Doctrine Obama: Après moi le déluge ! (The audacity of hope springs eternal: Is this a random series of errors by an incompetent leadership or does some grand, if misconceived, idea stand behind the pattern?)

https://i2.wp.com/images.huffingtonpost.com/gen/29981/original.jpghttps://thisistwitchy.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/barack-obama-signing-copies-of-his-book-the-audaci.jpg?w=450&h=675Hope springs eternal. Proverbe anglais
L’espoir fait vivre. Proverbe français bien connu
L’audace de l’espoir. Voilà le meilleur de l’esprit américain ; avoir l’audace de croire, malgré toutes les indications contraires, que nous pouvions restaurer un sens de la communauté au sein d’une nation déchirée ; l’audace de croire que malgré des revers personnels, la perte d’un emploi, un malade dans la famille ou une famille empêtrée dans la pauvreté, nous avions quelque emprise- et par conséquent une responsabilité sur notre propre destin. Barack Hussein Obama
Je ne suis pas contre toutes les guerres ; je suis seulement contre les guerres idiotes. Barack Hussein Obama
Il n’y a aucune raison que nous ne puissions restaurer le respect dont jouissait l’Amérique et le partenariat qu’elle avait avec le monde musulman voilà 20 ou 30 ans de cela. (…) J’ai déclaré durant la campagne qu’il est très important pour nous de faire en sorte que nous utilisions tous les outils de la puissance américaine, y compris la diplomatie, dans nos relations avec l’Iran. Barack Hussein Obama
We are powerful enough to be able to test these propositions without putting ourselves at risk. And that’s the thing … people don’t seem to understand,” the president said. “You take a country like Cuba. For us to test the possibility that engagement leads to a better outcome for the Cuban people, there aren’t that many risks for us. It’s a tiny little country. It’s not one that threatens our core security interests, and so [there’s no reason not] to test the proposition. And if it turns out that it doesn’t lead to better outcomes, we can adjust our policies. The same is true with respect to Iran, a larger country, a dangerous country, one that has engaged in activities that resulted in the death of U.S. citizens, but the truth of the matter is: Iran’s defense budget is $30 billion. Our defense budget is closer to $600 billion. Iran understands that they cannot fight us. … You asked about an Obama doctrine. The doctrine is: We will engage, but we preserve all our capabilities.” The notion that Iran is undeterrable — “it’s simply not the case,” he added. “And so for us to say, ‘Let’s try’ — understanding that we’re preserving all our options, that we’re not naïve — but if in fact we can resolve these issues diplomatically, we are more likely to be safe, more likely to be secure, in a better position to protect our allies, and who knows? Iran may change. If it doesn’t, our deterrence capabilities, our military superiority stays in place. … We’re not relinquishing our capacity to defend ourselves or our allies. In that situation, why wouldn’t we test it? Barack Hussein Obama
J’annonce au monde entier que si les infidèles font obstacle à notre religion, nous nous opposerons au monde entier et nous ne cesserons pas avant leur anéantissement, nous en sortirons tous libérés ou nous obtiendrons une plus grande liberté qui est le martyr. Soit nous nous serrerons les uns aux autres pour célébrer la victoire de l’islam sur le monde ou bien nous aurons tous la vie éternelle grâce au martyr. Dans les deux cas, la victoire et le succès seront à nous. Khomeiny
Ce qui se vit aujourd’hui est une forme de rivalité mimétique à l’échelle planétaire. Lorsque j’ai lu les premiers documents de Ben Laden, constaté ses allusions aux bombes américaines tombées sur le Japon, je me suis senti d’emblée à un niveau qui est au-delà de l’islam, celui de la planète entière. Sous l’étiquette de l’islam, on trouve une volonté de rallier et de mobiliser tout un tiers-monde de frustrés et de victimes dans leurs rapports de rivalité mimétique avec l’Occident. René Girard
Le problème n’est pas la sécurité d’Israël, la souveraineté du Liban ou les ingérences de la Syrie ou du Hezbollah : Le problème est centré sur l’effort de l’Iran à obtenir le Droit d’Abolir l’Exclusivité de la Dissuasion. La prolifération sauvage, le concept de «tous nucléaires» sera la fin de la Guerre Froide et le retour à la période précédant la Dissuasion. Les mollahs et leurs alliés, le Venezuela, l’Algérie, la Syrie, la Corée du Nord et la Russie…, se militarisent à une très grande échelle sachant qu’ils vont bientôt neutraliser le parapluie protecteur de la dissuasion et alors ils pourront faire parler la poudre. Chacun visera à dominer sa région et sans que les affrontements se déroulent en Europe, l’Europe sera dépouillée de ses intérêts en Afrique ou en Amérique du Sud et sans combattre, elle devra déposer les armes. Ce qui est incroyable c’est la myopie de la diplomatie française et de ses experts. (…) Aucun d’entre eux ne se doute que la république islamique a des alliés qui ont un objectif commun: mettre un terme à une discrimination qui dure depuis 50 ans, la dissuasion nucléaire ! Cette discrimination assure à la France une position que beaucoup d’états lui envient. Ils attendent avec impatience de pouvoir se mesurer avec cette ancienne puissance coloniale que beaucoup jugent arrogante, suffisante et gourmande. Iran-Resist
En tant que défenseur de la rue arabe, [l’Iran] ne peut pas avoir un dialogue apaisé avec les Etats-Unis, dialogue au cours duquel il accepterait les demandes de cet Etat qui est le protecteur par excellence d’Israël. Téhéran a le soutien de la rue arabe, talon d’Achille des Alliés Arabes des Etats-Unis, car justement il refuse tout compromis et laisse entendre qu’il pourra un jour lui offrir une bombe nucléaire qui neutralisera la dissuasion israélienne. Pour préserver cette promesse utile, Téhéran doit sans cesse exagérer ses capacités militaires ou nucléaires et des slogans anti-israéliens. Il faut cependant préciser que sur un plan concret, les actions médiatiques de Téhéran ne visent pas la sécurité d’Israël, mais celle des Alliés arabes des Etats-Unis, Etats dont les dirigeants ne peuvent satisfaire les attentes belliqueuses de la rue arabe. Ainsi Téhéran a un levier de pression extraordinaire sur Washington. Comme toute forme de dissuasion, ce système exige un entretien permanent. Téhéran doit sans cesse fouetter la colère et les frustrations de la rue arabe ! Il doit aussi garder ses milices actives, de chaînes de propagande en effervescence et son programme nucléaire le plus opaque possible, sinon il ne serait pas menaçant. C’est pourquoi, il ne peut pas accepter des compensations purement économiques offertes par les Six en échange d’un apaisement ou une suspension de ses activités nucléaires. Ce refus permanent de compromis est vital pour le régime. (…) Il n’y a rien qui fasse plus peur aux mollahs qu’un réchauffement avec les Etats-Unis : ils risquent d’y perdre la rue arabe, puis le pouvoir. C’est pourquoi, le 9 septembre, quand Téhéran a accepté une rencontre pour désactiver les sanctions promises en juillet, il s’est aussitôt mis en action pour faire capoter ce projet de dialogue apaisé qui est un véritable danger pour sa survie. Iran Resist
La politique étrangère des pays industrialisés ne doit pas devenir l’otage des pays producteurs de pétrole. Henry Kissinger
Certains semblent croire que nous devrions négocier avec des terroristes et des radicaux, comme si un discours ingénieux suffisait à persuader ces derniers qu’ils se trompent depuis le début. Nous avons déjà entendu cette illusion ridicule par le passé. Lorsque les chars nazis marchaient sur la Pologne en 1939, un sénateur américain avait dit: ‘Monsieur, si seulement nous avions pu parler à Hitler, tout cela ne serait jamais arrivé. Nous avons l’obligation d’appeler cela le confort illusoire de l’apaisement, qui a été discrédité à maintes reprises dans l’Histoire. George Bush (devant le parlement israélien, le 15 mai 2008)
For 20 years, three presidents of both major parties proclaimed that an Iranian nuclear weapon was contrary to American and global interests—and that they were prepared to use force to prevent it. Yet negotiations that began 12 years ago as an international effort to prevent an Iranian capability to develop a nuclear arsenal are ending with an agreement that concedes this very capability, albeit short of its full capacity in the first 10 years. Mixing shrewd diplomacy with open defiance of U.N. resolutions, Iran has gradually turned the negotiation on its head. Iran’s centrifuges have multiplied from about 100 at the beginning of the negotiation to almost 20,000 today. The threat of war now constrains the West more than Iran. While Iran treated the mere fact of its willingness to negotiate as a concession, the West has felt compelled to break every deadlock with a new proposal. In the process, the Iranian program has reached a point officially described as being within two to three months of building a nuclear weapon. Under the proposed agreement, for 10 years Iran will never be further than one year from a nuclear weapon and, after a decade, will be significantly closer.(…)  Still, the ultimate significance of the framework will depend on its verifiability and enforceability. Negotiating the final agreement will be extremely challenging. For one thing, no official text has yet been published. The so-called framework represents a unilateral American interpretation. Some of its clauses have been dismissed by the principal Iranian negotiator as “spin.” A joint EU-Iran statement differs in important respects, especially with regard to the lifting of sanctions and permitted research and development. (…) Under the new approach, Iran permanently gives up none of its equipment, facilities or fissile product to achieve the proposed constraints. It only places them under temporary restriction and safeguard—amounting in many cases to a seal at the door of a depot or periodic visits by inspectors to declared sites. The physical magnitude of the effort is daunting. Is the International Atomic Energy Agency technically, and in terms of human resources, up to so complex and vast an assignment? In a large country with multiple facilities and ample experience in nuclear concealment, violations will be inherently difficult to detect. Devising theoretical models of inspection is one thing. Enforcing compliance, week after week, despite competing international crises and domestic distractions, is another. Any report of a violation is likely to prompt debate over its significance—or even calls for new talks with Tehran to explore the issue. The experience of Iran’s work on a heavy-water reactor during the “interim agreement” period—when suspect activity was identified but played down in the interest of a positive negotiating atmosphere—is not encouraging. (…) The agreement’s primary enforcement mechanism, the threat of renewed sanctions, emphasizes a broad-based asymmetry, which provides Iran permanent relief from sanctions in exchange for temporary restraints on Iranian conduct. Undertaking the “snap-back” of sanctions is unlikely to be as clear or as automatic as the phrase implies. Iran is in a position to violate the agreement by executive decision. Restoring the most effective sanctions will require coordinated international action. In countries that had reluctantly joined in previous rounds, the demands of public and commercial opinion will militate against automatic or even prompt “snap-back.” If the follow-on process does not unambiguously define the term, an attempt to reimpose sanctions risks primarily isolating America, not Iran. (…) The interim agreement accepted Iranian enrichment; the new agreement makes it an integral part of the architecture. For the U.S., a decade-long restriction on Iran’s nuclear capacity is a possibly hopeful interlude. For Iran’s neighbors—who perceive their imperatives in terms of millennial rivalries—it is a dangerous prelude to an even more dangerous permanent fact of life. Some of the chief actors in the Middle East are likely to view the U.S. as willing to concede a nuclear military capability to the country they consider their principal threat. Several will insist on at least an equivalent capability. Saudi Arabia has signaled that it will enter the lists; others are likely to follow. In that sense, the implications of the negotiation are irreversible. If the Middle East is “proliferated” and becomes host to a plethora of nuclear-threshold states, several in mortal rivalry with each other, on what concept of nuclear deterrence or strategic stability will international security be based? (…) Previous thinking on nuclear strategy also assumed the existence of stable state actors. Among the original nuclear powers, geographic distances and the relatively large size of programs combined with moral revulsion to make surprise attack all but inconceivable. How will these doctrines translate into a region where sponsorship of nonstate proxies is common, the state structure is under assault, and death on behalf of jihad is a kind of fulfillment? Some have suggested the U.S. can dissuade Iran’s neighbors from developing individual deterrent capacities by extending an American nuclear umbrella to them. But how will these guarantees be defined? What factors will govern their implementation? Are the guarantees extended against the use of nuclear weapons—or against any military attack, conventional or nuclear? (…) What if nuclear weapons are employed as psychological blackmail?