While nothing much was surprising about last night’s State of the Union address, especially where national security was concerned, he did promise to veto any sanctions that Congress might issue against Iran while he tries to broker a deal regarding Iran’s nuclear weapon program.
While I’d typically advise Congress to follow the Commander-In-Chief’s lead when it comes to establishing national security policy, I’m convinced that President Obama has been wrong on many national security issues throughout his presidency, especially where Iran is concerned.
From the very start of his presidency, in fact, Obama has mishandled American foreign policy in Iran. The very first “Arab Spring” uprising was actually the 2009 Green Revolution in Iran. Unlike those that followed — where people rose up against governments that were either friendly to the U.S. or neutral — this was a potential revolution where we could have sided with the voices for real reform against a government against us. The protesters there wanted some sort of acknowledgment from Obama; the 2009 presidential election in Iran that sparked the Green Revolution came just days after Obama’s speech in Cairo declaring a new beginning for U.S. relations with the Arab world. But Obama offered no support, declaring that the U.S. should not take sides. In time, the totalitarian regime there crushed the rebellion — after the U.S. effectively gave them the green light to do so.
Obama’s inaction in this instance correctly led the Mullahs to conclude he wouldn’t do anything to stop their pursuit of nuclear weapons, and proceeded with their program. And, because of the overreaching that the U.S. has done in Libya and Syria, Obama’s lost credibility with the U.N. Security Council, ruling out that option for a diplomatic avenue toward resolution.
President Obama has misplayed the Iran situation so badly that, short of military intervention, the only real option we have to force Iran’s hand in giving up nuclear weapons is to employ stricter sanctions. Negotiations might lead to promises from Iran that they’ll comply with our demands, but they’ll most certainly prove to be empty promises.