As President Biden comes hat in hand in Saudi Arabia, and American electoral warfare is looming–it would appear that this was the end of an era for foreign-policy discussion.
WEST HOLLYWOOD – This storefront sign reads like an absurd joke: “SOLEIMANI .”
More people have surely passed by this posh furniture on Melrose Avenue presumably owned by some long-lost cousin of “the Shadow Commander” (I kid) than have any sort of memory of the Iranian general Donald Trump killed in Iraq two-and-a-half years ago. This was about two-and-a half years ago, when the world had already gone to hell. It’s clear that the Iran deal is not important to Americans. Those who care about it want it to be ended.
They will get what they want.
As President Biden’s degrading sojourn to Saudi Arabia in the summer over the weekend-something like Jeddah, July–the original consensus (when has this happened?) This presidency was everything wrong. Biden’s inner circle is filled with Obama-era retreads who are determined to preserve the legacy of the former president, as not-a failed president. Good luck! This includes Rob Malley (chief negotiator), Wendy Sherman (deputy Secretary of State), as well as other former Trump officials. John Kerry is a West Wing official, however his logorheic negotiation skills were dispatched to the planet’s future, and not the JCPOA.
Do you want to know more about the Biden community? Jake Sullivan, National Security Advisor. Antony Blinken is Secretary of State. A coterie of Boomer Politicos, largely kept from the public eye. Most famously Ron Klain, president’s chief of staff, but also Bill Clintonista-style Democrats like Steve Ricchetti or Bruce Reed. These are “the Cardinals,” as dubbed by James Carden in Asia Times. Add in Klain’s potential successor Anita Dunn, and these men and women know what negotiating the 2015 Iran Deal cost Barack Obama.
Furthermore, they know what exiting Afghanistan in 2021 cost Joe Biden.
The Afghanistan adieu was an uncommon flash of passion from Biden and lasted only three days. There were two major speeches, one conducted opulently in the White House Treaty Room, that might go down in history. The August Afghanistan disaster brought about a series of events that included a double COVID (triple?) Dip, the supply chain crisis, inflation and global fuel shortages, which may make Biden fall as history quickly is something that Machiavelli, a minor-league Machiavelli, might not forget.
That Biden is now, sort of comic-absurdly considering the cultural and institutional forces arrayed against him from the beginning, less popular than Donald Trump ever was, weighs down on the White House. Jerusalem is frightened by the possibility of Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon.
The fact that what looks now like a failing presidency was responsible in removing America from Afghanistan has troubling implications for those who advocate restraint. This has regressed the cause. Iran Deal is now the immediate victim.
Israel is holding fresh elections in November. This could be a sign of the eventual return to power for Benjamin Netanyahu. Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s prime minister, is back from the dead. In the Middle East, it’s all stacked.
The warnings from leftist writers like Chris Hedges, the former New York Times Middle East bureau chief, that something approximating war with Iran may be coming, look kind of panicked. But so once did warnings from Hedges that war in Iraq would be a fiasco, a Savonarola-style intonement against power that precipitated the man’s ouster at the Gray Lady.
In previous episodes of the show, opponents to a war had allies from the right. Although they might, I think they are being ghettoized. Thirty months ago, this writer appeared on a famous program on cable news and argued the knockout of Soleimani could precipitate “a Franz Ferdinand moment”–that is, the axing of the Austrian archduke that once kicked off “the guns of August.”
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But less than half a year later, another American man was killed, setting off an invasion from the Potomac to San Francisco Bay. The Persian Gulf appeared to be very far away. Suddenly, it was clear Tom Cotton, who wanted to establish justice and end the riots, was in the right, and not the nihilists of the left wing. Cotton is an ardent Iran hawk. Both these politics were inspired by the same man.
There were also signs that the Iran hawks had gained ground. Israel was quietly becoming one of the West’s most influential countries, and it didn’t even hate itself. Meanwhile, left-wing blogs I used to enjoy, take “Mondoweiss,” for instance, (its critics overreach when they brand it “anti-Semitic,” but that’s not why you shouldn’t read it) now appear as dedicated to the baleful “Black Lives Matter” movement as it was to the incompetent and pointless Palestinian “cause.” Strikingly, that cause’s longtime backers in the region have not-so-quietly abandoned it.
In more than one way, wars are over.