(…)  Even while combating common enemies, such as ISIS, Iran has declined to embrace common objectives. Iran’s representatives (including its Supreme Leader) continue to profess a revolutionary anti-Western concept of international order; domestically, some senior Iranians describe nuclear negotiations as a form of jihad by other means. The final stages of the nuclear talks have coincided with Iran’s intensified efforts to expand and entrench its power in neighboring states. Iranian or Iranian client forces are now the pre-eminent military or political element in multiple Arab countries, operating beyond the control of national authorities. With the recent addition of Yemen as a battlefield, Tehran occupies positions along all of the Middle East’s strategic waterways and encircles archrival Saudi Arabia, an American ally. Unless political restraint is linked to nuclear restraint, an agreement freeing Iran from sanctions risks empowering Iran’s hegemonic efforts. (…) If the world is to be spared even worse turmoil, the U.S. must develop a strategic doctrine for the region. Stability requires an active American role. For Iran to be a valuable member of the international community, the prerequisite is that it accepts restraint on its ability to destabilize the Middle East and challenge the broader international order. Until clarity on an American strategic political concept is reached, the projected nuclear agreement will reinforce, not resolve, the world’s challenges in the region. Rather than enabling American disengagement from the Middle East, the nuclear framework is more likely to necessitate deepening involvement there—on complex new terms. Henry Kissinger and George Schultz
L’argument selon lequel la liberté ne peut venir que de l’intérieur et ne peut être offerte à des peuples lointains est bien plus fausse que l’on croit. Dans toute l’histoire moderne, la fortune de la liberté a toujours dépendu de la volonté de la ou des puissances dominantes du moment. Le tout récemment disparu professeur Samuel P. Huntington avait développé ce point de la manière la plus détaillée. Dans 15 des 29 pays démocratiques en 1970, les régimes démocratiques avaient été soit initiés par une puissance étrangère soit étaient le produit de l’indépendance contre une occupation étrangère. (…) Tout au long du flux et du reflux de la liberté, la puissance est toujours restée importante et la liberté a toujours eu besoin de la protection de grandes puissances. Le pouvoir d’attraction des pamphlets de Mill, Locke et Paine était fondé sur les canons de la Pax Britannica, et sur la force de l’Amérique quand la puissance britannique a flanché. (…) L’ironie est maintenant évidente: George W. Bush comme force pour l’émancipation des terres musulmanes et Barack Hussein Obama en messager des bonnes vieilles habitudes. Ainsi c’est le plouc qui porte au monde le message que les musulmans et les Arabes n’ont pas la tyrannie dans leur ADN et l’homme aux fragments musulmans, kenyans et indonésiens dans sa propre vie et son identité qui annonce son acceptation de l’ordre établi. Mr. Obama pourrait encore reconnaître l’impact révolutionnaire de la diplomatie de son prédecesseur mais jusqu’à présent il s’est refusé à le faire. (…) Son soutien au  » processus de paix » est un retour à la diplomatie stérile des années Clinton, avec sa croyance que le terrorisme prend sa source dans les revendications des Palestiniens. M. Obama et ses conseillers se sont gardés d’affirmer que le terrorisme a disparu, mais il y a un message indubitable donné par eux que nous pouvons retourner à nos propres affaires, que Wall Street est plus mortel et dangereux que la fameuse  » rue arabo-musulmane ». Fouad Ajami
Les dirigeants iraniens ont déjà obtenu toutes les concessions imaginables de la part d’une administration Obama qui est prête à tout pour qu’un accord soit signé et pour qu’au bout du processus, Obama soit sur la photo, à côté de Rouhani, mais toutes les concessions imaginables ne leur suffisent pas. Ils veulent davantage : l’humiliation des Etats-Unis et d’Obama. Et ils ne désespèrent pas obtenir ce qu’ils veulent. Il leur suffit pour cela de demander toujours ce qu’ils savent que leurs interlocuteurs ne pourront pas accepter sans se rouler dans la fange. Ils savent qu’Obama ira jusqu’à se rouler dans la fange : c’est d’ailleurs ce qu’il a commencé à faire en tenant un discours grotesque en lequel il y a deux ou trois mensonges par phrase. Les dirigeants iraniens sont à la tête, nombre de commentateurs l’oublient, d’un régime révolutionnaire et islamique. Ils ne veulent pas s’entendre avec les Etats-Unis : cela, ils pourraient l’obtenir aisément dans les circonstances présentes. Ils veulent la défaite des Etats-Unis. Ils ne veulent pas se voir reconnus en tant que puissance importante : cela, ils l’ont obtenu avec le cycle de négociations qui ne s’achève pas, et qui amènent autour de la table pour des journées entières ministres et délégations. Ils veulent que leur reconnaissance comme puissance importante soit accompagnée d’un abaissement du monde occidental tout entier. Ils ne veulent pas seulement obtenir une position de puissance hégémonique sur tout le Proche-Orient : cela, ils l’ont quasiment déjà obtenu aussi, grâce à tout ce qui leur a déjà été concédé. Ils veulent obtenir les moyens d’en finir avec Israël, et avec les régimes sunnites du statu quo (Jordanie, Egypte, Arabie Saoudite). Et il faut le dire, hélas : ils sont en train d’obtenir la défaite des Etats-Unis. Ils ont pour cela des alliés de poids : Barack Obama, et John Kerry eux-mêmes. La guerre et le chaos qui embrasent peu à peu tout le Proche-Orient, et qui débordent sur l’Afrique sont l’œuvre de l’action d’Obama depuis six ans, et de Kerry depuis qu’il est Secrétaire d’Etat. Obama et Kerry ont semé la guerre et le chaos dans tout le Proche-Orient et dans une part importante de l’Afrique. Ils ont placé les Etats-Unis dans une situation où les ennemis des Etats-Unis voient en eux des crétins à jeter après usage, et où les amis des Etats-Unis voient en eux des imbéciles dangereux et sans aucune fiabilité. Ils ne maîtrisent quasiment plus rien. Obama mériterait, si ce prix existait, un prix Nobel du désastre. (…) La doctrine Obama, que la plupart des journalistes ne veulent pas voir, aux fins de parler comme si elle n’existait pas, voulait la défaite des Etats-Unis, l’hégémonie régionale de l’Iran, l’abaissement du monde occidental en son ensemble. Elle voulait l’asphyxie d’Israël aux fins de lâcher Israël aux chiens islamistes. Elle voulait le renversement des régimes sunnites du statu quo, au profit des Frères Musulmans. Elle a tout obtenu, sauf les deux derniers points. Il lui reste moins de deux ans. Les attaques de l’administration Obama contre Israël, sur le terrain diplomatique, voire sur d’autres terrains, vont redoubler d’intensité. Guy Millière
Tout au long de sa phénoménale carrière publique, il n’aura cessé d’adopter des postures consternantes. «Homme de gauche», absolument de gauche, il aura épousé toutes les mauvaises causes de sa génération sans en manquer aucune, aura approuvé toutes les révolutions sanguinaires, de Cuba à la Chine. Toujours disposé à accabler ces fascistes d’Américains, Ronald Reagan et, bien sûr, George W. Bush (c’est sans risque), l’a-t-on en revanche entendu, ne serait-ce qu’un peu, dénoncer le fascisme de Mao Zedong ? Ou celui des islamistes ?(…) Comment s’interdire de songer à cette génération entière d’intellectuels et d’artistes en Europe, en France surtout, autoproclamée de gauche – au point que le mot ne fait plus sens –, qui n’ont cessé d’adopter des postures morales tout en illustrant des causes absolument immorales ? Comment ne pas voir surgir des spectres : ceux qui hier, ont aimé Staline et Mao et, bientôt, vont pleurer Castro ? Ceux qui n’ont rien vu à Moscou, Pékin, La Havane, Téhéran, Sarajevo, et Billancourt ? Ceux qui, maintenant, devinent dans l’islamisme une rédemption de l’0ccident ? Cette grande armée des spectres, de l’erreur absolue, dieu merci, elle n’a jamais cessé de se tromper d’avenir. (…) Par-delà ce cas singulier, on ne se méfie pas assez du grand écrivain et de la star dès qu’ils abusent de leur séduction pour propager des opinions politiques, seulement politiques, mais déguisées autrement. (…) On se garde de l’homme politique, l’élu démocratique, beaucoup trop puisqu’il avance à découvert. On ne se garde pas assez, en revanche, de l’artiste quand son talent le dissimule, surtout quand le talent est grand : des magiciens, grimés en moralistes, on ne se méfie jamais assez. Guy Sorman (sur Gunther Grass)
Combien de temps les grandes démocraties peuvent-elles survivre face à la capacité de la télévision à faire ressembler certains d’entre nous aux dieux qu’ils ne sont pas?  Peter Hitchens (2007)
The candidate is already 2007’s champion fundraiser. He has momentum. Old Clinton stalwarts desert Hillary to serve at his side. It must be a Democrat for the White House next time, they say, and this guy, this eloquent, thoughtful, handsome, black guy, is the real deal. Why, didn’t his quasi-autobiography cum manifesto, sell 1.3 million copies, top the New York Times list and win glowing reviews to boot? And didn’t he write it (rather mellifluously) himself? Look, no ghost hands here! So The Audacity of Hope invites sterner scrutiny than your average political potboiler. It is a presidential calling card. It may be all our futures. And there is fascination as the pages turn. In one sense, Barack Obama defies easy categorisation: ‘The child of a black man and white woman, born in the racial melting pot of Hawaii, with a sister who’s half-Indonesian … a brother-in-law and niece of Chinese descent, some blood relatives who resemble Margaret Thatcher and others who could pass for [black comedy actor] Bernie Mac.’ No wonder family Christmases are like the United Nations General Assembly, he writes. No wonder, either, that he can open windows to a wider world of understanding. (…) Yes … but is he a President? Does he know more about climate change than Al Gore, more about high office than Hillary Clinton, more about glad-handing and rubber-chicken dinners than John Edwards? There’s the difficulty. (…) Why The Audacity of Hope? Why not ‘The Mendacity of Despair’ or any permutation between? There’s nothing particularly daring about the prudent non-specifics he peddles most of the time. (Indeed, his middle-way title might best have been ‘The Sagacity of Further Thought’.) And his onerously repetitive chapter structure also casts a pall if you read too much, too fast. Take an event, maybe a day in the Senate, all personal achievements listed, a moment of prayer, a flying official visit to Iraq, then add anecdotes and personal conversations to taste. Obama could go hither and yonder by private jet, but he likes sweating in a coach and talking to ordinary Joes on the baggage line. Then build a brisk philosophical edifice on these emotions and encounters, opening out (as the ‘Faith’ chapter turns into the ‘Race’ chapter) into hints of what his policy might be when the time is ripe to formulate one. (…) Tired of confrontations between brutal neocons and old-style liberals locked in a time warp? Discover the joys of compromise and intelligent discussion with Obama: make positive consensus your theme for the 21st century. It is not a particularly invigorating thesis at this stage of development. It can be boiled down to the simple injunction: try to be nicer to people, wherever possible. (…) Do you sense a lurking lack of stamina, a slightly oddball compulsion to contemplation? Is the deal really real? Where’s the fine line between empathy and sanctimony? Where’s the depth of experience? The Observer (2007)
