- - Monday, November 11, 2013

Saved by the surrender monkeys. We must put away the insults and abuse of the French. They summoned the backbone at Geneva, where the tough guys of the West were trying to cut a deal with Iran to put the ayatollahs’ nuclear weapons program in mothballs.

Barack Obama and David Cameron, the Conservative British prime minister — often sneered at by the French as “the Anglo-Saxons” — were in fact ready to sign whatever stray piece of paper blew over the transom and settled down before them, and it was the French who said no, and said it loud for the needed emphasis. So who are the surrender monkeys now?

Secretary of State John Kerry thought he had a deal to warm the cockles of the heart of anyone who was ever charmed by the sound of the Muslim call to evening prayer — described by Mr. Obama as “one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset” — but it was a deal to chill the blood of anyone in the West who isn’t ready to go to sleep.

The sucker deal that collapsed in the face of French resistance would have allowed Iran to continue enriching uranium, to get on with a plutonium reactor to produce weapons-grade nuclear fuel, to build an unlimited number of the centrifuges crucial to developing nuclear weapons, and to get instant relief from the crippling financial sanctions that have the ayatollahs in Tehran pleading for mercy. It’s that plutonium reactor that was the sticking point. Everyone but the French was ready to cave.

In return, the West would get only promises, promises to not do all the things that it could resume doing whenever it suited them. Mr. Obama loves words. He loves to say them, hear them, fondle them, sniff them, taste them, and then forget them. He wouldn’t expect the promises from the Iranians to mean anything more than his own promises. Fortunately, for once, the French do.

French President Francois Hollande and his government spilled over with righteous anger at his sometime allies, calling the prospective agreement “a sucker’s deal.”

The French quickly got the abuse usually reserved for the United States and Britain. The website Fars, the voice of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard, mocked the French with the insult and comic invective familiar in the West and headlined its commentary: “Difficult negotiation in Geneva and the gunslinging French frog.” France, the semi-official commentator wrote, warming to his task, “is like a frog that drew its gun to give it the feeling of being all-powerful.” Well, maybe not all-powerful, but powerful enough to shame its Anglo-Saxon neighbors and scupper (as the English say) the sucker’s deal.

Suckers, indeed. This was a deal so one-sided a cave man could see through it. It was a deal that went beyond the incompetence and impotence that the Obama administration has established as the standard it’s willing to be measured by. Worse, the deal is naive and artless, as if the administration swallowed whole the media hype that Hassan Rouhani, the president of Iran, is the conciliatory man in charge in Tehran. Mr. Rouhani is actually a puppet of the supreme leader, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who calls every shot aimed at anyone.

Mr. Kerry himself went on Sunday television to rebut the prevailing sentiment, insisting to NBC’s “Meet the Press” that “we are not blind, and I don’t think we’re stupid.”

Well, he’s entitled to his opinion, but he would get an argument in certain precincts of the Middle East, and not just in Jerusalem. Mr. Obama and his administration have made a dog’s breakfast of American policy in the Muslim world. Egypt is more or less openly looking to Russia for weapons. Saudi Arabia, The Wall Street Journal reports, “gave up on this administration long ago,” and the BBC reported last week that the Saudis have nuclear weapons “on order” from Pakistan.

Some of the people in his administration, if not the president himself, no doubt enjoy sticking a thumb in the eyes of the Israelis. From the sound and the looks of it, some of them don’t like Jews very much, and the Israelis make acceptable stand-ins for the Jews they don’t like. The secretary of state made a pre-emptive strike on the Israelis as the villains if his attempt to broker a “peace” deal with the Palestinians fails and war breaks out in the Middle East. That’s when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told him bluntly that “no amount of pressure” could make Israel compromise its security and survival.

Tough stuff. Tougher than usual. Where can we find tough guys like Francois Hollande and Benjamin Netanyahu for America when we need them?

Wesley Pruden is the editor emeritus of The Washington Times.

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