Barone: Obama ‘Quietly Courting a Coalition with Iran

"Is Barack Obama trying to shift alliances in the Middle East away from traditional allies and toward Iran?"

Rohani and Obama

Michael Barone argues that despite President Obama’s and John Kerry’s denials, the  administration appears to be “quietly courting a coalition with Iran.” The goal? What geopolitical analyst Robert Kaplan calls "a concert of powers that would include America, Iran, Russia and Europe," united in opposition to Sunni al-Qaida terrorists.

Barone begins his piece by citing Kaplan’s theory as a more valid explanation of the administration’s handling of Iran than the increasingly less credible rationale offered by the President and Secretary of State.

Is Barack Obama trying to shift alliances in the Middle East away from traditional allies and toward Iran? Robert Kaplan, author and geopolitical analyst for the Stratford consulting firm, thinks so.

In a realclearworld.com article, Kaplan argues that the Obama administration sees the recently elected Iranian President Hassan Rouhani "as a potential Deng Xiaoping, someone from within the ideological solidarity system who can, measure-by-stealthy-measure, lead his country away from ideology and toward internal reform."

Such a development, he goes on, is "something that could, in turn, result in an understanding with the West."

Barone points out that such a coalition of course is not what the administration claims it is doing—insisting instead that it is focused solely on preventing a nuclear Iran—but Barone maintains that Kaplan’s theory is a far better explanation for the administration’s recent moves. For example, it helps explain why Obama and Kerry “remain equable” despite Iranian officials’ embarrassing public declarations that they are not slowing down on their nuclear programs.

The coalition theory also explains the administration’s strong opposition to the popular bipartisan bill that would apply increased pressure via sanctions on Iran for failing to meet its agreed upon goals. Barone argues that the administration’s attempt at defending their “adamant opposition” to the reasonable, bipartisan measures “makes little sense.”

Obama spokesmen say the sanctions legislation might torpedo the negotiations and even lead to war. The Iranians, brought to the table by sanctions, will walk out if more sanctions are threatened.

That makes little sense. Particularly because, in his State of the Union message, Obama said that he would be the first to insist on more sanctions if negotiations failed. Why oppose legislation that would make his own threat more credible?

It would make sense, however, if Obama is trying to construct, in Kaplan's words, "a concert of powers that would include America, Iran, Russia and Europe," all opposed to Sunni al-Qaida terrorists.

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