Has Obama given up on Iran... in favour of golf?

On one of the most important strategic questions of our time, Iran's nuclear ambitions, it appears that President Obama has given up. As a sign of his priorities, however, he is playing an extraordinary amount of golf. So now we can all relax, right?

Great shot! But what about Iran?
Taylor Dibbert
On 18 June 2015 07:33

President Barack Obama’s latest surrender on the Iranian nuclear negotiations may not surprise people already acquainted with his propensity for weakness, indecision and ineptitute. Evidently, it appears that Iran will not need to dislose prior information about its nuclear weapons program.

The opening paragraph of a recent Foreign Policy article captures the latest developments nicely:

For years, the United States and other world powers have demanded that Iran come clean about its past nuclear weapons research. But with a deadline for a landmark deal rapidly approaching, President Barack Obama’s administration is now saying such an accounting of prior military activity would be redundant, as the United States already possesses a detailed understanding of Iran’s illicit nuclear activities. It has the ability to devise a stringent U.N. monitoring system capable of preventing it from cheating down the road.

A recent Wall Street Journal editorial reminds us of further acquiescence to the tyrannical regime. Has Obama ever met a concession that he didn’t like? Many people were already deeply concerned about this Iran deal (and rightfully so), but it looks like Washington just can’t do enough to accommodate Tehran.

On all major foreign policy fronts, Obama’s agenda is in the doldrums. Syria. Iraq. The Islamic State. Ukraine. He’s even been unable to persuade members of his own party on global trade.

For a narcissist in search of a legacy, this has to be distressing.

Obama’s interview with Israel’s Channel 2 is also troubling. Obama’s reference to “additional resolutions introduced in the United Nations” or the notion that his administration might allow a U.N. vote on Palestinian statehood is obviously a (very) thinly veiled threat to the Israeli government.

Irrespective of what one believes about Israel, Palestine or the possibility of peace, Washington’s withdrawal of support for Israel at the United Nations would constitute a major development in global politics.

At this point many people are probably wondering whether Obama has just given up.

Obama is ostensibly leading the world’s most powerful country, yet he shows little interest in leadership. He’s a politician who is not that interested in the mechanics of politics, especially when it comes to working with Congress.

A lawyer by training, he doesn’t even seem to have much interest in the rule of law.

So where does his passion lie?

Obama remains an enthusiastic golfer. Late last month, the president found time for 27 holes. Let’s keep in mind that by early 2010, he had already played more golf than George W. Bush did during his entire eight years in office.

In that context, perhaps we can take solace in what appears to be an emerging international consensus: Obama is well-prepared for retirement.

Taylor Dibbert is a freelance writer based in Washington, D.C. and the author of Fiesta of Sunset: The Peace Corps, Guatemala and a Search for Truth. Follow him on Twitter @taylordibbert

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