Ce qui rendait Obama unique, c’est qu’il était le politicien charismatique par excellence – le plus total inconnu à jamais accéder à la présidence aux Etats-Unis. Personne ne savait qui il était, il sortait de nulle part, il avait cette figure incroyable qui l’a catapulté au-dessus de la mêlée, il a annihilé Hillary, pris le contrôle du parti Démocrate et est devenu président. C’est vraiment sans précédent : un jeune inconnu sans histoire, dossiers, associés bien connus, auto-créé. Il y avait une bonne volonté énorme, même moi j’étais aux anges le jour de l’élection, quoique j’aie voté contre lui et me sois opposé à son élection. C’était rédempteur pour un pays qui a commencé dans le péché de l’esclavage de voir le jour, je ne croyais pas personnellement le voir jamais de mon vivant, quand un président noir serait élu. Certes, il n’était pas mon candidat. J’aurais préféré que le premier président noir soit quelqu’un d’idéologiquement plus à mon goût, comme par exemple Colin Powell (que j’ai encouragé à se présenter en 2000) ou Condoleezza Rice. Mais j’étais vraiment fier d’être Américain à la prestation de serment. Je reste fier de ce succès historique. (…) il s’avère qu’il est de gauche, non du centre-droit à la manière de Bill Clinton. L’analogie que je donne est qu’en Amérique nous jouons le jeu entre les lignes des 40 yards, en Europe vous jouez tout le terrain d’une ligne de but à l’autre. Vous avez les partis communistes, vous avez les partis fascistes, nous, on n’a pas ça, on a des partis très centristes. Alors qu’ Obama veut nous pousser aux 30 yards, ce qui pour l’Amérique est vraiment loin. Juste après son élection, il s’est adressé au Congrès et a promis en gros de refaire les piliers de la société américaine — éducation, énergie et soins de santé. Tout ceci déplacerait l’Amérique vers un Etat de type social-démocrate européen, ce qui est en dehors de la norme pour l’Amérique. (…) Obama a mal interprété son mandat. Il a été élu six semaines après un effondrement financier comme il n’y en avait jamais eu en 60 ans ; après huit ans d’une présidence qui avait fatigué le pays; au milieu de deux guerres qui ont fait que le pays s’est opposé au gouvernement républicain qui nous avait lancé dans ces guerres; et contre un adversaire complètement inepte, John McCain. Et pourtant, Obama n’a gagné que par 7 points. Mais il a cru que c’était un grand mandat général et qu’il pourrait mettre en application son ordre du jour social-démocrate. (…) sa vision du monde me semble si naïve que je ne suis même pas sûr qu’il est capable de développer une doctrine. Il a la vision d’un monde régulé par des normes internationales auto-suffisantes, où la paix est gardée par un certain genre de consensus international vague, quelque chose appelé la communauté internationale, qui pour moi est une fiction, via des agences internationales évidemment insatisfaisantes et sans valeur. Je n’éleverais pas ce genre de pensée au niveau d’ une doctrine parce que j’ai trop de respect pour le mot de doctrine. (…) Peut-être que quand il aboutira à rien sur l’Iran, rien sur la Corée du Nord, quand il n’obtiendra rien des Russes en échange de ce qu’il a fait aux Polonais et aux Tchèques, rien dans les négociations de paix au Moyen-Orient – peut-être qu’à ce moment-là, il commencera à se demander si le monde fonctionne vraiment selon des normes internationales, le consensus et la douceur et la lumière ou s’il repose sur la base de la puissance américaine et occidentale qui, au bout du compte, garantit la paix. (…) Henry Kissinger a dit une fois que la paix peut être réalisée seulement de deux manières : l’hégémonie ou l’équilibre des forces. Ca, c’est du vrai réalisme. Ce que l’administration Obama prétend être du réalisme est du non-sens naïf. Charles Krauthammer
The current troubles of the Obama presidency can be read back into its beginnings. Rule by personal charisma has met its proper fate. The spell has been broken, and the magician stands exposed. We need no pollsters to tell us of the loss of faith in Mr. Obama’s policies—and, more significantly, in the man himself. Charisma is like that. Crowds come together and they project their needs onto an imagined redeemer. The redeemer leaves the crowd to its imagination: For as long as the charismatic moment lasts — a year, an era — the redeemer is above and beyond judgment. He glides through crises, he knits together groups of varied, often clashing, interests. Always there is that magical moment, and its beauty, as a reference point. Mr. Obama gave voice to this sentiment in a speech on Nov. 6 in Dallas: « Sometimes I worry because everybody had such a fun experience in ’08, at least that’s how it seemed in retrospect. And, ‘yes we can,’ and the slogans and the posters, et cetera, sometimes I worry that people forget change in this country has always been hard. » It’s a pity we can’t stay in that moment, says the redeemer: The fault lies in the country itself — everywhere, that is, except in the magician’s performance. (…) Five years on, we can still recall how the Obama coalition was formed. There were the African-Americans justifiably proud of one of their own. There were upper-class white professionals who were drawn to the candidate’s « cool. » There were Latinos swayed by the promise of immigration reform. The white working class in the Rust Belt was the last bloc to embrace Mr. Obama—he wasn’t one of them, but they put their reservations aside during an economic storm and voted for the redistributive state and its protections. There were no economic or cultural bonds among this coalition. There was the new leader, all things to all people. A nemesis awaited the promise of this new presidency: Mr. Obama would turn out to be among the most polarizing of American leaders. No, it wasn’t his race, as Harry Reid would contend, that stirred up the opposition to him. It was his exalted views of himself, and his mission. The sharp lines were sharp between those who raised his banners and those who objected to his policies. (…) A leader who set out to remake the health-care system in the country, a sixth of the national economy, on a razor-thin majority with no support whatsoever from the opposition party, misunderstood the nature of democratic politics. An election victory is the beginning of things, not the culmination. With Air Force One and the other prerogatives of office come the need for compromise, and for the disputations of democracy. A president who sought consensus would have never left his agenda on Capitol Hill in the hands of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. Mr. Obama has shown scant regard for precedent in American history. To him, and to the coterie around him, his presidency was a radical discontinuity in American politics. There is no evidence in the record that Mr. Obama read, with discernment and appreciation, of the ordeal and struggles of his predecessors. At best there was a willful reading of that history. Early on, he was Abraham Lincoln resurrected (the new president, who hailed from Illinois, took the oath of office on the Lincoln Bible). He had been sworn in during an economic crisis, and thus he was FDR restored to the White House. He was stylish with two young children, so the Kennedy precedent was on offer. In the oddest of twists, Mr. Obama claimed that his foreign policy was in the mold of Dwight Eisenhower’s. But Eisenhower knew war and peace, and the foreign world held him in high regard. During his first campaign, Mr. Obama had paid tribute to Ronald Reagan as a « transformational » president and hinted that he aspired to a presidency of that kind. But the Reagan presidency was about America, and never about Ronald Reagan. Reagan was never a scold or a narcissist. He stood in awe of America, and of its capacity for renewal. There was forgiveness in Reagan, right alongside the belief in the things that mattered about America—free people charting their own path. If Barack Obama seems like a man alone, with nervous Democrats up for re-election next year running for cover, and away from him, this was the world he made. No advisers of stature can question his policies; the price of access in the Obama court is quiescence before the leader’s will. The imperial presidency is in full bloom. There are no stars in the Obama cabinet today, men and women of independent stature and outlook. It was after a walk on the White House grounds with his chief of staff, Denis McDonough, that Mr. Obama called off the attacks on the Syrian regime that he had threatened. If he had taken that walk with Henry Kissinger or George Shultz, one of those skilled statesmen might have explained to him the consequences of so abject a retreat. But Mr. Obama needs no sage advice, he rules through political handlers. Valerie Jarrett, the president’s most trusted, probably most powerful, aide, once said in admiration that Mr. Obama has been bored his whole life. The implication was that he is above things, a man alone, and anointed. Perhaps this moment—a presidency coming apart, the incompetent social engineering of an entire health-care system—will now claim Mr. Obama’s attention. Fouad Ajami
Les lamentations sur ce qui est advenu de la politique étrangère américaine au Moyen-Orient passent à côté de l’essentiel. Le plus remarquable concernant la diplomatie du président Obama dans la région, c’est qu’elle est revenue au point de départ – jusqu’au début de sa présidence. La promesse d’ « ouverture » vers l’Iran, l’indulgence envers la tyrannie de Bashar Assad en Syrie, l’abandon des gains américains en Irak et le malaise systématique à l’égard d’Israël — tels étaient les traits distinctifs de l’approche du nouveau président en politique étrangère. A présent, nous ne faisons qu’assister aux conséquences alarmantes d’une perspective aussi malavisée que naïve. Fouad Ajami (oct. 2013)
Passage en revue des erreurs commises. En Libye, on a aidé au renversement de Mouammar Kadhafi, ce qui a entraîné l’anarchie et la guerre civile. En Égypte, on a poussé Hosni Moubarak à la démission et soutenu ensuite les Frères Musulmans, ce qui a conduit l’actuel président Sissi à se tourner vers Moscou. On s’est aliéné le gouvernement israélien qui était l’allié le plus solide dans la région. On a considéré l’EIIL comme une équipe de jeunes amateurs, jusqu’à ce qu’il s’empare de villes importantes. On a salué le Yémen comme une réussite de la lutte contre le terrorisme juste avant que son gouvernement soit renversé. On a alerté l’Arabie Saoudite au point que celle-ci a mis sur pied une coalition militaire contre l’Iran. En Turquie, on a ménagé Recep Tayyip Erdoğan au point d’encourager ses penchants dictatoriaux. On a quitté l’Irak et l’Afghanistan prématurément, condamnant ainsi l’investissement considérable des États-Unis dans ces deux pays. Et le pire de tout : on a conclu des accords dangereusement boiteux avec des mollahs iraniens aux ambitions nucléaires. Cette série d’erreurs est-elle le fruit du hasard et d’un gouvernement incompétent ou y a-t-il une grande – mais fausse – idée derrière tout cela ? Dans une certaine mesure, il s’agit d’une attitude inepte : dans un premier temps, Obama s’est incliné devant le roi saoudien et a menacé le gouvernement syrien à propos des armes chimiques avant de changer d’avis ; en outre il envoie l’armée américaine pour aider Téhéran en Irak alors qu’il combat l’Iran au Yémen. Mais il y a également derrière tout cela une grande idée qui nécessite des explications. En tant qu’homme de gauche, Obama voit les États-Unis comme un pays qui, dans l’histoire, a exercé sur le reste du monde une influence néfaste et dont les compagnies avides, l’ensemble militaro-industriel surpuissant, le nationalisme grossier, le racisme invétéré et l’impérialisme culturel ont, en fin de compte, fait de l’Amérique une force du mal. En tant qu’élève de l’organisateur communautaire Saul Alinsky, Obama n’a pas exprimé ouvertement ce point de vue, mais il s’est fait passer pour un patriote, quoiqu’il ait (lui et sa charmante épouse) manifesté occasionnellement des opinions radicales au sujet de la « transformation fondamentale des États-Unis ». Dans sa course à la présidence, Obama a changé progressivement car, soucieux d’être réélu, il était peu enclin à susciter l’inquiétude. Mais maintenant qu’il a passé six années au pouvoir et que son héritage reste désormais la seule source d’inquiétude, Obama se révèle dans toute sa splendeur. Saul Alinsky, l’organisateur communautaire par excellence (et que l’auteur de cet article à rencontré vers 1965). La Doctrine Obama est simple et universelle : relations chaleureuses avec les adversaires et distantes avec les amis. Daniel Pipes

