web analytics
January 28, 2015 / 8 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Rouhani Playing Obama like a Chump

Iran’s real boss, Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was wise to back Rouhani’s play.

bullying Obama

Last week President Obama was left with egg on his face. Administration officials had been telling the press for days that the president would meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during the opening of the General Assembly of the United Nations. But when it came time for the two to come together (or to bump into each other and shake hands in an accidentally-on-purpose arranged encounter), the Iranians said nothing doing.

The Iranians told the press it was “too complicated” for the meeting to take place and administration officials were reduced to explaining the snub by saying it would have caused political problems for Rouhani at home. Combined with Rouhani’s speech to the General Assembly that was something less than the olive branch those hoping for a rapprochement with the Islamic Republic were expecting, the Iranians sent the administration an unmistakable message. If you want to appease us, don’t think we’ll make it easy on you.

There are many good reasons to distrust the recent Iranian charm offensive. Rouhani’s goal is to lift the international sanctions on Iran while preserving its right to go on enriching uranium (as well as developing a plutonium option) and supporting terrorism around the globe, not to help Barack Obama bring peace to the Middle East. But last week’s events didn’t tell us as much about whether Rouhani is a sincere advocate of change as it did about the way the Iranians think about President Obama.

The president’s apologists believe the Rouhani gambit is the product of Obama’s toughness, much as they also cling to the illusion that the debacle in Syria stems from the president’s strength rather than weakness. But Rouhani’s behavior in New York showed that he did not come to the UN as a supplicant but as someone who knows he has Obama just where he wants him. By demonstrating he isn’t a cheap date but must instead be wooed by the West with concessions, Rouhani gave us a good idea of the course of the next round of negotiations that the United States is about to embark upon with Iran.

Instead of being eager to embrace Obama in order to prove their desire for diplomacy and to avert the threat of Western force being employed to end their nuclear dreams, the Iranians know Obama has already swallowed the bait. This wasn’t the first time Rouhani had humiliated the West since he is a veteran of past deceptive diplomatic encounters, but we also know it won’t be the last.

The administration’s disappointment at Rouhani being unwilling to shake hands with the president was absurd enough. But even The New York Times was unable to spin the Iranian’s speech to the GA as anything but a disappointment to those who have invested so heavily in the notion that he represents an opportunity for genuine change in Iran.

Rouhani’s address can only be seen as “moderate” when compared to the wacky rants of his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He didn’t deny the Holocaust or openly threaten Israel with destruction. But he gave little satisfaction to those expecting him to inaugurate a new age of understanding with a lengthy litany of complaints about the West as well as an almost impenetrable barrage of double talk about Syria, nukes, and terrorism.

Rouhani’s appeal for “tolerance” rang false, coming as it did from a government that persecutes religious minorities and continues to be a font of anti-Semitic incitement aimed at Israel and its supporters. The same can be said of his denunciation of terrorism, coming as it did from an official of a government that is the leading state sponsor of terror in the world.

Iran’s real boss, Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was wise to back Rouhani’s play since the charm offensive has given the Obama administration the excuse it needed to begin the process of backing away from its promise to confront Iran on the nuclear issue. But the snub and the cold speech show they have no intention of making it easy for Obama to appease them.

The Iranians show every sign of understanding that the way to draw out the next round of talks is to play hard to get and make the Americans bid against themselves in an effort to entice them to play ball. By portraying Rouhani as being squeezed by hardliner rivals, they have provided the justification for Western concessions and excuses that will be portrayed as necessary in order to help him.

For five years the Iranians have been acting as if they thought President Obama was a paper tiger whose threats should be discounted. But last week they showed they think he isn’t just weak but a chump who can be played and reeled in slowly as they buy more time to achieve their nuclear ambitions.

About the Author: Jonathan S. Tobin is senior online editor of Commentary magazine and chief political blogger at www.commentarymagazine.com, where this first appeared. He can be reached via e-mail at jtobin@commentarymagazine.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

3 Responses to “Rouhani Playing Obama like a Chump”

  1. Yechiel Baum says:

    they are both monkies

  2. Yechiel Baum says:

    they are both monkies

  3. Anonymous says:

    Obama still does't understand Midle East politics.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
IDF soldiers patrol near the Lebanon border in Rosh Hanikra on the border between Israel and Lebanon.
2 IDF Soldiers Killed, 6 Wounded in Hezbollah Attack
Latest Indepth Stories
New York Times

Why does the Times relay different motivations and narratives for jihadists in Europe and Israel?

syria_iran_map

To defeat parasites-the hosts of terrorists-we need to deny them new people, potential terrorists

game-figure-598036_1280-810x540

Combating Amalek doesn’t mean all who disagree with you is evil-rather whom to follow and to oppose

Is "the word is the thing"? Abbas sits behind "Palestine" sign at the United Nations.

Desperate people take what they can, seizing opportunity to advance their main goal; the Arabs don’t

There was a glaring void in the President’s State of the Union speech: Israel.

Let’s focus not on becoming an ATM for that little bundle of joy, but on what you can save in taxes.

Since the passing of the Governance bill legislation on March 11, 2014, new alignments have become to appear in Israeli politics.

Israel has some wild places left; places to reflect and think, to get lost, to try to find ourselves

The British government assured Anglo-Jewry that it is attacking the rising levels of anti-Semitism.

Obama’s Syrian policy failures created the current situation in the Golan Heights.

Our journey begins by attempting to see things differently, only then can we be open to change.

Despite Western ‘Conventional Wisdom&PC,’ the Arab/Israeli conflict was never about the Palestinians

Confrontation & accountability, proven techniques, might also help dealing with religious terrorists

In fact, wherever you see soldiers in Paris today, you pretty much know you’re near Jewish site

Inspired by the Perek Shira pasuk for “small non-kosher animals” we named the bunny “Rebbetzin Tova”

The abuse following publication proved a cautionary tale: no one followed in Peters’s footsteps

More Articles from Jonathan S. Tobin
Tobin-012315

The abuse following publication proved a cautionary tale: no one followed in Peters’s footsteps

German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Jerusalem at the President's Residence, February 2014 (archive)

Anti-Semitism has returned to the mainstream of European society and Israel has become its focus.

One of the key talking points by apologists for Hamas in the current conflict is that it isn’t fair that Israelis under fire have bomb shelters while Palestinians in Gaza don’t have any. Among other factors, the lack of shelters accounts in part for the differences in casualty figures between the two peoples. But somehow […]

How will all this end? Hamas seems to think it will be Netanyahu who will blink first.

Nothing short of a stroke that will decapitate the leadership of this group will convince the Arabs that Hamas has made a mistake.

Z STREET will have the ability to compel IRS officials to testify as to their practices and produce all records.

“Death of Klinghoffer” opera frames the issue as Israel’s existence being the real crime.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/rouhani-playing-obama-like-a-chump/2013/10/03/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: