Deal With Devil Done – Obama, Iran Celebrate, World Cringes

By Scott W. Winchell, SUA Editor-in-Chief

By now you must have heard, the Iran deal is done…at least until it goes to Congress. (More on that below)

To start, we at SUA are witnessing what we feared the most – a naive deal has been reached that sets in motion dire times ahead, all on a bet for the Obama/Kerry,Clinton legacy. Russia and Iran have won, and Obama and his P5+1 partners have been ‘owned,’ so have you!

iran20aThis is an unmitigated display of folly, utter naivete, and could be a cataclysmic failure for world. Obama wanted a legacy?

Well as the saying goes, ‘be careful what you ask for, you might get it’… but in this case, we pay for it, because Obama kicked that can again, and a future President and our country, along with our allies will have to pay dearly for it.

The Iranians and the Russians have once again displayed to the world what many of us already knew, and that Iran, Russia, and others did as well; Obama and team were playing ‘Tiddly Winks’ while the pros were playing ‘Three-dimensional Chess.’

Failure once again for the naive, arrogantly ignorant Obama Administration and we pay for the folly of a narcissist and John Kerry, not to mention Hillary Clinton who defended it vehemently today blaming Bush along the way.

The losers are not just we here in the USA, but more importantly, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, Egypt, and the Gulf States to just mention the most endangered.

What Obama and team have done is greasing the skids of what John Bolton warned us about; the nuclear arms race is already on in the Middle East.

So much to digest, so much misinformation, applying 'lipstick to the pig' from Obama, horror and fear for the world. Just look at the volume of analysis at Drudge...
So much to digest, so much misinformation, applying ‘lipstick to the pig’ from Obama, horror and fear for the world. Just look at the volume of analysis at Drudge…

That nuclear arms race will now go into overdrive because the other rich nations in the ME are none to happy, with Obama, and Iran.

A nuclear deal with Tehran, from the Saudi perspective, means two things: Iran will have the ability to improve its economic standing, and the capability to create a nuclear weapon – since the deal will only take effect for a relatively short period of time, 15 years, and will not destroy Iran’s technical capabilities to maintain a nuclear programme.

Both results would strengthen Iran and its allies in the region.

This context of an increasing Iranian influence that thrives on weak central governments and sectarian instability – as seen in Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen – is what ISIL capitalises on in its recruitment drive, according to the Saudi view.

The immediate Saudi reaction to the deal will likely include attempts to revive the dual structure of the regional order: Saudi versus Iran, which existed until the Arab uprisings in 2011 led to the formation of a third camp comprised of  Turkey, Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood.

This camp and Saudi Arabia both exhausted their resources while competing for regional influence, ultimately benefiting Iran. (Read more at Al Jazeera and here at Yahoo.)

Obama and team, including the P5+1, are ‘trusting the untrustworthy,’ and that is putting it mildly at best – how utterly naive, or worse. Maybe Obama really does want that Caliphate to succeed – not with ISIS/ISIL/Daesh, but with Iran in charge, hmmm? (Read into that what you will.)

Deal-with-the-Devil.NuclearIran

They gave away the farm for only a reduction in Iranian advances – ‘can kicked’ – some legacy.

This reckless bet, as Senator Lindsay Graham called it; the sheer insanity of it all, was defended by Obama today. In the release and speech he gave; they declared a victory, and you can view all their graphics and explanations they posted, but critics are tearing them to shreds – rightfully so.

See the White House page on their explanation here, and wait to see how most of it gets debunked for the tripe it truly is – more on that detail to come.

Again, the vast majority of this depends on trusting the Mullahs in Iran. Then there is President Rouhani, the man who just four days ago was at a rally fomenting the crowd on ‘Quds Day’  – “Death to America, death to Israel” in support of the Palestinians.

Obama calls this moment a ‘more hopeful world’ for all. Really? We beg to differ, as do so many who actually understand the whole picture as Obama is trying to apply ‘lipstick on this pig.’

It was only a few weeks ago that Iran surreptitiously acquired more nuclear technology as talks continued – trustworthy? Not on our lives and those of our children and grandchildren. The most vulnerable, and outspoken, are the Israelis…again, rightfully so – ‘one of the darkest days in world history’, we agree.

