Behold the excuse:
Much of President Obama’s foreign policy agenda has been foisted upon him during his six years in office. He inherited two wars, in Iraq and Afghanistan, neither of which he’s been able to end. He’s had to react to chaos in the Middle East and a Russian incursion in Ukraine.
The negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program are a different matter.
Remember, President Obama inherited a war already won in Iraq, inherited the "good war" in Afghanistan where the president ordered two escalations of troop strength, and decided to play down the late 2008 Russian invasion of Georgia with a "reset" that has worked so well.
You have to accept that President Obama has had some role in the Middle East chaos. Did Obama really inherit Syria from the evil Bush? Libya? Yemen?
And what's with that "incursion" into Ukraine? You mean Russia is going to leave soon? This is no raid--it is conquest.
This opening paragraph is just part of the standard defense of the president--it's just not his fault.
Yet it is every president's lot in life to inherit what happened before he took the oath of office.
It is kind of funny that the author is defending this step into the Abyss that a pretend nuclear deal with Iran represents by quoting the president as saying we can bend the arc at crucial moments in history. Said that author:
Obama often talks about moments in which U.S. leadership can “bend the arc of human history.” An Iran accord represents exactly such an opportunity, but it is also one of the most risky foreign policy gambles of his presidency.
When the president doesn't want to act, he cites the Karma Doctrine (or "strategic patience") as a reason for us to do nothing
Yet in the end, the author says that the president is determined to prove he is right both on the generality of negotiating with enemies and the wisdom of focusing on Iran, in particular:
The negotiations are also personal for the president. Obama was dismissed as dangerously naive in 2007 by then-candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton for suggesting that he would engage in “aggressive personal diplomacy” with Iran. ...
“There’s a determination to prove the Republicans wrong, and to prove the world wrong,” said Julianne Smith, a former deputy national security adviser to Vice President Biden and senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security.
An accord with Iran also would give credence to Obama’s core belief that the United States must be open to negotiations with its enemies. In 2007, the then presidential candidate said it was a “disgrace” that the Bush administration had not done more to talk with U.S. enemies in the Middle East. “The notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them — which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration — is ridiculous,” Obama said.
When the president's ego is on the line, who can worry about minor things like a nuclear Iran emerging from the president's world view?
The author ends up damning the president's initiative despite a clear desire to support him.
But if this risky scheme ends up being the clusterfuck it appears to be rather than being an effort to bend history, it will just be another bad thing that just isn't the president's fault.
The buck stops somewhere else for this president.