In his regular Wednesday email to subscribers (you can subscribe at no cost here), the Weekly Standard’s Jonathan Last draws attention to Allahpundit’s December 18 Hot Air post “White House aides: Obama feels liberated and ready to be the president he always wanted to be.” Allahpunit takes up the implications of the Obama administration’s thawing of relations with Cuba in the context of the administration’s ongoing negotiations with Iran. Submitted for your consideration:
[Obama’s] “excellent year” [as an Obama aide called it] involved every Democratic incumbent in the country running away from him and his low-40s approval rating, only to see them wiped out anyway in a mammoth nationwide anti-Obama backlash. You could understand him feeling liberated if Democrats had run on his policies and outperformed expectations; he would have pointed to that, not unjustifiably, as a mandate. Instead, “liberation” to Obama meant postponing virtually every major initiative until after voters were safely out of the way. He saved net neutrality for the week after the election; he saved executive amnesty for two weeks after; and who knows how soon the Cuba deal could have been struck if Obama wanted it done before November 4th. What he feels liberated from, in other words, is democratic accountability, which is not the sort of thing you want to hear from a guy who’s already blazed new unconstitutional trails in executive lawmaking. If this is what he’s doing in the first flush of “liberation,” what’s he going to be doing in the homestretch of his presidency in 2016, especially if Hillary has a safe-ish lead against her Republican challenger? You trust a man who’s reflected wistfully to his inner circle that it’d be easier to be president of China, don’t you? Especially with a sympathetic media cheering on his dubious, just-try-to-stop-me “winning streak.”
That reminds me of something I thought yesterday when the Cuba news was first breaking. One of the momentous but less remarked upon consequences of the deal with Castro is that it makes a nuclear deal with Iran much more likely, no? One striking thing about it, as a million different people have already observed, is how little Obama got in return for it. No major concessions on human rights, no concessions on moving towards democracy, no guarantees that American capital flowing into Havana won’t go straight into Raul’s and Fidel’s pockets. He handed the Castros U.S. recognition of their legitimacy in exchange for basically nothing. What he did get, though, was something important to him personally – something for his “legacy,” an extra line on his presidential resume about how he reopened Cuba when his predecessors had kept it closed for 50 years.
If legacy-building is job one for his foreign policy then a terrible deal with Iran on nukes becomes more feasible. It’s a logical sequel to the Cuba deal: If detente with an impotent Havana is a big success, how much bigger of a success it would be to achieve detente with the Shiite menace that’s been undercutting America for 35 years.
In the last quoted paragraph, I think that should be “detente” in scoff quotes. Implicit in Allapundit’s analysis is the understanding that any deal with Iran will not involve any lessening of the Iranian regime’s hostilities against the United States. In any event, whole thing here.