ObamaWhSpeechIranDeal

The deal itself is packed full of capitulations on our side, has no teeth, is unverifiable, and actually walks us and especially Israel closer to full scale war – apocalyptic war is certainly very possible as Iran now has the money to finance its desires. Is this a “Fine ‘new chapter’ or ‘historic mistake’?”

Overcoming decades of hostility, Iran, the United States, and five other world powers struck a historic accord Tuesday to check Tehran’s nuclear efforts short of building a bomb.

The agreement could give Iran access to billions in frozen assets and oil revenue, stave off more U.S. military action in the Middle East and reshape the tumultuous region.

The deal sets in motion a years-long test of Iran’s willingness to keep its promises to the world — and the ability of international inspectors to monitor compliance.

It also sets the White House up for a contentious fight with a wary Congress and more rocky relations with Israel, whose leaders furiously opposed the agreement.

Appealing to skeptics, President Barack Obama declared that the accord “offers an opportunity to move in a new direction. We should seize it.” The AP/Yahoo is calling that question into the fore:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conference at his Jerusalem office on Tuesday, July 14, 2015. The nuclear deal with Iran could strike a heavy personal blow to Netanyahu, leaving him at odds with the international community and with few options for scuttling an agreement he has spent years trying to prevent. (AP Photo/Oren Ben Hakoon)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conference at his Jerusalem office on Tuesday, July 14, 2015. The nuclear deal with Iran could strike a heavy personal blow to Netanyahu, leaving him at odds with the international community and with few options for scuttling an agreement he has spent years trying to prevent. (AP Photo/Oren Ben Hakoon)

Under terms of the deal, the culmination of 20 months of arduous diplomacy, Iran must dismantle much of its nuclear program in order to secure relief from biting sanctions that have battered its economy.

International inspectors can now press for visits to Iran’s military facilities, though access is not guaranteed. Centrifuges will keep spinning, though in lesser quantities, and uranium can still be enriched, though at lower levels.

In a key compromise, Iran agreed to continuation of the U.N.’s arms embargo on the country for up to five more years and ballistic missile restrictions for up to eight years.

Washington had sought to keep the arms ban in place, while Russia and China joined Iran in pushing for an immediate suspension. (read more here at AP/Yahoo.)

That excerpt does not paint a full picture of the disaster it truly is, and we gave up everything including the ‘kitchen sink’ and got little in return.

IranDealObamaAs the sound bite so famous for Netanyahu’s words; this all but ensures Iran gets nukes, and lots of them.

But it is not just the nukes. Its also many billions in which to support Assad in Syria, Hezbollah across the globes, and small conventional arms of the highest quality.

Iran will soon be able to legally acquire the most sophisticated weapons to render the Gulf its very own pond. Shipping and military forces will face a lethal threat for just navigating the Gulf, let alone passing through the straits of Hormuz with the ‘big dog’ detterent in its pocket; nukes.

The Russians are the winner here as well, because it will be them supplying the arms – game, set, and match again for Putin and that old ‘reset’ button of Hillary Clinton’s – epic failure.

Vladimir Putin enjoys nothing so much as poking the West—and especially, the US—in the eye. But the Iran deal gives Russia tangible winnings, too. The quickest wins are in the prospect of major arms deals: that’s why, of all the so-called P5+1 countries negotiating with Iran, Russia was the most ardent in arguing for the immediate lifting of the UN arms embargo.

Indeed, even before the nuke deal was struck, Moscow was promising delivery of its S-300 missile system to Tehran. Russian oil companies are also limbering up to enter Iran—although they will have stiff competition from the next entry on our list. (Read more here at Quartz.)

It’s not just Russia forcing last minute gains, but also China, Syria, Hamas, Hezbollah, and others who are winning along side Iran… Its also the Quds force and its commander, Suleimani who feel the relief of sanctions as well it appears are going by the wayside; never to reemerge.

The Quds force is the arm of the Iranian government that oversees world-wide terror and is in Iraq now, already a breach of the sanctions.

Now we go to the Congress – where the Constitution’s strictures have been turned on their head. Now, instead of a treaty needing a 2/3 vote to pass the Senate, it now takes a full 2/3 of both Houses to nix it – and sustain a sure veto – one that would ensure the deal goes through. Ask Andy McCarthy about how that all working and read his excellent article this morning that came out before the announcement of the deal – how instructive.

