coffin. Between ineptness, pandering, and her enemies list, it's hard to imagine she'll be any better. But, it really doesn't matter. The youth put in the first black president, and the women will put in the first female president.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • G-ManFebruary 05, 2014 - 6:38 pm

    Perhaps but remember Romney won the white male vote and the white female vote..Conservative females won't vote for a sham like HRC..as sure as Conservative Blacks wouldn't vote for obama..I give women more credit than you obviously do..but I understand your concern..we all should be concerned.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
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