Holding their fire does not mean holding Obama’s feet to the fire.
Obama to Congress: ‘Hold your fire’ on Iran sanctions
Kevin Liptak, CNN
Fri January 16, 2015
“My main message to Congress at this point is just hold your fire. Nobody around the world least of all the Iranians doubt my ability to get additional sanctions pass if these negotiations fail,” Obama added later.
On Iran, Obama turned a question on whether he’d veto additional sanctions on Iran back on his counterparts in Congress — including those in his own party.
“Why is it that we would have to take actions that would jeopardize the possibility of getting a nuclear deal over the next 60 or 90 days?” Obama asked.
Obama added later: “I am not, repeat not, suggesting that we are on immediate war footing should negotiations with Iran fail.”
Go to the tape: (bold my emphasis)
I HAVE ALWAYS SAID THAT THE CHANCES THAT WE CAN ACTUALLY GET A DIPLOMATIC DEAL [are] PROBABLY LESS THAN 50/50.
THE QUESTION I HAVE FOR MEMBERS OF CONGRESS, INCLUDING THOSE FOLKS IN MY OWN PARTY, IS WHY IS IT THAT WE WOULD HAVE TO TAKE ACTIONS THAT MIGHT JEOPARDIZE THE POSSIBILITY OF GETTING A DEAL OVER THE NEXT 60 TO 90 DAYS?
Let “might jeapordize the possibility of getting a deal” sink in.
The construction of an argument, Obama style:
I CAN TELL YOU WHAT THE RISKS ARE. I THINK DAVID SHARES MY ASSESSMENT HERE. UNDER THE INTERIM DEAL THAT BROUGHT IRAN TO THE TABLE, WE WERE NOT SUPPOSED TO INITIATE NEW SANCTIONS. NOW YOU WILL HEAR ARGUMENTS: “THESE TECHNICALLY AREN’T NEW SANCTIONS, THEY ARE SIMPLY LAWS PUTTING IN PLACE THE POSSIBILITY OF ADDITIONAL SANCTIONS”. — I ASSURE YOU THAT IS NOT HOW IRAN OR OUR PARTNERS WOULD INTERPRET IT. THE LIKELIHOOD OF THE ENTIRE NEGOTIATIONS COLLAPSE IS VERY HIGH. IF THAT HAPPENS, THERE IS NO CONSTRAINTS ON IRAN GOING BACK AND DOING WHAT THEY CAME TO DO BEFORE THEY CAME TO THE TABLE — DEVELOPING A HEAVY WATER REACTOR THAT ONCE BUILT [IS] EXTRAORDINARILY DIFFICULT TO DISMANTLE, AND VERY DIFFICULT TO HIT MILITARILY.
So the original deal was to take future sanctions off the table (“all options on the table”?) just to get the ball rolling. But even that wasn’t bad enough, he and Kerry have been dismantling the ‘old’ sanctions. Now he protests the sanctions Congress has in mind.
The question is why would anyone ban more sanctions, let alone remove current ones, before getting any kind of deal? He said taking “new sanctions” off the table was the means to getting them to the table in the first place.
Then he keeps referring to the chance of undermining the “possibility” of a deal. So everything is based on a “possibility” Obama admits is less than a 50/50 chance. Is anyone making the odds on that? But long odds equal appeasement in Obama’s brain.
If the likelihood is not very good, why take anything off the table to start? What did you get for your concession? The same shoddy possibility of getting a deal. But in Iran’s mind it is another concession, more time along with enrichment ability. We get the same “chance”. Keeping score? He also takes credit for Congress’s original sanctions.
It’s a spiraling spider web. Rather than explanations he makes excuses. Tehran was probably sitting there watching saying, “just what we thought all along, and it sounds even better in a White House press conference.”
THAT’S NOT THE ONLY OPTIONS THAT WILL BE AVAILABLE. I HAVE CONSISTENTLY SAID WE LEAVE ALL OPTIONS ON THE TABLE. CONGRESS SHOULD BE AWARE THAT IF THIS DIPLOMATIC SOLUTION FAILS, THE RISKS AND LIKELIHOOD THAT THIS ENDS UP BEING A MILITARY CONFRONTATION IS HEIGHTENED. CONGRESS WILL HAVE TO OWN THAT AS WELL.
Because, either way, he is setting it up so Congress is on the hook for the failure that ensues. The golden rule is never take any responsibility for failures.
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