Iran is now a responsible member of the Community of Nations – Hell no! Now he has paved a way to fast track this deal to the UN, that is if Conress continues to capitulate as it decries the whole process, but it ties the hands of all future Presidents to put this ‘toothpaste back into the tube’ – World War III?

One could not have created a better ‘Sarajevo moment’ if one tried – beware, here it comes.

 

 

Iran Gets Gold – Threatens to Ratchet Up Nuclear Program

Editor’s Note – Obama and John Kerry appear to be living in an alternate universe where definitions of words are different and the facts are fungible. At every juncture, Iran comes out on top and the P5+1 looks weaker and weaker.

The so-called deadline, like other ‘red lines’ from the past, have no meaning. These are talking points that Obama has no problem ignoring, yet the Iranians keep holding the west to its agreements regarding sanctions on time. Now they have billions more and no agreement seems likely.KerryObamaWalkaway

Additionally, as the days move along, Iran continues to make threats regarding not reaching an agreement, and insists on things that Obama and the P5+1 should have walked away from long ago. Now they threaten to ratchet up their nuclear plans if an agreement is not reached:

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani hinted this week that Iran would decide to fully pursue its nuclear program in a way “harsher than what they [the United States can] imagine” if Western powers fail to uphold any nuclear agreement expected to be finalized in the coming days.

Rouhani’s comments come as negotiators in Vienna struggle to solve disagreements over a range of issues concerning the future of Tehran’s nuclear program. The ongoing disputes prevented the sides from finalizing the agreement before a self-imposed June 30 deadline. Talks are now expected to continue through July 9. (Read more here.)

This is called ‘having your cake and eating it too‘. Epic failure and sheer lunacy. Obama is establishing a legacy – a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, where evil people are empowered and are armed with the worst weapons. The chess masters are winning again.

3d render of gold bars background

Iran Repatriates 13 Tons of Gold Under Sanctions Relief

Iran to receive $11.9 billion in sanctions relief as nuclear negotiations end

By Adam Kredo – Washington Free Beacon

VIENNA—Iranian officials said Monday that the Islamic Republic’s Central Bank has successfully repatriated 13 tons of gold as part of a package of sanctions relief provided to Iran by U.S. and Western powers.

The gold was transferred to Iran by the government of South Africa, which had been holding onto the assets due to harsh sanctions meant to pressure Tehran to rein in its rogue nuclear program.

The gold appears to have been released as part of a sanctions relief package that will have awarded Iran nearly $12 billion in unfrozen cash assets by the time negotiations wrap up next week.

Iran received $4.2 billion in unfrozen assets under the 2013 interim agreement with the United States and was then given another $2.8 billion by the Obama administration last year in a bid to keep Tehran committed to the talks.IranCake2

The State Department calculates that Iran will have received a total of $11.9 billion in cash assets.

The governor of Iran’s Central Bank announced to the country’s state-controlled media that the South Africans have finally returned the 13 tons of gold.

“A sum of 13 tons of gold that had been purchased before and was deposited in South Africa in the past two years and could not be transferred to Iran due to the sanctions… was delivered to the Central Bank of Iran’s treasury last night,” Central Bank Governor Valiollah Seif was quoted as saying by the Fars News Agency.

Seif said Iranian officials had been working for some time to secure the gold’s release, but that the country was prevented from doing so as a result of the “illogical problems that were created under the pretext of the sanctions.”

“The removal of Iran’s sanctions and gaining access to the country’s financial and gold resources abroad is one of the main objectives of Iran’s negotiating team in the ongoing nuclear talks,” Fars reported.

Meanwhile, Iran’s ambassador to Paris this weekend stressed that his country’s main objective in the talks is to end international sanctions, which had nearly crippled Iran’s economy at their peak.

“Fortunately, the West has come to realize that the weapon of sanctions has not been effective and has been forced to change its approach and recognize Iran’s legitimate rights,” the official was quoted as saying on Tuesday.

Iran’s GDP has grown 3 percent in the last year, prompting experts to warn that ongoing sanctions still imposed on Tehran are not working.

“The report represents the latest sign of improvement in Iran’s economy in part as a result of the partial sanctions relief it received after signing an interim nuclear agreement in November 2013,”according to Iranian expert Saeed Ghasseminejad, an associate fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD).

