Obama underplays American concessions and overplays Iran nuclear commitments:
In the confrontation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama, we are seeing the consequences of the long game Obama initiated right in his inauguration six years ago: “To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent,” he declared, “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.” A regime might well be tyrannous and murderous, as Iran had been since the return of Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979, but the better angels of human nature might reassert themselves if embraced in a web of cooperation. It was a big bet, given the history of Iran where the very word ‘democracy’ was not used in Khomeini’s regime, with many hundreds executed and thousands targeted for assassination in other countries. And the new Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had maintained that monstrous program for a time, even doubling the rewards for assassinations. He interpreted Obama’s gesture as a weakness. Six months later, he was brutal in his suppression of the Green Revolution. He was confirmed in his evaluation when the Obama administration failed to do more than whimper. Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said he now regrets their restraint; they were advised by the CIA and the State Department that too powerful an American voice might enable the regime to label the protesters as American puppets. Maybe so, but the inertia was also an expression of the new strategy of conciliation. Gates says the suppression of the Green Revolution ended “most support inside the administration.” What it didn’t end was Obama’s infatuation with his illusion of making Iran safe for democracy.
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“Obama is such a captive of his own illusions about Iran that he has been unable to be straight with the American people.”