CHARLOTTE, N.C., March 12, 2015 – Disputes arise so quickly in Washington these days there needs to be a daily media report called “Controversy du Jour.”
Until something replaces it, the current topic is a raging debate concerning the wisdom of 47 Republican senators’ sending an open letter to the Iranian government in the midst of negotiations with the Obama administration about Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
Even some of the signees are now expressing reservations about their support for the document.
On the other hand, there are also questions about the rationale for the United States to negotiate with Iran in the first place.
The former editor of a London-based daily newspaper, Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, recently expressed his concerns about the on-going talks by saying the U.S. policy toward Iran is a precursor for disaster. Tariq Al-Homayed was less than impressed with Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to provide assurances to Saudi Arabia about the nuclear arms agreement. According to Al-Homayed, not only did Kerry fail to soothe Saudi concerns, he also magnified the schism between the supposed allies.
For the Saudis, the situation has become so dire that they are now leaning toward developing a relationship with Israel to seek solutions to the problem.
The Saudis have long been preservationists of the first order. Over the past 70-plus years, the riches of oil have allowed them to “buy” protection rather than become personally involved in any regional or international disputes.
An alliance with Israel would only be temporary to deal with the problem at hand, but it does demonstrate how desperate the Saudis and Israelis are to keep Iran from becoming a nuclear power.
In an article republished by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Al-Homayed agrees with the message Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel brought to Washington last week. While negotiations are in progress, which essentially are being used by Iran to by time, the Iranians are consolidating their control of four major Middle Eastern cities: Damascus, Beirut, Baghdad and Sanaa.
Al-Homayed states frankly that Barack Obama has no understanding of the negative magnitude his policies are generating throughout the Middle East. Warning that Obama’s ignorance and/or his disinterest in international affairs, Al-Homayed writes that Middle Eastern nations could become victims of “the naïveté of a few people in Washington.”
All of which means that, even if the Republicans acted with a “ready, fire, aim” strategy, the Obama administration is equally uninformed about dealing with the Muslim world. The troubling aspect of the entire situation is that Kerry is in way over his diplomatic head, as was his predecessor, Hillary Clinton, who is considering a run for president. Success for Mrs. Clinton would ensure at least four more years of inept international policies.
“The weakness of the American stance was apparent when Kerry said: ‘We are not seeking a grand bargain (with Iran)… Nothing will be different the day after this agreement, if we reach one, with respect to any other issues that challenge us in this region,’” writes Al-Homayed.
Homayed continued with his opinion: “Either the American president is striving to attain personal glory, the outcome of which cannot be assessed, or he does not comprehend the implicit of his actions – (this is) a possibility that is closer to reality.”
“Personal glory” would certainly be a welcome result for Obama. He does possess a Nobel Peace Prize, after all. But, as Homayed points out, it’s a better bet to believe Obama doesn’t have a clue about how to deal with the Middle East.
Under normal circumstances, a joint press conference between the Saudi Foreign Minister and John Kerry might have received broader media coverage in the U.S., but the press was preoccupied with Hillary Clinton’s e-mails.
Al-Homayed claims “the joint press conference…completely exposed the differences between them (Saudi Arabia and the U.S.), as well as the extent of the predicament into which the American administration has been thrust following the speech by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to Congress regarding the implicit danger of the agreement that is about to be signed with Iran. Kerry’s statements are an attempt to respond to Netanyahu’s words – which reflect reality. If this is the case, what will the situation be after an agreement with the United States is reached?”
While the Islamic State may be the “jayvee team,” as the president has stated, his own foreign policy efforts have been nothing short of Little League.
For the moment it appears the “jayvee team” is winning the game against the American “Bad News Bears.”
Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe.
Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
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