This rate of growth has enabled Iran to grow its oil sector and halve its rate of inflation.

“The erosion of the sanctions regime raise serious questions over Western countries’ leverage over Tehran in nuclear negotiations, and whether reaching an acceptable nuclear deal is even possible,” Ghasseminejad said.

NPR Interview – Obama Talks About Iran, Embassy?

Editor’s Note – In an interview with NPR, one delayed for over 11 days, Obama reveals his true intent once again toward despots, strongmen, and tyrants.  Obama shocked the world many times with his appeasement mentality, but just recently Cuba was perhaps the biggest – now Iran?

He talks about Iran with ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ but he also extols their virtues. He raises several in his opinion by saying:

 ‘…there’s incredible talent and resources and sophistication inside of Iran, and it would be a very successful regional power that was also abiding by international norms and international rules, and that would be good for everybody.’ (Emphasis added)

Obama in the NPR interview.
Obama in the NPR interview.

Of course he hinges everything on how Iran acts toward international norms on nuclear energy use, but that in and of itself is incredibly naive or is part of his grander scheme – let Iran become a nuclear power.

His legacy would certainly be etched deeply if he were to unilaterally open an embassy again in Tehran just like he intends for Cuba, but we have news for him – that is not in the ‘best interests’ of America as he quotes himself.

It’s not a good legacy and it insults all previous actions taken by our bravest in the past over the entire region. What about our allies in the region?

‘And what I said then remains true: If I thought it advances American interests, yes. I believe in diplomacy, I believe in dialogue, I believe in engagement.’

Does Obama ever listen to the actual words spoken by the Mullahs in Tehran? “Successful regional power?” What does that mean? Apparently he thinks they will play nice with their neighbors in the Sunni world and/or Israel, really? Iran does not intend on being a regional power; it never has – it’s goal is far greater and Israel would cease to exist in that scenario.

He also believes that he has isolated Iran more than ever – really? Iran is openly working with Iraq against IS and is certainly in the good graces of Russia, China, and the Assad Regime in Syria – isolation? Talking to liars and expecting positive results is surely the work of the naive – a naivete nurtured for over six years.

Then there is the matter of calling Tehran a country, not Iran’s capital city. Read on and judge for yourself, and then ask why the interview was delayed:

Olive branch to the mullahs:

Obama won’t rule out embassy in TEHRAN but says the Iranian capital is a country – not a city

  • Interview was conducted in the Oval Office the day after Obama said he would normalize relations with Cuba – but held back for 11 days
  • Embassy in Tehran would be the first since 1979 hostage crisis, which Iranians still celebrate as the ‘Conquest of the American Spy Den’
  • Obama said if Iran proves it’s not seeking nuclear weapons, it would become a ‘very successful regional power’
  • Claimed credit for isolating Tehran through economic sanctions

By David Martosko, Us Political Editor For Dailymail.com – Daily Mail

President Barack Obama said Monday that Iran might join Cuba as a second rogue state to enjoy normalized diplomatic relations with the United States under his administration.

In a 40-minute interview with National Public Radio conducted on December 18 – but held back for 11 days – the radio network’s senior morning host quizzed Obama in the Oval Office about a wide range of policy positions, including his plans for the Middle East.

‘Is there any scenario under which you can envision, in your final two years, opening a U.S. embassy in Tehran?’ asked NPR’s Steve Inskeep. ‘I never say never,’ Obama replied, while allowing that ‘I think these things have to go in steps.’

Mullahs
The winners as usual – the Mullahs

The unprecedented olive branch pointed in the direction of Iran’s mullahs will stoke controversy among older Americans who recall the 1979 hostage crisis in the last embassy Washington maintained there. Fifty-two Americans, mostly diplomatic personnel, were taken hostage in November of that year and held for 444 days but a group of student revolutionaries.

In Iran the event is still celebrated as the ‘Conquest of the American Spy Den.’ Few observers believe Iran is interested in proving its stated intentions to abandon its nuclear-weapons ambitions by the time Obama leaves office in January 2017.

But the president believes there’s a chance. ‘We have to get this nuclear issue resolved – and there’s a chance to do it,’ he said, ‘and the question’s going to be whether or not Iran is willing to seize it.’

