Iran Deal: Overture to the Middle East Grand Opera « LobeLog
by Robert E. Hunter (former U.S. Ambassador to Nato)
Winners and Losers
The United States ultimately loses something, both in its own politics and even more in US standing in the world, when Americans divide fundamentally along party lines regarding matters of critical foreign policy and security interest. Even if Obama “wins,” the United States is already doomed to “lose” something inestimable in the eyes of others, friend and foe alike, in failing to demonstrate not just a common sense of purpose on this one matter, the Iranian nuclear program, but also that we know how to pursue our national interests in the vast and tormented territory that is the Middle East. Who can honestly argue that, in the decade since the extremely ill-advised US plunge into war in Iraq, we are “better off,” both in the region and in our standing in the world in general? Who can seriously argue that either the George W. Bush or Barack Obama administrations put together a coherent set of policies regarding the region with a chance of being effective, not just for US interests but also those of friends and allies?
Had President Obama done a better job of reaching out on these and other issues, to both supporters and opponents alike, he would not now be looking like a latter-day Woodrow Wilson, whose inadequacy in engaging the Congress and the nation meant that approval of the League of Nations never had a sporting chance. Unlike Wilson, Obama is likely to prevail, at least on this one issue. But if he had not run the most isolated White House of all Democratic administrations, getting approval for the JCPOA would almost certainly be easier than it is proving to be, if not a “slam dunk.”
But all that milk has been spilled, even though serious, knowledgeable people warned for years that it would happen.