- - Wednesday, August 5, 2015


President Obama is beginning to sound like a president running scared. He used “a major speech” Wednesday in Washington to defend his indefensible “deal” with Iran, and compared Republican critics of the deal to the hard-liners in Iran. Secretary of State John Kerry used a cleaned-up barnyard vulgarism in a magazine interview to describe what these Republican critics are trying to do to the poor ayatollahs in Tehran.

He sounded alternately sympathetic to his critics, and then insulting: “I realize that resorting to force may be tempting in the face of the rhetoric and behavior that emanates from parts of Iran. It is offensive. It is incendiary. We do take it seriously.” But. (You can always see a big “but” coming).

“It’s those hard-liners [in Iran] chanting ‘death to America’ who have been most opposed to the deal,” says the president, resorting to the ancient device of asserting guilt-by-association. “They’re making common cause with the Republican caucus.”

He no longer blames George W. Bush for his administration’s misadventures, and we haven’t heard assertions lately that criticism of the president’s bad deals at home and abroad is merely an ugly outbreak of racism. That’s progress of a kind, we suppose.

John Kerry takes a different tack in an interview with Atlantic magazine. He warns against hurting the feelings of the ayatollahs, and damaging the good faith of the Obama administration. If the United States renounces the deal Mr. Obama made with the big ayatollah, there’s no way he will ever trust America again. “He will not come back to negotiate. Out of dignity, out of a suspicion that you can’t trust America.”

If America does not buy Mr. Obama’s unexamined pig in a poke, the “moderate” regime of Hassan Rouhani would collapse, even if it looks collapsed already in every Western capital but Washington. President Obama has become what negotiators call “acting as the lawyer for the opposition, or negotiating against yourself.”

It’s what happens when you want a deal, any deal, far more than your negotiating partner. Tehran has answered Mr. Obama’s obsequious endorsement of the good faith of the mullahs and the pact he made with them, resorting to mockery and insults of critics in America and abroad.

The president himself finally conceded Wednesday what everybody has been saying, that Iran would use cash from sanctions relief to pay for new terrorism everywhere. “The truth is,” the president says, “Iran has always found a way to fund these efforts. And whatever benefit Iran may claim from sanctions relief pales in comparison to the danger it could pose with a nuclear weapon.”

Indeed it does, and this is what makes Mr. Obama’s deal with radical and unrepentant Islamists a deal barely short of a suicide pact. Mr. Obama speaks of dignity and good faith, as if he has not fatally abused it in pursuit of his aims to “transform” America in ways only now coming fully transparent. In his pique and frustration he argues and demeans his domestic and partisan critics in a way that previous presidents would not have done, accusing them of making common cause with the enemy.

President Obama has his Iran nuclear deal, composed of equal parts hope, abject submission to those who wish America only ill and subterfuge to keep the details from the people in whose name he acts. This cannot stand. The president knows that, hence his anger and frustration.

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