If the country’s anti-America hardliners yield to more moderate voices, he predicted, ‘there’s incredible talent and resources and sophistication inside of Iran, and it would be a very successful regional power that was also abiding by international norms and international rules, and that would be good for everybody.’

‘That would be good for the United States, that would be good for the region, and most of all, it would be good for the Iranian people.’  Obama shocked the world – and angered America’s Cuban emigres – with a December 17 announcement that he would re-establish formal ties with the Raul Castro regime in Havana.

But speaking to NPR eleven days ago, he painted Iran differently – noting that a more recent history of aggression makes U.S.-Iran relations ‘different from the history between us and Cuba.’ ‘And the strategic importance of Tehran is – or Iran – is different from what we face with Cuba.’

The Islamic republic, he reminded Inskeep, ‘has a track record of state-sponsored terrorism, that we know was attempting to develop a nuclear weapon.’ But in the same breath Obama said ‘Tehran is a large, sophisticated country.’

Tehran is Iran’s capital city.

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That lapse aside, Obama emphasized Monday a theme that he has grappled with since the heady days of his first presidential campaign: the prospect of changing the global diplomatic map by bringing unfriendly nations under America’s wing.

‘I was asked very early in my presidential race back in 2007 – would I meet with these various rogue regimes?’ he recalled.obamarouhani_s640x427

‘And what I said then remains true: If I thought it advances American interests, yes. I believe in diplomacy, I believe in dialogue, I believe in engagement.’ He also claimed credit for what he characterized as a realignment of global attitudes toward Iran:

‘When I came into office, the world was divided and Iran was in the driver’s seat,’ Obama said.  But through economic sanctions, ‘now the world’s united because of the actions we’ve taken, and Iran’s the one that’s isolated.’

‘I mean, there’s a reason why we’ve been able to get this far in the negotiations,’ he said: ‘We mobilized the international community at the start of my presidency – a classic example of American leadership.’

But Iran’s supreme religious authorities, who run the country despite the fig leaf of a constitutional government, has ‘a path to break through that isolation,’ Obama declared. ‘And they should seize it.’

Obama drew criticism in 2008 for subtly changing his positiion on negotiating with antagonistic countries. Speaking to an audience of Jewish advocates in June of that year, he insisted that he had ‘no interest in sitting down with our adversaries just for the sake of talking.’

‘But as president of the United States, I would be willing to lead tough and principled diplomacy with the appropriate Iranian leaders at a time and place of my choosing if and only if it can advance the interest of the United States.’

But during a debate eight months earlier he was asked whether he would be willing to meet Iran’s leaders ‘without precondition,’ during the first year of his administration.

‘I would,’ then-Senator Obama replied. ‘And the reason is this: the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them – which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this [George W. Bush] administration – is ridiculous.’

Obama Iran Agenda – 2nd Term Legacy Item Akin to ObamaCare

Editor’s Note – It is now official, Iran is Obama’s legacy goal for his second term just as ObamaCare was his first term legacy item. How do we know this? Ben Rhodes, a White House advisor tells us so in the article below. This may be new to most of the country, but it has been a theme of many of SUA’s Research Analyst, Denise Simon’s for a long time.

Her most recent article: “Iran Wins, the World Loses – Thanks Mr. Obama” on the subject and is one in a long series of articles pointing out the true goals of the Obama Administration on a nuclear Iran and the region. Please read that article and the following:

The Coming Détente with Iran

Column: Deputy National Security Adviser: Iran Deal ‘Is Healthcare For Us’

By Matthew Continetti – The Washington Free Beacon

Deputy National Security Adviser and MFA in creative writing Ben Rhodes likened an Iranian nuclear deal to Obamacare in a talk to progressive activists last January, according to audio obtained by theWashington Free Beacon.

The remarks, made at a since-discontinued regular meeting of White House personnel and representatives of liberal interest groups, reveal the importance of a rapprochement with Iran to President Obama, who is looking to establish his legacy as his presidency enters its lame-duck phase.

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“Bottom line is, this is the best opportunity we’ve had to resolve the Iranian issue diplomatically, certainly since President Obama came to office, and probably since the beginning of the Iraq war,” Rhodes said. “So no small opportunity, it’s a big deal. This is probably the biggest thing President Obama will do in his second term on foreign policy. This is healthcare for us, just to put it in context.”