Chaos libyen, abandon de Moubarak au profit des Frères musulmans, désaffection pro-russe de l’actuel président égyptien, rejet d’Israël, encouragement de l’autocratisme turc ou cubain, abandon au chaos djihadiste de l’Irak et bientôt de l’Afghanistan, mépris de « l’équipe junior » de l’Etat islamique, célébration du succès contre-terroriste du Yémen juste avant sa chute,  abandon de l’Arabie soaudite face à l’Iran,  blanc-seing à l’Etat terroriste iranien …

Y a-t-il une mauvaise cause que le président Obama n’aura pas épousée ?

Alors que pour ceux qui ne l’avaient pas encore compris, l’accident industriel qui sert actuellement de président à nos amis américains et de chef du Monde libre au reste d’entre nous …

Est en train, avec la cerise sur le gâteau de son dernier pré-accord avec les mollahs, de démontrer l’inépuisable ingéniosité de sa recherche des erreurs à faire pour meubler ses deux dernières années au pouvoir …

Petit décryptage croisé avec l’islamologue Daniel Pipes et le maitre-serveur de soupe du New York Times Thomas Friedman …

Sur la désormais fameuse Doctrine Obama …

Qui se révèle en fait – où avions-nous la tête ? – être tout simplement dans le titre de son premier livre …

A savoir l’audacité de l’espoir !

Ou comme aurait dit apocryphement le prédécesseur du malheureux Louis XVI ou sa Pompadour …

Après moi  le déluge !

Décryptage de la Doctrine Obama
Daniel Pipes
The Washington Times
6 avril 2015

Version originale anglaise: Decoding the Obama Doctrine
Adaptation française: Johan Bourlard

James Jeffrey, ancien ambassadeur extraordinaire et plénipotentiaire de Barack Obama en Irak, a déclaré à propos des résultats enregistrés actuellement par les États-Unis au Moyen-Orient : « Nous sommes en pleine chute libre. »

Passage en revue des erreurs commises. En Libye, on a aidé au renversement de Mouammar Kadhafi, ce qui a entraîné l’anarchie et la guerre civile. En Égypte, on a poussé Hosni Moubarak à la démission et soutenu ensuite les Frères Musulmans, ce qui a conduit l’actuel président Sissi à se tourner vers Moscou. On s’est aliéné le gouvernement israélien qui était l’allié le plus solide dans la région. On a considéré l’EIIL comme une équipe de jeunes amateurs, jusqu’à ce qu’il s’empare de villes importantes. On a salué le Yémen comme une réussite de la lutte contre le terrorisme juste avant que son gouvernement soit renversé. On a alerté l’Arabie Saoudite au point que celle-ci a mis sur pied une coalition militaire contre l’Iran. En Turquie, on a ménagé Recep Tayyip Erdoğan au point d’encourager ses penchants dictatoriaux. On a quitté l’Irak et l’Afghanistan prématurément, condamnant ainsi l’investissement considérable des États-Unis dans ces deux pays.

Et le pire de tout : on a conclu des accords dangereusement boiteux avec des mollahs iraniens aux ambitions nucléaires.

 Le sort de Kadhafi en Libye est-il un succès pour Obama ?

Cette série d’erreurs est-elle le fruit du hasard et d’un gouvernement incompétent ou y a-t-il une grande – mais fausse – idée derrière tout cela ? Dans une certaine mesure, il s’agit d’une attitude inepte : dans un premier temps, Obama s’est incliné devant le roi saoudien et a menacé le gouvernement syrien à propos des armes chimiques avant de changer d’avis ; en outre il envoie l’armée américaine pour aider Téhéran en Irak alors qu’il combat l’Iran au Yémen.

Mais il y a également derrière tout cela une grande idée qui nécessite des explications. En tant qu’homme de gauche, Obama voit les États-Unis comme un pays qui, dans l’histoire, a exercé sur le reste du monde une influence néfaste et dont les compagnies avides, l’ensemble militaro-industriel surpuissant, le nationalisme grossier, le racisme invétéré et l’impérialisme culturel ont, en fin de compte, fait de l’Amérique une force du mal.

En tant qu’élève de l’organisateur communautaire Saul Alinsky, Obama n’a pas exprimé ouvertement ce point de vue, mais il s’est fait passer pour un patriote, quoiqu’il ait (lui et sa charmante épouse) manifesté occasionnellement des opinions radicales au sujet de la « transformation fondamentale des États-Unis ». Dans sa course à la présidence, Obama a changé progressivement car, soucieux d’être réélu, il était peu enclin à susciter l’inquiétude. Mais maintenant qu’il a passé six années au pouvoir et que son héritage reste désormais la seule source d’inquiétude, Obama se révèle dans toute sa splendeur.

Saul Alinsky, l’organisateur communautaire par excellence (et que l’auteur de cet article à rencontré vers 1965).

La Doctrine Obama est simple et universelle : relations chaleureuses avec les adversaires et distantes avec les amis.

Plusieurs idées préconçues sont à la base d’une telle approche : le gouvernement américain doit, sur le plan moral, compenser ses erreurs antérieures ; faire bonne figure avec des États hostiles incitera ceux-ci à en faire autant ; l’usage de la force crée plus de problèmes qu’il n’en résout ; les alliés, partenaires et soutiens historiques des États-Unis sont des complices moralement inférieurs. Au Moyen-Orient, cela signifie tendre la main à des révisionnistes (Erdoğan, les Frères Musulmans, la République islamique d’Iran) et écarter les gouvernements coopérants (Égypte, Israël, Arabie Saoudite).

Parmi tous ces acteurs, deux sortent du lot : l’Iran et Israël. L’établissement de bonnes relations avec Téhéran apparaît comme la grande préoccupation d’Obama. Comme l’a montré Michael Doran de l’Hudson Institute, Obama a travaillé pendant toute sa présidence à faire de l’Iran ce qu’il appelle « une puissance régionale qui réussit… dans le respect des normes et conventions internationales. » Par contre, les relations amicales qu’il entretenait avant sa présidence avec des antisionistes agressifs comme Ali Abunimah, Rashid Khalidi et Edward Saïd, indiquent la profondeur de son hostilité envers l’État juif.

La Doctrine Obama permet de comprendre ce qui, sans elle, serait impénétrable. Ainsi, elle explique pourquoi le gouvernement américain a joyeusement passé l’éponge sur le cri outrageant de « Mort à l’Amérique » poussé en mars dernier par le guide suprême iranien, comme s’il n’avait été lancé que pour contenter les Iraniens, et ce au moment même où Obama se rangeait à l’avis donné presque simultanément par le Premier ministre israélien en campagne électorale et selon lequel il rejetait la solution à deux États avec les Palestiniens aussi longtemps que durerait son mandat (« nous le prenons au mot »).

Le guide suprême iranien, Ali Khamenei, a beau parler, Obama n’en tient aucun compte.

La Doctrine donne également les lignes directrices qui laissent présager de quoi sera fait le reste du mandat d’Obama. À titre d’exemples, ces misérables accords des 5+1 avec l’Iran qui contraindront le gouvernement israélien à attaquer les installations nucléaires iraniennes, cette politique de modération avec Damas qui laissera la voie libre au régime d’Assad pour redéployer son pouvoir ou encore le choix d’Ankara de provoquer une crise en Méditerranée orientale à propos des réserves de gaz et de pétrole chypriotes.

La grande question qui se pose désormais est celle de savoir comment, dans leur grande sagesse, les Américains jugeront la Doctrine Obama quand ils voteront dans 19 mois pour les prochaines présidentielles. Rejetteront-ils sa politique d’atermoiements et de contrition, comme ils l’ont fait en 1980 quand ils ont élu Ronald Reagan de préférence à Jimmy Carter ? Ou vont-ils choisir de prolonger cette politique pour quatre années de plus et faire ainsi de la Doctrine Obama la nouvelle norme et des Américains, des masochistes rongés par le remords comme on en voit tant en Europe ?

Le jugement qu’ils rendront en 2016 pourrait avoir des implications historiques à l’échelle mondiale.

Voir aussi:

Iran and the Obama Doctrine
Thomas F. Friedman

The New York Times

April 5, 2015

Obama on Iran and His View of the World
In an interview with Thomas L. Friedman, President Obama says that his policy of engagement in Iran and elsewhere doesn’t mean the United States isn’t ready to defend its interests or that of its allies.

In September 1996, I visited Iran. One of my most enduring memories of that trip was that in my hotel lobby there was a sign above the door proclaiming “Down With USA.” But it wasn’t a banner or graffiti. It was tiled and plastered into the wall. I thought to myself: “Wow — that’s tiled in there! That won’t come out easily.” Nearly 20 years later, in the wake of a draft deal between the Obama administration and Iran, we have what may be the best chance to begin to pry that sign loose, to ease the U.S.-Iran cold/hot war that has roiled the region for 36 years. But it is a chance fraught with real risks to America, Israel and our Sunni Arab allies: that Iran could eventually become a nuclear-armed state.

President Obama invited me to the Oval Office Saturday afternoon to lay out exactly how he was trying to balance these risks and opportunities in the framework accord reached with Iran last week in Switzerland. What struck me most was what I’d call an “Obama doctrine” embedded in the president’s remarks. It emerged when I asked if there was a common denominator to his decisions to break free from longstanding United States policies isolating Burma, Cuba and now Iran. Obama said his view was that “engagement,” combined with meeting core strategic needs, could serve American interests vis-à-vis these three countries far better than endless sanctions and isolation. He added that America, with its overwhelming power, needs to have the self-confidence to take some calculated risks to open important new possibilities — like trying to forge a diplomatic deal with Iran that, while permitting it to keep some of its nuclear infrastructure, forestalls its ability to build a nuclear bomb for at least a decade, if not longer.

President Obama lays out his preference for engagement over isolation in his approach to foreign policy. This is an excerpt of an interview with Thomas L. Friedman.

“We are powerful enough to be able to test these propositions without putting ourselves at risk. And that’s the thing … people don’t seem to understand,” the president said. “You take a country like Cuba. For us to test the possibility that engagement leads to a better outcome for the Cuban people, there aren’t that many risks for us. It’s a tiny little country. It’s not one that threatens our core security interests, and so [there’s no reason not] to test the proposition. And if it turns out that it doesn’t lead to better outcomes, we can adjust our policies. The same is true with respect to Iran, a larger country, a dangerous country, one that has engaged in activities that resulted in the death of U.S. citizens, but the truth of the matter is: Iran’s defense budget is $30 billion. Our defense budget is closer to $600 billion. Iran understands that they cannot fight us. … You asked about an Obama doctrine. The doctrine is: We will engage, but we preserve all our capabilities.”

