- - Wednesday, April 1, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

We all know how desperate President Obama has been to strike a nuclear deal with Iran.

But what about his first handmaiden of foreign policy, Hillary Clinton?

She’s been attempting to position herself as a more responsible alternative to Mr. Obama, interested in applying “smart power” rather than “no power.” So, how desperate was she to reach a deal with Tehran?

Well, at one point in 2010, she abandoned whatever modicum of dignity she had left and stalked the Iranian foreign minister like a wild-eyed ex-girlfriend.

At a gala dinner in Bahrain that year, she literally chased Manouchehr Mottaki around the room, hoping to get a word with him, only to be completely blown off. Mrs. Clinton told reporters on the plane ride home, “I got up to leave and he was sitting several seats down from me and he saw me and he stopped and began to turn away. And I said, ‘Hello, minister!’ And he just turned away.”

Denied. But Hillary went back for another insult. While they were both standing outside waiting for their motorcades, Mrs. Clinton called out to Mr. Mottaki again, only to be met once more by his stony silence.

I’m just surprised she was able to pry herself away from her private email server long enough to run around a ballroom in her sensible shoes, begging the representative of the world’s foremost terrorist regime to acknowledge her existence.

Today it’s Gucci loafer-wearing Secretary of State John Kerry, but the U.S. prostration continues.

How did we get here?

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Mr. Obama had promised to open negotiations with Iran “without preconditions.” Several months after he became president, Mr. Obama sent good tidings to the regime at the start of the Iranian new year. He offered “the promise of a new beginning” that was “grounded in mutual respect.” That came after his Inaugural Address announcement that he’d cozy up to enemies like Iran: “To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, 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.”

Iran greeted his “extended hand” by grabbing three American hikers on its border and holding them for two years, escalating war games and threatening to close the Straits of Hormuz, though which over one-third of the world’s oil flows.

And yet, Mr. Obama was so obsessed with striking a grand bargain with Iran that nothing would dissuade him — not even the regime’s mass slaughter of its own people.

He thought through the sheer force of his awesomeness he’d convince the mullahs to change course. That, of course, was absurd on its face. Once Iran got a nuke, it would dominate the Persian Gulf, threaten Israel’s very survival and set off a regional nuclear arms race. The entire Middle East would explode in nuclear-weapons driven instability, but Iran would be driving the bus. Tehran was getting tantalizingly close to its game-changing possession of a nuke just as Mr. Obama was making a yahoo out of himself with his “extended hand.”

The Iranians knew that with Mr. Obama, they were facing a committed leftist who believed in downgrading his own country’s power while running headlong into their arms. They had hit the jackpot.

So they dragged out negotiations through the United Nations and the Europeans for years. A lot of talking was done, mostly by everyone but the Iranians. In November 2009, Team Obama said it was willing to give Iran more time to decide whether to accept a U.N.-brokered deal to get Iran to move its stocks of low-enriched uranium to Russia or another country in exchange for fuel for a nuclear medicine laboratory. Iran hemmed and hawed, asked for countless amendments and more talks. Team Obama offered all kinds of incentives, but predictably, the Iranians bailed on the deal.

Sound familiar? This is what the Iranians do: They perform a deal striptease and then pull the uranium rug out at the last moment. Meanwhile, they get closer to the bomb.

Without truly regime-ending sanctions, Iran will continue its march toward becoming a nuclear-armed terrorist state, unless the United States or Israel takes some form of military action to foster regime change, or at least set the program back, as the Israelis did by bombing Saddam Hussein’s Osirak nuclear facility in 1981 and a suspect nuclear facility in Syria in 2007.

Absent direct military action or a full covert campaign against Iran’s nuke program, however, Tehran will careen headlong to a “breakout” moment with its nuclear program, giving the regime — which denies the Holocaust, calls for eliminating Israel, supports al Qaeda, Hezbollah and Hamas, exports international terror, is creating a new Persian empire across the Middle East and has helped to kill American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan — the ability to extort and commit mass murder with the ultimate weapon of mass destruction.

Monica Crowley is online opinion editor at The Washington Times.

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