"President Obama, I support the Americans' outstretched hand. But what did the international community gain from these offers of dialogue? Nothing."
-- French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Sept. 24
When France chides you for appeasement, you know you're scraping bottom. Just how low we've sunk was demonstrated by the Obama administration's satisfaction when Russia's president said of Iran, after meeting President Obama at the United Nations, that "sanctions are seldom productive, but they are sometimes inevitable."
You see? The Obama magic. Engagement works. Russia is on board. Except that, as The Post inconveniently pointed out, President Dmitry Medvedev said the same thing a week earlier, and the real power in Russia, Vladimir Putin, had changed not at all in his opposition to additional sanctions. And just to make things clear, when Iran then brazenly test-fired offensive missiles, Russia reacted by declaring that this newest provocation did not warrant the imposition of tougher sanctions.
I should add, I don't have the same level of disdain for the French that some in this country have. In fact, I love France, and I love the people I have met there. I have not had the experience of French people looking down their noses at me because I'm American, even in Paris. In small villages in which I've traveled, even with my crappy French (I took Spanish in school), and the limited English the shop keepers had, we each worked hard to understand each other. One woman didn't speak a word of English, but would engage in pantomime (I'm sure there's a joke there about the French and mimes) to get her point across, AND she was funny, to boot. So, while I appreciate that some people have not had this experience, I won't jump on the French bashing bandwagon. Honestly, I can't wait until I get to go back there.
Back to the article,and Krauthammer's point:
Do the tally. In return for selling out Poland and the Czech Republic by unilaterally abrogating a missile-defense security arrangement that Russia had demanded be abrogated, we get from Russia . . . what? An oblique hint, of possible support, for unspecified sanctions, grudgingly offered and of dubious authority -- and, in any case, leading nowhere because the Chinese have remained resolute against any Security Council sanctions.
Confusing ends and means, the Obama administration strives mightily for shows of allied unity, good feeling and pious concern about Iran's nuclear program -- whereas the real objective is stopping that program. This feel-good posturing is worse than useless, because all the time spent achieving gestures is precious time granted Iran to finish its race to acquire the bomb.
Don't take it from me. Take it from Sarkozy, who could not conceal his astonishment at Obama's naivete. On Sept. 24, Obama ostentatiously presided over the Security Council. With 14 heads of state (or government) at the table, with an American president at the chair for the first time ever, with every news camera in the world trained on the meeting, it would garner unprecedented worldwide attention.
Unknown to the world, Obama had in his pocket explosive revelations about an illegal uranium enrichment facility that the Iranians had been hiding near Qom. The French and the British were urging him to use this most dramatic of settings to stun the world with the revelation and to call for immediate action.
Hmmm - WWHD? You know, What Would Hillary Do? Would she reveal this nugget of explosive information? My bet is ABSO-FREAKIN'-LUTELY. How about Obama? What would he do:
Obama refused. Not only did he say nothing about it, but, reports the Wall Street Journal (citing Le Monde), Sarkozy was forced to scrap the Qom section of his speech. Obama held the news until a day later -- in Pittsburgh. I've got nothing against Pittsburgh (site of the G-20 summit), but a stacked-with-world-leaders Security Council chamber it is not.
Why forgo the opportunity? Because Obama wanted the Security Council meeting to be about his own dream of a nuclear-free world. The president, reports the New York Times citing "White House officials," did not want to "dilute" his disarmament resolution "by diverting to Iran."
Diversion? It's the most serious security issue in the world. A diversion from what? From a worthless U.N. disarmament resolution?
Yes. And from Obama's star turn as planetary visionary: "The administration told the French," reports the Wall Street Journal, "that it didn't want to 'spoil the image of success' for Mr. Obama's debut at the U.N."
Image? Success? Sarkozy could hardly contain himself. At the council table, with Obama at the chair, he reminded Obama that "we live in a real world, not a virtual world."
He explained: "President Obama has even said, 'I dream of a world without [nuclear weapons].' Yet before our very eyes, two countries are currently doing the exact opposite."
Sarkozy's unspoken words? "And yet, sacré bleu, he's sitting on Qom!"
Uh, yeah. It seems like the perfect setting for exposing this information. Evidently, Sarkozy thought so, too. Others didn't realize what had just happened:
At the time, we had no idea what Sarkozy was fuming about. Now we do. Although he could hardly have been surprised by Obama's fecklessness. After all, just a day earlier in addressing the General Assembly, Obama actually said, "No one nation can . . . dominate another nation." That adolescent mindlessness was followed with the declaration that "alignments of nations rooted in the cleavages of a long-gone Cold War" in fact "make no sense in an interconnected world." NATO, our alliances with Japan and South Korea, our umbrella over Taiwan, are senseless? What do our allies think when they hear such nonsense?
Bismarck is said to have said: "There is a providence that protects idiots, drunkards, children, and the United States of America." Bismarck never saw Obama at the U.N. Sarkozy did. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Mon Dieu! Those are some pretty strong words there. Appropriate, though. Can you imagine if any other president, who had the opportunity to chair this very important committee for the FIRST time, sat on that kind of information? No doubt, it wouldn't just be the French President who was upset about this. Thankfully, those who are less invested in the "aura" of Obama actually paid attention to this "oversight" on Obama's part at this critical juncture.
Once again, Obama has demonstrated how woefully prepared he is for the REAL World Stage.
(And C, if you're reading this far, I hope you appreciate the French phrases!)