The notion that Iran is undeterrable — “it’s simply not the case,” he added. “And so for us to say, ‘Let’s try’ — understanding that we’re preserving all our options, that we’re not naïve — but if in fact we can resolve these issues diplomatically, we are more likely to be safe, more likely to be secure, in a better position to protect our allies, and who knows? Iran may change. If it doesn’t, our deterrence capabilities, our military superiority stays in place. … We’re not relinquishing our capacity to defend ourselves or our allies. In that situation, why wouldn’t we test it?”

Obviously, Israel is in a different situation, he added. “Now, what you might hear from Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu, which I respect, is the notion, ‘Look, Israel is more vulnerable. We don’t have the luxury of testing these propositions the way you do,’ and I completely understand that. And further, I completely understand Israel’s belief that given the tragic history of the Jewish people, they can’t be dependent solely on us for their own security. But what I would say to them is that not only am I absolutely committed to making sure that they maintain their qualitative military edge, and that they can deter any potential future attacks, but what I’m willing to do is to make the kinds of commitments that would give everybody in the neighborhood, including Iran, a clarity that if Israel were to be attacked by any state, that we would stand by them. And that, I think, should be … sufficient to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see whether or not we can at least take the nuclear issue off the table.”

He added: “What I would say to the Israeli people is … that there is no formula, there is no option, to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon that will be more effective than the diplomatic initiative and framework that we put forward — and that’s demonstrable.”

The president gave voice, though — in a more emotional and personal way than I’ve ever heard — to his distress at being depicted in Israel and among American Jews as somehow anti-Israel, when his views on peace are shared by many center-left Israelis and his administration has been acknowledged by Israeli officials to have been as vigorous as any in maintaining Israel’s strategic edge.

With huge amounts of conservative campaign money now flowing to candidates espousing pro-Israel views, which party is more supportive of Israel is becoming a wedge issue, an arms race, with Republican candidates competing over who can be the most unreservedly supportive of Israel in any disagreement with the United States, and ordinary, pro-Israel Democrats increasingly feeling sidelined.

“This is an area that I’ve been concerned about,” the president said. “Look, Israel is a robust, rowdy democracy. … We share so much. We share blood, family. … And part of what has always made the U.S.-Israeli relationship so special is that it has transcended party, and I think that has to be preserved. There has to be the ability for me to disagree with a policy on settlements, for example, without being viewed as … opposing Israel. There has to be a way for Prime Minister Netanyahu to disagree with me on policy without being viewed as anti-Democrat, and I think the right way to do it is to recognize that as many commonalities as we have, there are going to be strategic differences. And I think that it is important for each side to respect the debate that takes place in the other country and not try to work just with one side. … But this has been as hard as anything I do because of the deep affinities that I feel for the Israeli people and for the Jewish people. It’s been a hard period.”ry

You take it personally? I asked.

“It has been personally difficult for me to hear … expressions that somehow … this administration has not done everything it could to look out for Israel’s interest — and the suggestion that when we have very serious policy differences, that that’s not in the context of a deep and abiding friendship and concern and understanding of the threats that the Jewish people have faced historically and continue to face.”

As for protecting our Sunni Arab allies, like Saudi Arabia, the president said, they have some very real external threats, but they also have some internal threats — “populations that, in some cases, are alienated, youth that are underemployed, an ideology that is destructive and nihilistic, and in some cases, just a belief that there are no legitimate political outlets for grievances. And so part of our job is to work with these states and say, ‘How can we build your defense capabilities against external threats, but also, how can we strengthen the body politic in these countries, so that Sunni youth feel that they’ve got something other than [the Islamic State, or ISIS] to choose from. … I think the biggest threats that they face may not be coming from Iran invading. It’s going to be from dissatisfaction inside their own countries. … That’s a tough conversation to have, but it’s one that we have to have.”

That said, the Iran deal is far from finished. As the president cautioned: “We’re not done yet. There are a lot of details to be worked out, and you could see backtracking and slippage and real political difficulties, both in Iran and obviously here in the United States Congress.”

On Congress’s role, Obama said he insists on preserving the presidential prerogative to enter into binding agreements with foreign powers without congressional approval. However, he added, “I do think that [Tennessee Republican] Senator Corker, the head of the Foreign Relations Committee, is somebody who is sincerely concerned about this issue and is a good and decent man, and my hope is that we can find something that allows Congress to express itself but does not encroach on traditional presidential prerogatives — and ensures that, if in fact we get a good deal, that we can go ahead and implement it.”

Since President Obama has had more direct and indirect dealings with Iran’s leadership — including an exchange of numerous letters with Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — than any of his predecessors since Iran’s revolution in 1979, I asked what he has learned from the back and forth.

“I think that it’s important to recognize that Iran is a complicated country — just like we’re a complicated country,” the president said. “There is no doubt that, given the history between our two countries, that there is deep mistrust that is not going to fade away immediately. The activities that they engage in, the rhetoric, both anti-American, anti-Semitic, anti-Israel, is deeply disturbing. There are deep trends in the country that are contrary to not only our own national security interests and views but those of our allies and friends in the region, and those divisions are real.”

But, he added, “what we’ve also seen is that there is a practical streak to the Iranian regime. I think they are concerned about self-preservation. I think they are responsive, to some degree, to their publics. I think the election of [President Hassan] Rouhani indicated that there was an appetite among the Iranian people for a rejoining with the international community, an emphasis on the economics and the desire to link up with a global economy. And so what we’ve seen over the last several years, I think, is the opportunity for those forces within Iran that want to break out of the rigid framework that they have been in for a long time to move in a different direction. It’s not a radical break, but it’s one that I think offers us the chance for a different type of relationship, and this nuclear deal, I think, is a potential expression of that.”

What about Iran’s supreme leader, who will be the ultimate decider there on whether or not Iran moves ahead? What have you learned about him?

“He’s a pretty tough read,” the president said. “I haven’t spoken to him directly. In the letters that he sends, there [are] typically a lot of reminders of what he perceives as past grievances against Iran, but what is, I think, telling is that he did give his negotiators in this deal the leeway, the capability to make important concessions, that would allow this framework agreement to come to fruition. So what that tells me is that — although he is deeply suspicious of the West [and] very insular in how he thinks about international issues as well as domestic issues, and deeply conservative — he does realize that the sanctions regime that we put together was weakening Iran over the long term, and that if in fact he wanted to see Iran re-enter the community of nations, then there were going to have to be changes.”

Since he has acknowledged Israel’s concerns, and the fact that they are widely shared there, if the president had a chance to make his case for this framework deal directly to the Israeli people, what would he say?

“Well, what I’d say to them is this,” the president answered. “You have every right to be concerned about Iran. This is a regime that at the highest levels has expressed the desire to destroy Israel, that has denied the Holocaust, that has expressed venomous anti-Semitic ideas and is a big country with a big population and has a sophisticated military. So Israel is right to be concerned about Iran, and they should be absolutely concerned that Iran doesn’t get a nuclear weapon.” But, he insisted, this framework initiative, if it can be implemented, can satisfy that Israeli strategic concern with more effectiveness and at less cost to Israel than any other approach. “We know that a military strike or a series of military strikes can set back Iran’s nuclear program for a period of time — but almost certainly will prompt Iran to rush towards a bomb, will provide an excuse for hard-liners inside of Iran to say, ‘This is what happens when you don’t have a nuclear weapon: America attacks.’

Continue reading the main story
“We know that if we do nothing, other than just maintain sanctions, that they will continue with the building of their nuclear infrastructure and we’ll have less insight into what exactly is happening,” Obama added. “So this may not be optimal. In a perfect world, Iran would say, ‘We won’t have any nuclear infrastructure at all,’ but what we know is that this has become a matter of pride and nationalism for Iran. Even those who we consider moderates and reformers are supportive of some nuclear program inside of Iran, and given that they will not capitulate completely, given that they can’t meet the threshold that Prime Minister Netanyahu sets forth, there are no Iranian leaders who will do that. And given the fact that this is a country that withstood an eight-year war and a million people dead, they’ve shown themselves willing, I think, to endure hardship when they considered a point of national pride or, in some cases, national survival.”

The president continued: “For us to examine those options and say to ourselves, ‘You know what, if we can have vigorous inspections, unprecedented, and we know at every point along their nuclear chain exactly what they’re doing and that lasts for 20 years, and for the first 10 years their program is not just frozen but effectively rolled back to a larger degree, and we know that even if they wanted to cheat we would have at least a year, which is about three times longer than we’d have right now, and we would have insights into their programs that we’ve never had before,’ in that circumstance, the notion that we wouldn’t take that deal right now and that that would not be in Israel’s interest is simply incorrect.”

Because, Obama argued, “the one thing that changes the equation is when these countries get a nuclear weapon. … Witness North Korea, which is a problem state that is rendered a lot more dangerous because of their nuclear program. If we can prevent that from happening anyplace else in the world, that’s something where it’s worth taking some risks.”

“I have to respect the fears that the Israeli people have,” he added, “and I understand that Prime Minister Netanyahu is expressing the deep-rooted concerns that a lot of the Israeli population feel about this, but what I can say to them is: Number one, this is our best bet by far to make sure Iran doesn’t get a nuclear weapon, and number two, what we will be doing even as we enter into this deal is sending a very clear message to the Iranians and to the entire region that if anybody messes with Israel, America will be there. And I think the combination of a diplomatic path that puts the nuclear issue to one side — while at the same time sending a clear message to the Iranians that you have to change your behavior more broadly and that we are going to protect our allies if you continue to engage in destabilizing aggressive activity — I think that’s a combination that potentially at least not only assures our friends, but starts bringing down the temperature.”

There is clearly a debate going on inside Iran as to whether the country should go ahead with this framework deal as well, so what would the president say to the Iranian people to persuade them that this deal is in their interest?

If their leaders really are telling the truth that Iran is not seeking a nuclear weapon, the president said, then “the notion that they would want to expend so much on a symbolic program as opposed to harnessing the incredible talents and ingenuity and entrepreneurship of the Iranian people, and be part of the world economy and see their nation excel in those terms, that should be a pretty straightforward choice for them. Iran doesn’t need nuclear weapons to be a powerhouse in the region. For that matter, what I’d say to the Iranian people is: You don’t need to be anti-Semitic or anti-Israel or anti-Sunni to be a powerhouse in the region. I mean, the truth is, Iran has all these potential assets going for it where, if it was a responsible international player, if it did not engage in aggressive rhetoric against its neighbors, if it didn’t express anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish sentiment, if it maintained a military that was sufficient to protect itself, but was not engaging in a whole bunch of proxy wars around the region, by virtue of its size, its resources and its people it would be an extremely successful regional power. And so my hope is that the Iranian people begin to recognize that.”

Clearly, he added, “part of the psychology of Iran is rooted in past experiences, the sense that their country was undermined, that the United States or the West meddled in first their democracy and then in supporting the Shah and then in supporting Iraq and Saddam during that extremely brutal war. So part of what I’ve told my team is we have to distinguish between the ideologically driven, offensive Iran and the defensive Iran that feels vulnerable and sometimes may be reacting because they perceive that as the only way that they can avoid repeats of the past. … But if we’re able to get this done, then what may happen — and I’m not counting on it — but what may happen is that those forces inside of Iran that say, ‘We don’t need to view ourselves entirely through the lens of our war machine. Let’s excel in science and technology and job creation and developing our people,’ that those folks get stronger. … I say that emphasizing that the nuclear deal that we’ve put together is not based on the idea that somehow the regime changes.

