by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Obama still talks of his “change” legacy, as if altering something necessarily meant improving it. Pulling all U.S. peacekeepers out of Iraq certainly changed the dynamics there, as ISIS can testify. The current talks with Iran will change Iranian ideas about how best to get the bomb. Normalizing relations with Stalinist Cuba also changes — as in increases — that regime’s viability.
Jimmy Carter was asked to evaluate President Obama’s foreign-policy record. He concluded that it was hard to identify any improvement in our relations with any nation since Obama took office, defining change as change for the worse. Carter for once is probably right. Some of our outright enemies — Vladimir Putin, for example — have changed by showing even more contempt for us than they did in 2008, apparently on the Munich pattern that appeasement wins, not praise for magnanimity, but rather contempt for obsequiousness. Hitler, remember, vowed to stomp on his benefactor, Neville Chamberlain, after the latter gave him what he wanted in 1938. “Worms,” the Führer scoffed of his appeasers.
Iran so far has repaid Obama’s indulgence by blowing up a mock U.S. aircraft carrier in military drills, de facto running affairs in three other Middle Eastern states — Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen — and brazenly renouncing almost all the basic elements of prior nonproliferation understandings, from on-site inspections to cessation of enrichment to kickback sanctions in the event of noncompliance. Iran embraces change, and looks forward to a nuclear future.
Apparently, the theocracy sees Barack Obama and John Kerry as hell-bent changers, willing to achieve their own legacies at the expense of the interests of their country and its allies — and thus as bewildering and worthy of contempt in a world where leaders are expected to promote their own people’s interests. Expect the geriatric Castros to share the same contempt for American outreach, and to double down on their anti-Americanism and their ruthless suppression of freedom to add spite to the embarrassment of U.S. appeasement. They see U.S. recognition as a big change that will further empower their police state.