More on the Ben Rhodes Affair (tip to Instapundit), quoting the Times piece:
By obtaining broad public currency for the thought that there was a significant split in the regime, and that the administration was reaching out to moderate-minded Iranians who wanted peaceful relations with their neighbors and with America, Obama was able to evade what might have otherwise been a divisive but clarifying debate over the actual policy choices that his administration was making … [and] to eliminate a source of structural tension between the two countries, which would create the space for America to disentangle itself from its established system of alliances with countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel and Turkey. With one bold move, the administration would effectively begin the process of a large-scale disengagement from the Middle East.
Yes, I've often said that "moderate" Iranians in the government are different from the hardliners in the sense that the "moderates" are willing to stifle their impulse to yell "death to America!" long enough to get an agreement.
The only sizable collection of non-nutballs in Iran are outside the government--which the Obama administration stiff-armed in 2009 in order to get the awful nuclear deal we concluded with Iran last year.
And I've noted that even our policy of a pivot to Asia and the western Pacific in the first term of the Obama administration was more about pivoting away from CENTCOM and the Middle East than it was pivoting to PACOM.
Funny how the leader of the so-called "reality-based community" recoils from discussing actual reality in pursuit of its fantasy objectives.
[As an aside, let's explore the full range of contempt for others that our president has for those around him. Note that Rhodes has a master's degree in fine arts.
And then note that our president famously insulted art history majors.
So the contempt that our press corps receives from the Obama-Rhodes team is perhaps little different than the contempt that Rhodes probably receives from the president who uses Rhodes' talents but who will throw Rhodes under the bus when Rhodes is no longer needed.]
UPDATE: It really is stunning that the two signature policies of this administration were achieved by lying long enough to disorder opponents and then by saying the lies didn't matter:
Ricks is right that history probably won't look kindly on the Iran deal. It's jarring when you consider that Obama's two signature accomplishments, Obamacare and the Iran deal, were both achieved by systematically and deliberately lying. Rhodes is leaving the White House in a few months and likely knew exactly what he sounds like—a man who deserves credit for executing a winning strategy.
Besides, it's the victors who write history. On May 9, with the Rhodes controversy still raging, Fox News national security reporter James Rosen reported that the State Department had surreptitiously edited the official recording of a December 2013 press conference. An exchange where State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki admitted to Rosen the administration had been lying about when the Iran talks began had been excised from the full recording on the State Department's website and YouTube channel.
The "most transparent administration" in history. So who lied and who will die?