“It is a good deal even if Iran doesn’t change at all,” Obama argued. “Even for somebody who believes, as I suspect Prime Minister Netanyahu believes, that there is no difference between Rouhani and the supreme leader and they’re all adamantly anti-West and anti-Israel and perennial liars and cheaters — even if you believed all that, this still would be the right thing to do. It would still be the best option for us to protect ourselves. In fact, you could argue that if they are implacably opposed to us, all the more reason for us to want to have a deal in which we know what they’re doing and that, for a long period of time, we can prevent them from having a nuclear weapon.”

Continue reading the main story
There are several very sensitive points in the framework agreement that are not clear to me, and I asked the president for his interpretation. For instance, if we suspect that Iran is cheating, is harboring a covert nuclear program outside of the declared nuclear facilities covered in this deal — say, at a military base in southeastern Iran — do we have the right to insist on that facility being examined by international inspectors?

“In the first instance, what we have agreed to is that we will be able to inspect and verify what’s happening along the entire nuclear chain from the uranium mines all the way through to the final facilities like Natanz,” the president said. “What that means is that we’re not just going to have a bunch of folks posted at two or three or five sites. We are going to be able to see what they’re doing across the board, and in fact, if they now wanted to initiate a covert program that was designed to produce a nuclear weapon, they’d have to create a whole different supply chain. That’s point number one. Point number two, we’re actually going to be setting up a procurement committee that examines what they’re importing, what they’re bringing in that they might claim as dual-use, to determine whether or not what they’re using is something that would be appropriate for a peaceful nuclear program versus a weapons program. And number three, what we’re going to be doing is setting up a mechanism whereby, yes, I.A.E.A. [International Atomic Energy Agency] inspectors can go anyplace.”

Anywhere in Iran? I asked.

“That we suspect,” the president answered. “Obviously, a request will have to be made. Iran could object, but what we have done is to try to design a mechanism whereby once those objections are heard, that it is not a final veto that Iran has, but in fact some sort of international mechanism will be in place that makes a fair assessment as to whether there should be an inspection, and if they determine it should be, that’s the tiebreaker, not Iran saying, ‘No, you can’t come here.’ So over all, what we’re seeing is not just the additional protocols that I.A.E.A. has imposed on countries that are suspected of in the past having had problematic nuclear programs, we’re going even beyond that, and Iran will be subject to the kinds of inspections and verification mechanisms that have never been put in place before.”

A lot of people, myself included, will want to see the fine print on that. Another issue that doesn’t seem to have been resolved yet is: When exactly do the economic sanctions on Iran get lifted? When the implementation begins? When Iran has been deemed to be complying fully?

“There are still details to be worked out,” the president said, “but I think that the basic framework calls for Iran to take the steps that it needs to around [the Fordow enrichment facility], the centrifuges, and so forth. At that point, then, the U.N. sanctions are suspended; although the sanctions related to proliferation, the sanctions related to ballistic missiles, there’s a set of sanctions that remain in place. At that point, then, we preserve the ability to snap back those sanctions, if there is a violation. If not, though, Iran, outside of the proliferation and ballistic missile issues that stay in place, they’re able to get out from under the sanctions, understanding that this constant monitoring will potentially trigger some sort of action if they’re in violation.”

There are still United States sanctions that are related to Iran’s behavior in terrorism and human rights abuse, though, the president added: “There are certain sanctions that we have that would remain in place because they’re not related to Iran’s nuclear program, and this, I think, gets to a central point that we’ve made consistently. If in fact we are able to finalize the nuclear deal, and if Iran abides by it, that’s a big piece of business that we’ve gotten done, but it does not end our problems with Iran, and we are still going to be aggressively working with our allies and friends to reduce — and hopefully at some point stop — the destabilizing activities that Iran has engaged in, the sponsorship of terrorist organizations. And that may take some time. But it’s our belief, it’s my belief, that we will be in a stronger position to do so if the nuclear issue has been put in a box. And if we can do that, it’s possible that Iran, seeing the benefits of sanctions relief, starts focusing more on the economy and its people. And investment starts coming in, and the country starts opening up. If we’ve done a good job in bolstering the sense of security and defense cooperation between us and the Sunni states, if we have made even more certain that the Israeli people are absolutely protected not just by their own capacities, but also by our commitments, then what’s possible is you start seeing an equilibrium in the region, and Sunni and Shia, Saudi and Iran start saying, ‘Maybe we should lower tensions and focus on the extremists like [ISIS] that would burn down this entire region if they could.’ ”

Regarding America’s Sunni Arab allies, Obama reiterated that while he is prepared to help increase their military capabilities they also need to increase their willingness to commit their ground troops to solving regional problems.

“The conversations I want to have with the Gulf countries is, first and foremost, how do they build more effective defense capabilities,” the president said. “I think when you look at what happens in Syria, for example, there’s been a great desire for the United States to get in there and do something. But the question is: Why is it that we can’t have Arabs fighting [against] the terrible human rights abuses that have been perpetrated, or fighting against what Assad has done? I also think that I can send a message to them about the U.S.’s commitments to work with them and ensure that they are not invaded from the outside, and that perhaps will ease some of their concerns and allow them to have a more fruitful conversation with the Iranians. What I can’t do, though, is commit to dealing with some of these internal issues that they have without them making some changes that are more responsive to their people.”

One way to think about it, Obama continued, “is [that] when it comes to external aggression, I think we’re going to be there for our [Arab] friends — and I want to see how we can formalize that a little bit more than we currently have, and also help build their capacity so that they feel more confident about their ability to protect themselves from external aggression.” But, he repeated, “The biggest threats that they face may not be coming from Iran invading. It’s going to be from dissatisfaction inside their own countries. Now disentangling that from real terrorist activity inside their country, how we sort that out, how we engage in the counterterrorism cooperation that’s been so important to our own security — without automatically legitimizing or validating whatever repressive tactics they may employ — I think that’s a tough conversation to have, but it’s one that we have to have.”

It feels lately like some traditional boundaries between the executive and legislative branches, when it comes to the conduct of American foreign policy, have been breached. For instance, there was the letter from 47 Republican senators to Iran’s supreme leader cautioning him on striking any deal with Obama not endorsed by them — coming in the wake of Prime Minister Netanyahu being invited by the speaker of the House, John Boehner, to address a joint session of Congress — without consulting the White House. How is Obama taking this?

“I do worry that some traditional boundaries in how we think about foreign policy have been crossed,” the president said. “I felt the letter that was sent to the supreme leader was inappropriate. I think that you will recall there were some deep disagreements with President Bush about the Iraq war, but the notion that you would have had a whole bunch of Democrats sending letters to leaders in the region or to European leaders … trying to undermine the president’s policies I think is troubling.

“The bottom line,” he added, “is that we’re going to have serious debates, serious disagreements, and I welcome those because that’s how our democracy is supposed to work, and in today’s international environment, whatever arguments we have here, other people are hearing and reading about it. It’s not a secret that the Republicans may feel more affinity with Prime Minister Netanyahu’s views of the Iran issue than they do with mine. But [we need to be] keeping that within some formal boundaries, so that the executive branch, when it goes overseas, when it’s communicating with foreign leaders, is understood to be speaking on behalf of the United States of America, not a divided United States of America, making sure that whether that president is a Democrat or a Republican that once the debates have been had here, that he or she is the spokesperson on behalf of U.S. foreign policy. And that’s clear to every leader around the world. That’s important because without that, what you start getting is multiple foreign policies, confusion among foreign powers as to who speaks for who, and that ends up being a very dangerous — circumstances that could be exploited by our enemies and could deeply disturb our friends.”

As for the Obama doctrine — “we will engage, but we preserve all our capabilities” — the president concluded: “I’ve been very clear that Iran will not get a nuclear weapon on my watch, and I think they should understand that we mean it. But I say that hoping that we can conclude this diplomatic arrangement — and that it ushers a new era in U.S.-Iranian relations — and, just as importantly, over time, a new era in Iranian relations with its neighbors.”

Whatever happened in the past, he said, “at this point, the U.S.’s core interests in the region are not oil, are not territorial. … Our core interests are that everybody is living in peace, that it is orderly, that our allies are not being attacked, that children are not having barrel bombs dropped on them, that massive displacements aren’t taking place. Our interests in this sense are really just making sure that the region is working. And if it’s working well, then we’ll do fine. And that’s going to be a big project, given what’s taken place, but I think this [Iran framework deal] is at least one place to start.”

Voir encore:

Opinion
The Iran Deal and Its Consequences
Mixing shrewd diplomacy with defiance of U.N. resolutions, Iran has turned the negotiation on its head.
Henry Kissinger and George P. Shultz
The Wall Street journal

April 7, 2015

The announced framework for an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program has the potential to generate a seminal national debate. Advocates exult over the nuclear constraints it would impose on Iran. Critics question the verifiability of these constraints and their longer-term impact on regional and world stability. The historic significance of the agreement and indeed its sustainability depend on whether these emotions, valid by themselves, can be reconciled.

Debate regarding technical details of the deal has thus far inhibited the soul-searching necessary regarding its deeper implications. For 20 years, three presidents of both major parties proclaimed that an Iranian nuclear weapon was contrary to American and global interests—and that they were prepared to use force to prevent it. Yet negotiations that began 12 years ago as an international effort to prevent an Iranian capability to develop a nuclear arsenal are ending with an agreement that concedes this very capability, albeit short of its full capacity in the first 10 years.

Mixing shrewd diplomacy with open defiance of U.N. resolutions, Iran has gradually turned the negotiation on its head. Iran’s centrifuges have multiplied from about 100 at the beginning of the negotiation to almost 20,000 today. The threat of war now constrains the West more than Iran. While Iran treated the mere fact of its willingness to negotiate as a concession, the West has felt compelled to break every deadlock with a new proposal. In the process, the Iranian program has reached a point officially described as being within two to three months of building a nuclear weapon. Under the proposed agreement, for 10 years Iran will never be further than one year from a nuclear weapon and, after a decade, will be significantly closer.

Inspections and Enforcement

The president deserves respect for the commitment with which he has pursued the objective of reducing nuclear peril, as does Secretary of State John Kerry for the persistence, patience and ingenuity with which he has striven to impose significant constraints on Iran’s nuclear program.

Progress has been made on shrinking the size of Iran’s enriched stockpile, confining the enrichment of uranium to one facility, and limiting aspects of the enrichment process. Still, the ultimate significance of the framework will depend on its verifiability and enforceability.

Negotiating the final agreement will be extremely challenging. For one thing, no official text has yet been published. The so-called framework represents a unilateral American interpretation. Some of its clauses have been dismissed by the principal Iranian negotiator as “spin.” A joint EU-Iran statement differs in important respects, especially with regard to the lifting of sanctions and permitted research and development.

Comparable ambiguities apply to the one-year window for a presumed Iranian breakout. Emerging at a relatively late stage in the negotiation, this concept replaced the previous baseline—that Iran might be permitted a technical capacity compatible with a plausible civilian nuclear program. The new approach complicates verification and makes it more political because of the vagueness of the criteria.

Under the new approach, Iran permanently gives up none of its equipment, facilities or fissile product to achieve the proposed constraints. It only places them under temporary restriction and safeguard—amounting in many cases to a seal at the door of a depot or periodic visits by inspectors to declared sites. The physical magnitude of the effort is daunting. Is the International Atomic Energy Agency technically, and in terms of human resources, up to so complex and vast an assignment?

