by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
If Democratic senators who had been his stalwart supporters — voting with him over 97 percent of the time — campaigned on not wanting any connection with Obama, one can imagine what our enemies abroad think of him. If Obama adopted policies of neo-appeasement when he enjoyed a 65 percent approval rating in 2009, one can imagine his approach when his positives dip below 40 percent. But there is no need for imagination when Ali Younesi, the senior adviser to the Iranian president, bluntly dismisses Obama as “the weakest of U.S. presidents” and sums up his six years in office as “humiliating.”
What is dangerous about Younesi’s cruel dismissal of Obama is not that an Iranian high official despises an American president, but that such venom follows an extraordinary effort by Barack Obama to reach out to Tehran. Obama ran in 2008 on a promise to hold face-to-face talks with the Iranian theocracy. He kept mum in the spring of 2009 when a million anti-Khomeini Iranians hit the streets. He leaked occasional unhappiness at any Israeli idea of preempting the Iranian nuclear program. He ignored his own serial “deadlines,” demanding that Iran stop further uranium enrichment. He lifted the comprehensive sanctions to stop enrichment. And he is now stealthily courting Iran as a de facto ally in the American war against the Islamic State.
Given Obama’s ending of the special relationship with Israel (has a high Obama-administration official ever dubbed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Fidel Castro, Hugo Chávez, Vladimir Putin, or Kim Jong-un “a chickens—” or trashed any of them in an open-mike putdown?), there is little likelihood that any state will move to preempt the Iranians’ effort to develop a bomb (for the politically obsessed Obama there would be no political upside any longer, given that after [Tuesday] there will be no more general elections during his tenure).
Accordingly, it is more than likely that in the next two years Iran will become a nuclear power. That fact will immediately change the Middle East. Iran’s getting a bomb will ensure that Iraq and Lebanon become its clients, encourage radical Shiite movements in the Gulf, and push Gulf monarchies and other Sunni “moderates” into even more openly supporting radical terrorist Sunni groups, as they pool resources to obtain their own nuclear deterrent.