Saturday, August 06, 2016

Smart Diplomacy

It's disturbing enough that we sent Iran $400 million in unmarked bills to get Americans held hostage by Iran released. The payment isn't news, although I don't buy the notion that we couldn't get around a court case to pay Iran given that Iran is a sponsor of terrorism. But what does the pattern say about our diplomacy?

Sure, if I made a $10,000 bank transaction, it would draw the attention of the federal government worried about why I had that much cash.

Indeed, if I made a $9,900 transaction, the government would be suspicious that I was "structuring" the transaction to avoid the $10,000 trigger level for scrutiny.

Yet we need not worry what Iran--a sponsor of terror as our State Department labels Iran--will do with $400 million dollars of currency. Got it. Iran is more trustworthy than American citizens.

But let's ponder how we got to that coincidental same-day delivery of cash and release of hostages:

The fact that the Iranians held onto the hostages until the delivery of all that cash from the United States illustrated their ability to make the West fold on virtually every one of its starting positions. A tougher-minded administration that was not desperate for a deal at any price would have demanded the release of the hostages after the first preliminary agreement in November 2013, which began the process of unraveling the system of international sanctions on Iran. But as with other key points—such as President Obama’s election-year pledge to force Iran to dismantle its nuclear program—that quest was abandoned. At every stage of the talks, the Iranians would dig in their heels and Secretary of State John Kerry would buckle. Iran held onto the hostages until the very last possible moment, only giving them up once this cash payment was handed over.

Oh no, we don't negotiate for hostages:

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday defended the Obama administration's payment of $400 million in cash to Iran, denying it was a ransom for the release of American prisoners by Tehran or tied to the Iran nuclear deal.

"The United States does not pay ransoms," Kerry told a news conference in the Argentine capital Buenos Aires.

We just coincidentally deliver huge amounts of cash to Iran right before Iran releases hostages. That's way different.

Yet we're to believe that these Keystone Cops negotiated a solid nuclear deal with the mullahs.

Indeed, this is one more example of the Obama administration's Smart Diplomacy!

In reality, the Iranians are so good that our diplomats may actually believe that they achieved a victory.

UPDATE: Claudia Rosett doesn't think it is no big deal despite the vague discussions earlier in the year. This really stuck out at me, on top of the policy problems:

Finally, there's the ugly matter of Obama belittling anyone who might question or criticize his cash payola for Iran. That shows an utter disregard for his own promises of transparency, and gross disrespect for the American public. It's terrible policy for an American president to secretly ship $400 million -- or is it by now $1.7 billion? -- worth of cash to the terror-sponsoring ballistic-missile-testing Islamic Republic of Iran. It's even worse when the president, caught out by the press, chooses to defend himself by denigrating the reporters, and his fellow citizens generally, as sensation-seeking fools. The best retort by now, no matter what the presidential mockery, is don't stop following the money.

That's really a major feature of this administration. It's been one giant arrogant sneer at anyone who questions their brilliance (as they see themselves).

The arrogance would be easier to take if they weren't a bunch of clueless fools.