In a large country with multiple facilities and ample experience in nuclear concealment, violations will be inherently difficult to detect. Devising theoretical models of inspection is one thing. Enforcing compliance, week after week, despite competing international crises and domestic distractions, is another. Any report of a violation is likely to prompt debate over its significance—or even calls for new talks with Tehran to explore the issue. The experience of Iran’s work on a heavy-water reactor during the “interim agreement” period—when suspect activity was identified but played down in the interest of a positive negotiating atmosphere—is not encouraging.

Compounding the difficulty is the unlikelihood that breakout will be a clear-cut event. More likely it will occur, if it does, via the gradual accumulation of ambiguous evasions.

When inevitable disagreements arise over the scope and intrusiveness of inspections, on what criteria are we prepared to insist and up to what point? If evidence is imperfect, who bears the burden of proof? What process will be followed to resolve the matter swiftly?

The agreement’s primary enforcement mechanism, the threat of renewed sanctions, emphasizes a broad-based asymmetry, which provides Iran permanent relief from sanctions in exchange for temporary restraints on Iranian conduct. Undertaking the “snap-back” of sanctions is unlikely to be as clear or as automatic as the phrase implies. Iran is in a position to violate the agreement by executive decision. Restoring the most effective sanctions will require coordinated international action. In countries that had reluctantly joined in previous rounds, the demands of public and commercial opinion will militate against automatic or even prompt “snap-back.” If the follow-on process does not unambiguously define the term, an attempt to reimpose sanctions risks primarily isolating America, not Iran.

The gradual expiration of the framework agreement, beginning in a decade, will enable Iran to become a significant nuclear, industrial and military power after that time—in the scope and sophistication of its nuclear program and its latent capacity to weaponize at a time of its choosing. Limits on Iran’s research and development have not been publicly disclosed (or perhaps agreed). Therefore Iran will be in a position to bolster its advanced nuclear technology during the period of the agreement and rapidly deploy more advanced centrifuges—of at least five times the capacity of the current model—after the agreement expires or is broken.

The follow-on negotiations must carefully address a number of key issues, including the mechanism for reducing Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium from 10,000 to 300 kilograms, the scale of uranium enrichment after 10 years, and the IAEA’s concerns regarding previous Iranian weapons efforts. The ability to resolve these and similar issues should determine the decision over whether or when the U.S. might still walk away from the negotiations.

The Framework Agreement and Long-Term Deterrence

Even when these issues are resolved, another set of problems emerges because the negotiating process has created its own realities. The interim agreement accepted Iranian enrichment; the new agreement makes it an integral part of the architecture. For the U.S., a decade-long restriction on Iran’s nuclear capacity is a possibly hopeful interlude. For Iran’s neighbors—who perceive their imperatives in terms of millennial rivalries—it is a dangerous prelude to an even more dangerous permanent fact of life. Some of the chief actors in the Middle East are likely to view the U.S. as willing to concede a nuclear military capability to the country they consider their principal threat. Several will insist on at least an equivalent capability. Saudi Arabia has signaled that it will enter the lists; others are likely to follow. In that sense, the implications of the negotiation are irreversible.

If the Middle East is “proliferated” and becomes host to a plethora of nuclear-threshold states, several in mortal rivalry with each other, on what concept of nuclear deterrence or strategic stability will international security be based? Traditional theories of deterrence assumed a series of bilateral equations. Do we now envision an interlocking series of rivalries, with each new nuclear program counterbalancing others in the region?

Previous thinking on nuclear strategy also assumed the existence of stable state actors. Among the original nuclear powers, geographic distances and the relatively large size of programs combined with moral revulsion to make surprise attack all but inconceivable. How will these doctrines translate into a region where sponsorship of nonstate proxies is common, the state structure is under assault, and death on behalf of jihad is a kind of fulfillment?

Some have suggested the U.S. can dissuade Iran’s neighbors from developing individual deterrent capacities by extending an American nuclear umbrella to them. But how will these guarantees be defined? What factors will govern their implementation? Are the guarantees extended against the use of nuclear weapons—or against any military attack, conventional or nuclear? Is it the domination by Iran that we oppose or the method for achieving it? What if nuclear weapons are employed as psychological blackmail? And how will such guarantees be expressed, or reconciled with public opinion and constitutional practices?

Regional Order

For some, the greatest value in an agreement lies in the prospect of an end, or at least a moderation, of Iran’s 3½ decades of militant hostility to the West and established international institutions, and an opportunity to draw Iran into an effort to stabilize the Middle East. Having both served in government during a period of American-Iranian strategic alignment and experienced its benefits for both countries as well as the Middle East, we would greatly welcome such an outcome. Iran is a significant national state with a historic culture, a fierce national identity, and a relatively youthful, educated population; its re-emergence as a partner would be a consequential event.

But partnership in what task? Cooperation is not an exercise in good feeling; it presupposes congruent definitions of stability. There exists no current evidence that Iran and the U.S. are remotely near such an understanding. Even while combating common enemies, such as ISIS, Iran has declined to embrace common objectives. Iran’s representatives (including its Supreme Leader) continue to profess a revolutionary anti-Western concept of international order; domestically, some senior Iranians describe nuclear negotiations as a form of jihad by other means.

The final stages of the nuclear talks have coincided with Iran’s intensified efforts to expand and entrench its power in neighboring states. Iranian or Iranian client forces are now the pre-eminent military or political element in multiple Arab countries, operating beyond the control of national authorities. With the recent addition of Yemen as a battlefield, Tehran occupies positions along all of the Middle East’s strategic waterways and encircles archrival Saudi Arabia, an American ally. Unless political restraint is linked to nuclear restraint, an agreement freeing Iran from sanctions risks empowering Iran’s hegemonic efforts.

Some have argued that these concerns are secondary, since the nuclear deal is a way station toward the eventual domestic transformation of Iran. But what gives us the confidence that we will prove more astute at predicting Iran’s domestic course than Vietnam’s, Afghanistan’s, Iraq’s, Syria’s, Egypt’s or Libya’s?

Absent the linkage between nuclear and political restraint, America’s traditional allies will conclude that the U.S. has traded temporary nuclear cooperation for acquiescence to Iranian hegemony. They will increasingly look to create their own nuclear balances and, if necessary, call in other powers to sustain their integrity. Does America still hope to arrest the region’s trends toward sectarian upheaval, state collapse and the disequilibrium of power tilting toward Tehran, or do we now accept this as an irremediable aspect of the regional balance?

Some advocates have suggested that the agreement can serve as a way to dissociate America from Middle East conflicts, culminating in the military retreat from the region initiated by the current administration. As Sunni states gear up to resist a new Shiite empire, the opposite is likely to be the case. The Middle East will not stabilize itself, nor will a balance of power naturally assert itself out of Iranian-Sunni competition. (Even if that were our aim, traditional balance of power theory suggests the need to bolster the weaker side, not the rising or expanding power.) Beyond stability, it is in America’s strategic interest to prevent the outbreak of nuclear war and its catastrophic consequences. Nuclear arms must not be permitted to turn into conventional weapons. The passions of the region allied with weapons of mass destruction may impel deepening

American involvement.

If the world is to be spared even worse turmoil, the U.S. must develop a strategic doctrine for the region. Stability requires an active American role. For Iran to be a valuable member of the international community, the prerequisite is that it accepts restraint on its ability to destabilize the Middle East and challenge the broader international order.

Until clarity on an American strategic political concept is reached, the projected nuclear agreement will reinforce, not resolve, the world’s challenges in the region. Rather than enabling American disengagement from the Middle East, the nuclear framework is more likely to necessitate deepening involvement there—on complex new terms. History will not do our work for us; it helps only those who seek to help themselves.

Messrs. Kissinger and Shultz are former secretaries of state.

His hope springs eternal
Democrat hopeful Barack Obama looks good and writes well in The Audacity of Hope – but can his third-way politics carry him to the ultimate prize, asks Peter Preston
The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama
Peter Preston

The Observer

29 April 2007

The Audacity of Hope

by Barack Obama

Canongate £14.99, pp375

The candidate is already 2007’s champion fundraiser. He has momentum. Old Clinton stalwarts desert Hillary to serve at his side. It must be a Democrat for the White House next time, they say, and this guy, this eloquent, thoughtful, handsome, black guy, is the real deal. Why, didn’t his quasi-autobiography cum manifesto, sell 1.3 million copies, top the New York Times list and win glowing reviews to boot? And didn’t he write it (rather mellifluously) himself? Look, no ghost hands here! So The Audacity of Hope invites sterner scrutiny than your average political potboiler. It is a presidential calling card. It may be all our futures.

And there is fascination as the pages turn. In one sense, Barack Obama defies easy categorisation: ‘The child of a black man and white woman, born in the racial melting pot of Hawaii, with a sister who’s half-Indonesian … a brother-in-law and niece of Chinese descent, some blood relatives who resemble Margaret Thatcher and others who could pass for [black comedy actor] Bernie Mac.’ No wonder family Christmases are like the United Nations General Assembly, he writes. No wonder, either, that he can open windows to a wider world of understanding.

This isn’t some stock chaser after high American office, a standard Wasp with a standard mindset. This is a genuinely interesting man from a singular family background, who still carries its lessons, memories and baggage with him. Obama spent years of austere, troubled childhood in Jakarta when his mother was married to a young Indonesian army officer. He saw pain, distress and poverty (and marriage breakdown) close up. It encircled him. He still knows, from experience, how to relate to those in need. He’s a recognisable human being with a gift for empathy.

Yes … but is he a President? Does he know more about climate change than Al Gore, more about high office than Hillary Clinton, more about glad-handing and rubber-chicken dinners than John Edwards? There’s the difficulty.

Some of this personal credo arrives eloquent and moving. You can sense instinctively why Obama invites devotion. But then, because there’s an election pending, you can also sense formulaic caution. The Guardian has an entertaining practice of dishing up potted reads, books of the day laconically stripped to the bone. Obama often invites that kind of dissection. Why The Audacity of Hope? Why not ‘The Mendacity of Despair’ or any permutation between? There’s nothing particularly daring about the prudent non-specifics he peddles most of the time. (Indeed, his middle-way title might best have been ‘The Sagacity of Further Thought’.)

And his onerously repetitive chapter structure also casts a pall if you read too much, too fast. Take an event, maybe a day in the Senate, all personal achievements listed, a moment of prayer, a flying official visit to Iraq, then add anecdotes and personal conversations to taste. Obama could go hither and yonder by private jet, but he likes sweating in a coach and talking to ordinary Joes on the baggage line. Then build a brisk philosophical edifice on these emotions and encounters, opening out (as the ‘Faith’ chapter turns into the ‘Race’ chapter) into hints of what his policy might be when the time is ripe to formulate one.

That’s a realistic route if you want to mount a candidacy that is still standing in November 2008. But it’s a bit of tedious tease for today, little helped by the new/old brand of politics he promulgates. Tired of confrontations between brutal neocons and old-style liberals locked in a time warp? Discover the joys of compromise and intelligent discussion with Obama: make positive consensus your theme for the 21st century.

It is not a particularly invigorating thesis at this stage of development. It can be boiled down to the simple injunction: try to be nicer to people, wherever possible. And even Obama can’t keep the sermonising going indefinitely. He has to reach back into history and hail the great god FDR (also worshipped by old liberals, one seems to remember). He has to plump for less tax on the poor and hard-working Americans, not more tax cuts for the rich and rapacious. He believes in Middle East peace, not war, and spoke out against Iraqi invasion before it happened (though that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t be tough in crisis). His wonderful wife and kids get a chapter of their own.

