President Obama’s lead-from-behind approach to foreign policy not only costs the United States the global respect and prestige it once enjoyed, but it’s putting the security of its only true Middle East ally in jeopardy.
The day before a new round of nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers, an unnamed U.S. official opined that additional sanctions against Iran would be counterproductive. He suggested instead that easing sanctions in exchange for Iran halting its nuclear weapons program for six months would be an ideal “first step,” according to the Israeli newspaperHaaretz.
Sitting across the table from Iran Thursday were representatives from the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany. Israel, the country with the most at stake, is not included.
During the three weeks since the last round of talks in Geneva, Iranian experts have been meeting in Vienna with counterparts from the six powers to discuss the technical aspects of this first step, including how Iran’s nuclear program will be suspended and which sanctions would be eased.
At the same time, U.S. Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman, who heads the U.S. negotiating team, has been speaking in person and by phone with officials in Israel and the Persian Gulf states to update them on these preparatory talks.
“What we’re looking for is a first phase, a first step, an initial understanding that stops Iran’s nuclear program from moving forward and rolls it back for first time in decades,” the official said.
In return, Iran would receive “very limited, temporary, reversible sanctions relief,” according to the U.S. official, Haaretz reported.
Reduced to its essentials, the deal would work something like this: We would ease some, if not all, of the economic pressure placed on Iran. In return, it would agree to pretend to temporarily halt its nuclear weapons program. Then we would pretend to believe it has actually placed its weapons program on hold.
Israel is not amused. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to his website, told a visiting delegation of U.S. lawmakers in Jerusalem Thursday night:
If the news that I am receiving of the impending proposal by the P5+1 is true, this is the deal of the century, for Iran. Because Iran is essentially giving nothing and it’s getting all the air taken out, the air begins to be taken out of the pressure cooker that it took years to build in the sanctions regime. What we’re having today is a situation that Iran is giving up, at best, a few days of enrichment time, but the whole international regime’s sanctions policy has the air taken out of it. That’s a big mistake, it will relieve all the pressure inside Iran, it is a historic mistake, a grievous historic error.
Just last week, Israel was livid with the Obama administration for leaking confirmation of an Israeli air strike against Syria, according to The Times of Israel.
On Wednesday, The Associated Press reported that the Obama administration was sending the Palestinian Authority an addition $75 million in aid.
On Thursday, The Times of Israel reported that Secretary of State John Kerry called future Israeli settlements on the West Bank “illegitimate,” and asked why Israel would want “to build in a place that will eventually be Palestine?”
An old proverb goes, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” What does that make the friend of one’s enemy?
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