Rhodes made the comparison as the White House was reeling from the botched rollout of the $2 billion Healthcare.gov. Polls continue to show that the health law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, remains unpopular.

Rhodes also said the White House wants to avoid congressional scrutiny of any deal.

“We’re already kind of thinking through, how do we structure a deal so we don’t necessarily require legislative action right away,” Rhodes said. “And there are ways to do that.”

That is similar to what an unnamed senior administration official told David Sanger of the New York Times last week for a piece headlined “Obama Sees an Iran Deal That Could Avoid Congress”: “We wouldn’t seek congressional legislation in any comprehensive agreement for years.”

White House spokesman Eric Schultz denied the Times story. But it is not as though the Obama White House has fallen out of love with executive action.

The interim deal with Iran struck in November 2013, in which the administration traded sanctions relief worth billions of dollars for promises to limit nuclear fuel production, was extended in July and is now scheduled to lapse on November 24.

“I’m not going to give it odds,” Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday of the chances of a final deal. “As I said to the president, I’m not going to express optimism, I’m going to express hope.”

And I am going to express fear. Fear that the chances of some sort of dangerous and misguided détente with Iran are high, and that they increase if Republicans capture the Senate and improve their majority in the House. Fear that the worse things get for Obama at home, the better the odds that he will hand the keys of the Middle East to Ayatollah Khamenei.

Fear that Obama sees an Iran deal not just as health care reform for the second term, but as his version of George W. Bush’s surge: a Hail Mary pass thrown in the fourth quarter in a long-shot attempt to salvage a legacy.

Bush ordered the surge despite having just lost an election. Obama is on the verge of losing another. And Obama will be no different from Bush in the pursuit of his desired ends.

Iran is Obama’s Iraq. It occupies the same place in the thinking of his administration that Iraq held in his predecessor’s. The desire for détente with Iran, for comity and diplomatic accord between longtime enemies, for a new Middle East in which security is left to regional stakeholders, and Shiite and Sunni alike see the United States as “evenhanded” in its treatment of Israelis and Palestinians, holds immense sway over the alliance of progressives and realists that conduct American foreign policy. It has for a decade.

“The support group should actively engage Iran and Syria in its diplomatic dialogue, without preconditions,” stated the report of the 2006 Iraq Study Group, authored in part by Ben Rhodes.

“To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent,” President Obama said in his first Inaugural Address, “know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

He might as well have said it in Farsi.

Can’t you just see Obama and Jarrett, kicking back after a few glasses of Bordeaux at Restaurant Helen, rhapsodizing over the president’s unique perspective on the global south, quoting lines fromArgo, visualizing the day he makes the first presidential visit to Tehran since Carter? For six years the White House has been careful not to provide the Iranians with any reason to reject negotiations, to prevent his fantasy from becoming real. To the contrary: It has been solicitous of Iran and Syria, in a demonstration of its willingness to address their grievances.

That is why Democrats called Bashar al-Assad a reformer, why Obama remained silent during the 2009 protests over Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s rigged election, why the State Department doesn’t include human rights or ballistic missiles in the scope of its negotiations with Iran. It is why Obama has resisted overthrowing Assad even after he crossed the red line of chemical weapons use, why he refers to the “Islamic republic of Iran,” bestowing legitimacy on the revolutionary regime, and why administration officials reject congressional proposals to reinstate sanctions should the negotiations with Iran fail.

These decisions are not made in light of the national security interests of the United States. They are made to keep alive President Obama’s dream of peace with Iran. And the purpose of these decisions isn’t to mollify American politicians. It’s to satisfy Iranian ones.

“In the Iranian system, you essentially have three broad categories, to generalize,” Rhodes said last January. “You’ve got people who generally want to do a negotiation—I don’t know if they’re called moderates, but there are certainly people on their side who are serious about a deal.

“Then you’ve got hardliners who don’t want a deal at all and feel threatened by what’s going on. Then you’ve got people in the middle who are basically invested in this because the sanctions are hurting a lot and they feel compelled to do it. And they would do a deal in order to get one.”

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According to Rhodes’ logic, any move by the Americans that strengthens the hardliners at the expense of the other two groups decreases the chances of a deal. Our foreign policy is left hamstrung, in a vain and counterproductive and quite likely futile attempt to put Obama in the history books as the man who reestablished ties between the United States and Iran.