So much, perhaps, is par for the campaign course. We shouldn’t be disappointed. There are enough insights and memories to give (non-audacious) hope of something rather better if he gets in. But still the warning signs gather. Obama doesn’t always win. He challenged for Congress in 2000 and lost badly. He ‘began to harbour doubts about the path I had chosen’. He went through ‘denial and anger’ and ‘came to appreciate how the Earth rotated around the sun and the seasons came and went without any particular exertion on my part’. And then his honed profile and splendid rhetorical skills got him a starring role at the 2004 Democratic Convention. He beat off a duff rival to a Senate seat. He made it to Washington and, maybe, four years later to the doors of the Oval Office.

Do you sense a lurking lack of stamina, a slightly oddball compulsion to contemplation? Is the deal really real? Where’s the fine line between empathy and sanctimony? Where’s the depth of experience? But at least these are intriguing problems in a debate that’s pounding along. And at least, with refreshing honesty, you can begin to make your own mind up early. You can move on – or rediscover hope.

Senator Obama: man of letters

1995: Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, a memoir, in which Obama confessed to having taken drugs.

2004: Signed a $1.9m contract for three books. The first was The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream (2006). Next up, a children’s book co-written by Obama’s wife and children, with all proceeds going to charity.

2006: Wrote forewords to It Takes a Nation: How Strangers Became Family in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina and Real Men Cook: More than 100 Easy Recipes Celebrating Tradition and Family

2007: Obama’s almost universal good press may change in July with the publication of David Mendell’s Obama: The Ascent of a Politician. Mendell wrote about Obama’s sex appeal in 2004 after he saw him enthusiastically kissing the wife of his Senate opponent on the cheek (the lady in question ‘flushed and smiled broadly’).

Voir enfin:

Dossier iranien : Obama, prix Nobel du désastre

L’accord sur le nucléaire iranien n’a pas été signé le 1er avril. Il ne le sera pas le 2 ou le 3 avril.

Guy Millière –

Dreuz info

3 avril 2015

Il ne le sera vraisemblablement pas, sinon sous la forme d’un texte lamentable et sans signification qui donnera à Obama et Kerry l’allure de paillassons. Cela viendra peut-être fin juin. Ce n’est pas même certain. C’est très loin d’être certain.

Les dirigeants iraniens ont déjà obtenu toutes les concessions imaginables de la part d’une administration Obama qui est prête à tout pour qu’un accord soit signé et pour qu’au bout du processus, Obama soit sur la photo, à côté de Rouhani, mais toutes les concessions imaginables ne leur suffisent pas.

Ils veulent davantage : l’humiliation des Etats-Unis et d’Obama. Et ils ne désespèrent pas obtenir ce qu’ils veulent. Il leur suffit pour cela de demander toujours ce qu’ils savent que leurs interlocuteurs ne pourront pas accepter sans se rouler dans la fange. Ils savent qu’Obama ira jusqu’à se rouler dans la fange : c’est d’ailleurs ce qu’il a commencé à faire en tenant un discours grotesque en lequel il y a deux ou trois mensonges par phrase.

Les dirigeants iraniens sont à la tête, nombre de commentateurs l’oublient, d’un régime révolutionnaire et islamique. Ils ne veulent pas s’entendre avec les Etats-Unis : cela, ils pourraient l’obtenir aisément dans les circonstances présentes. Ils veulent la défaite des Etats-Unis.

Ils ne veulent pas se voir reconnus en tant que puissance importante : cela, ils l’ont obtenu avec le cycle de négociations qui ne s’achève pas, et qui amènent autour de la table pour des journées entières ministres et délégations. Ils veulent que leur reconnaissance comme puissance importante soit accompagnée d’un abaissement du monde occidental tout entier.

Ils ne veulent pas seulement obtenir une position de puissance hégémonique sur tout le Proche-Orient : cela, ils l’ont quasiment déjà obtenu aussi, grâce à tout ce qui leur a déjà été concédé. Ils veulent obtenir les moyens d’en finir avec Israël, et avec les régimes sunnites du statu quo (Jordanie, Egypte, Arabie Saoudite).

Et il faut le dire, hélas : ils sont en train d’obtenir la défaite des Etats-Unis. Ils ont pour cela des alliés de poids : Barack Obama, et John Kerry eux-mêmes. La guerre et le chaos qui embrasent peu à peu tout le Proche-Orient, et qui débordent sur l’Afrique sont l’œuvre de l’action d’Obama depuis six ans, et de Kerry depuis qu’il est Secrétaire d’Etat. Obama et Kerry ont semé la guerre et le chaos dans tout le Proche-Orient et dans une part importante de l’Afrique. Ils ont placé les Etats-Unis dans une situation où les ennemis des Etats-Unis voient en eux des crétins à jeter après usage, et où les amis des Etats-Unis voient en eux des imbéciles dangereux et sans aucune fiabilité. Ils ne maîtrisent quasiment plus rien. Obama mériterait, si ce prix existait, un prix Nobel du désastre.

Il faut le dire : les dirigeants iraniens sont, aussi, en train d’obtenir l’abaissement du monde occidental tout entier. L’attitude de Barack Obama et de John Kerry n’est ni désapprouvée ni dénoncée par les dirigeants européens : ceux-ci, au contraire, rivalisent de pusillanimité pour s’accrocher aux basques des méprisables duettistes de Washington. Seul Laurent Fabius essaie de faire entendre une voix un peu discordante, mais vue l’attitude de la France sur le dossier « palestinien », on voit que Laurent Fabius n’a aucune pensée cohérente et parle faux.

Il faut le dire enfin : Obama, Kerry et leurs complices européens ne donnent pas du tout l’impression qu’ils sont prêts à défendre Israël. Tout en étant prêts à s’entendre avec les mollahs de Téhéran, et tout en faisant comme s’ils n‘entendaient pas les vociférations haineuses de Khamenei, ils semblent réserver le rôle d’ennemi principal à Binyamin Netanyahou, et n’accordent aucune importance à ses avertissements concernant le danger iranien. Obama, Kerry et leurs complices européens ne donnent pas non plus l’impression d’être prêts à défendre les régimes sunnites du statu quo.

Nul ne peut prévoir avec exactitude ce qui va se passer dans les mois à venir, mais ce qui est certain est qu’ils seront les mois les plus dangereux depuis qu’Obama est arrivé à la Maison Blanche.

La doctrine Obama, que la plupart des journalistes ne veulent pas voir, aux fins de parler comme si elle n’existait pas, voulait la défaite des Etats-Unis, l’hégémonie régionale de l’Iran, l’abaissement du monde occidental en son ensemble. Elle voulait l’asphyxie d’Israël aux fins de lâcher Israël aux chiens islamistes. Elle voulait le renversement des régimes sunnites du statu quo, au profit des Frères Musulmans.

Elle a tout obtenu, sauf les deux derniers points. Il lui reste moins de deux ans. Les attaques de l’administration Obama contre Israël, sur le terrain diplomatique, voire sur d’autres terrains, vont redoubler d’intensité.

Les attaques de l’administration Obama contre les régimes sunnites du statu quo vont aussi s’accentuer.

Si vous constatez que l’Iran des mollahs est au pouvoir, outre Téhéran, à Bagdad, Damas, Beyrouth, Sanaa et tente de s’emparer d’Aden, si vous voyez un large sourire sur le visage du Ministre des affaires étrangères iranien pendant que des atrocités surviennent à proximité des villes susdites, et si vous vous demandez pourquoi il en est ainsi, regardez du côté de la Maison Blanche, vous trouverez la réponse.

Si vous constatez que l’Irak était stable et al Qaida vaincu en 2008, qu’aujourd’hui l’Irak est démembré au milieu d’un océan de cadavres, qu’al Qaida en Irak est devenu l’Etat Islamique, sur une superficie équivalente à celle de la Grande Bretagne, et que la guerre en Syrie a fait environ deux cent cinquante mille morts, et si vous vous demandez pourquoi il en est ainsi, regardez à nouveau du côté de la Maison Blanche, vous trouverez la réponse.

Si vous constatez que le Yemen est présentement plongé dans une guerre qui s’aggrave de jour en jour, que l’Arabie Saoudite est menacée et vient de mettre sur pied une alliance avec les autres régimes sunnites du statu quo, que la guerre pourrait aisément devenir une conflagration régionale, que des hordes islamiques ravagent le Sinaï et la Libye, avec débordements vers la Tunisie, que l’Iran pourrait être bientôt à même de contrôler le détroit d’Ormuz et le Bab El Mandeb, avec toutes les conséquences à même de découler, et qu’Israël, seul îlot de stabilité dans ce déferlement fait face à un réarmement du Hamas, à l’incursion de Gardiens de la Révolution sur les hauteurs du Golan, côté syrien, et est en même temps au cœur de toutes les récriminations occidentales et de manœuvres sombres qui s’amorcent aux Nations Unies et à la Cour Pénale Internationale, et si, une fois de plus, vous vous demandez pourquoi il en est ainsi, regardez encore du côté de la Maison Blanche.

Vous trouverez la réponse.

Les Républicains, au Congrès, voudraient limiter les dégâts : le peuvent-ils encore ? L’avantage est qu’ils savent, eux, ce que veut Obama. L’inconvénient est que leurs moyens d’action face au premier Président résolument anti-américain de l’histoire des Etats Unis, et face à ses porte-cotons, sont limités.

La question iranienne sera abordée dans deux semaines, à la Chambre des représentants et au Sénat : ce qui va se passer devra être suivi avec la plus grande attention.

Le sénateur Tom Cotton a résumé le contenu de l’ « accord d’étape » du 3 avril (qui n’est en rien un accord, et qui est, au mieux, une capitulation du monde occidental) :

« L’Iran va garder son stock d’uranium enrichi et des milliers de centrifugeuses, y compris celles du site souterrain et fortifié de Fordow, qui est un bunker militaire. L’Iran va aussi moderniser son réacteur de production de plutonium, à Arak. L’Iran n’aura pas à révéler les dimensions militaires de son programme nucléaire, en dépit des demandes réitérées des Nations Unies. En outre, l’Iran va bénéficier d’une levée massive de sanctions de manière immédiate, levée qui rendra le retour à des sanctions ultérieures virtuellement impossible… Les concessions accordées ne feront rien pour changer le comportement de l’Iran. L’Iran reste le pire Etat soutenant le terrorisme à l’échelle mondiale. Les agressions iraniennes vont continuer à déstabiliser le Moyen Orient. Et l’Iran continue à détenir plusieurs otages américains ».

Le sénateur Mark Kirk a ajouté que « Neville Chamberlain avait obtenu davantage d’Adolf Hitler ».

Laisser un commentaire

Entrez vos coordonnées ci-dessous ou cliquez sur une icône pour vous connecter:

Logo WordPress.com

Vous commentez à l'aide de votre compte WordPress.com. Déconnexion / Changer )

Image Twitter

Vous commentez à l'aide de votre compte Twitter. Déconnexion / Changer )

Photo Facebook

Vous commentez à l'aide de votre compte Facebook. Déconnexion / Changer )

Photo Google+

Vous commentez à l'aide de votre compte Google+. Déconnexion / Changer )

Connexion à %s

%d blogueurs aiment cette page :