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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Obama’s appeasement of Iran -- By Dan Burton, The Washington Times

With more than 30 years on the House of Representatives' Foreign Affairs Committee, I have watched American presidents handle foreign-policy crises — from the Cuban Missile Crisis to the Iran hostages standoff to Ronald Reagan's stare-down of the Soviet Union.

However, I have never been more frightened for the fate of the world than I am today because of the amateurishness of the Obama White House.

Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington TimesPresident Obama and his advisers have a dangerous tendency to view world affairs through the prism of a textbook. They see what they would like to see — not reality.

This worldview served them badly in Libya and cost four Americans their lives. It is serving them badly in Egypt, which is on the brink of either civil war or a military dictatorship. It served them badly in Syria, costing us significant international prestige and clout.

Mr. Obama and his team have squandered the hard-won security gains in Iraq, which may be sliding backward into anarchy and civil war. Al Qaeda (which the president once famously said was on the ropes) has had its flags flown over cities and villages from Aleppo in Syria to Fallujah in central Iraq.

By some estimates, al Qaeda controls more territory in the Middle East than at any time in its history — hardly an organization on the ropes. However, all these foreign-policy blunders pale in comparison to the disastrous course the president is charting with Iran.

The interim nuclear agreement with Iran, which is currently the subject of a new round of negotiations in Vienna, is a "historic mistake." By every measure, Iran is a bad actor.

First, Iran is still a state sponsor of terrorism. In early January, Bahraini authorities foiled an attempt to smuggle explosives and arms into their country. According to published reports, the smuggled munitions included anti-personnel and armor-piercing explosives, as well as "50 Iranian-made hand bombs."

Iran has been trying to destabilize Bahrain for years, in part because Bahrain is home to the U.S. 5th Fleet. If Bahrain falls into chaos, it will make it very hard for the 5th Fleet to continue to operate from Bahraini ports. A withdrawal of U.S. forces from the Persian Gulf would certainly benefit Iran.

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