A Republican Congress would not only find itself ignored by the White House. It would find itself powerless to stop détente. The Democratic Congress voted repeatedly for timelines for withdrawal from Iraq. Bush vetoed them. Obama would do the same.

But there is one x-factor: Supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei, whose anti-Americanism is as deep as his Shiite radicalism. He has thwarted the ambitions of past American presidents who hoped to reconcile our two nations. There is no reason to assume he has had a change of heart. He is as aware as anyone of the president’s waning political fortunes.

Repudiated, isolated, ineffective, stymied, Obama cannot persuade the Iranians of the strength of the American position. So he will move as far as he can in the direction of the Iranian one. Unable to make Iran pro-American, he will settle for making America pro-Iranian. It is part of his dismal, pathetic, ill considered, shortsighted, and injurious “legacy.”

Kalugin – Putin has already won!

Editor’s Note – After the now famous “six words” Obama uttered Thursday – we don’t have a strategy yet” for dealing with ISIS, (or ISIL as Obama prefers to call them) in Syria, it was just more proof that Obama is terribly feckless and weak, and Putin and others know it well. Therefore the Ukrainian issue is a forgone conclusion, at least according to Oleg Kalugin.

Putin even mentioned that no one should ever “mess with nuclear-armed Russia” as if Obama and others needed to be reminded of their still large arsenal. Despite NATO troops and equipment moving into Lithuania, Ukraine and Poland, Putin is not intimidated.ObamaPutinSerious

Vladimir Putin raised the spectre of nuclear war with the West on Friday as he defied international condemnation over his decision to send thousands of Russian troops and heavy armour into Ukraine.

Accused by Europe and Nato of launching a full-scale invasion of eastern Ukraine, the Russian leader boasted to a group of Russian youngsters that “It’s best not to mess with us.”

In language not seen since the height of the Cold War, he told his audience: “Thank God, I think no one is thinking of unleashing a large-scale conflict with Russia. I want to remind you that Russia is one of the leading nuclear powers.” (Read the rest here.)

Kalugin just may be correct:

Ex-KGB General: Russia Has Already Won 

By Joel Gehrke – National Review Online

Russia has already won “the real victory”​ in Ukraine, according to a former KGB general living in the United States.

Russian Nuke“The Crimea is now Russian, that’s very important,” Oleg Kalugin, one of the top Soviet spies in the United States during the Cold War, told National Review Online. “Southeast of Ukraine, that’s part of the general battle between the Russians and Ukrainians, but it’s not as crucial as the real victory and pride of Russia — the Crimea, I mean.”

The Thursday-morning phone interview took place in the context of media reports that Russia had invaded Ukraine, but Kalugin reiterated that he does not believe Russian president Vladimir Putin wants annex another region of the country.

Oleg Kalugin
Oleg Kalugin

“I believe they’re just trying to do their best to keep as much as they can of pro-Russian population and communities in that area; but Russia does not plan, I am sure, to take the southeastern part of Ukraine just like they did with the Crimea,” Kalugin said.

“It will certainly do it’s best to provide secure access to the Crimea through that part of Ukraine, because otherwise the Crimea can only be accessed by the Black Sea, by water, and this is not the safest way,” he added.

Kalugin said he doubts Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko’s claims that “Russian troops were brought into Ukraine.”

“For political leaders, it’s important to maintain their stance and make people feel that things are still quite dangerous while he may know well that things are going to a peaceful solution,” Kalugin said. “Russia will not move any [troops] forward while western nations are alerted” due to the risk of expanded economic sanctions.

“It’s not in the interest of Putin,” Kalugin said. “His position as of today is fairly strong in the country, in his own country, so why put it at risk by moving further?”

Although Kalugin expects the Russians to keep a “low-profile” in Ukraine, he agreed that Putin has an interest in fomenting unrest in the country by providing weaponry and perhaps special forces assistance to the separatists.

“The tactical victory would be most likely the pro-Russian forces in that part of Ukraine will eventually triumph and Russia will be satisfied,” he said. “It will not necessarily be exactly to a Russian notion of how things should be, but at least it will not be pro-NATO, pro-Western.”