America’s Chamberlain?

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

America’s Chamberlain?

The White House is content with Iran taking control of the Middle East and developing nuclear weapons. We will all suffer the consequences.
From the May 2015 Trumpet Print Edition

Many people compare President Barack Obama’s foreign policy toward Iran to Neville Chamberlain’s approach to Adolf Hitler before World War ii. But this comparison is deficient.

When Chamberlain visited Munich in 1938, Adolf Hitler didn’t possess intercontinental ballistic missiles and a nuclear weapons program on the brink of detonating its first bomb. The Nazi regime was ruthless and determined, but it had to pursue its genocidal ambitions the long, hard way, with troops, tanks and gas chambers. Today Iran’s mullahs share Hitler-like aspirations—but they are on the cusp of obtaining nuclear weapons and the ability to commit instant genocide. This raises the stakes infinitely!

Consider too: The fatal flaw with Neville Chamberlain’s foreign policy was one of method, whereas the problem with Barack Obama’s is in its very intent.

Britain’s prime minister underestimated Hitler’s evil and overvalued the role of diplomacy to oppose it. For all his obvious failures, Chamberlain publicly and sincerely opposed Hitler and made a genuine attempt to stop Nazi Germany. Chamberlain eventually saw his mistake and it depressed him. When he resigned the prime ministership, he stayed in government to help Winston Churchill execute the war against Hitler.

Today, on the issue of Iran, the question of Barack Obama’s intent is ambiguous, at the very least. We are now well into his seventh year as president, and still there are no serious indications that Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons troubles him. Since he took office in January 2009, Iran’s grip on the Middle East has tightened, its strategic presence in the region has grown, and it is closer than ever to going nuclear.

It’s impossible to believe that the leader of the world’s most powerful nation could be unintentionally or ignorantly vague about where he stands on one of the most important foreign-policy issues of the age. Mr. Obama’s ambiguity is deliberate. But why would he conceal his views on Iran?

There is a logical answer, one supported by a large, ever growing mountain of evidence.

Regime Preservation

From the start, Mr. Obama has practiced a policy of regime-preservation with Iran. America has had multiple opportunities to undermine Iran’s mullahs, potentially oust the radical Islamist government, or impair Iran’s strategic presence in the Mideast. The Obama administration has ignored or rejected every one.

Take America’s schizophrenic foreign policy during the “Arab Spring.” The White House fervently supported most “democratic” uprisings that swept through North Africa and the Middle East. It provided critical support to the protesters who toppled Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and Muammar Qadhafi in Libya, and endorsed regime change in Tunisia and Algeria. But when more than 1 million anti-government protesters exploded onto the streets of Tehran in 2009, America was silent.

Many observers were baffled. Why would the Obama administration loudly support “democracy” in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Algeria, but then remain conspicuously mute on Iran? Iran’s Green Movement presented America and the West with arguably the greatest opportunity since Iran’s Islamic Revolution to undermine and potentially topple a despotic archenemy of the West, the number one state sponsor of global terrorism. Yes, reconfiguring the Middle East in the vacuum of Iran’s departure would have been challenging—but not having the belligerent, anti-Western, radical Islamist regime around to oppose the process would have significantly improved the odds of it becoming a much friendlier, more stable region.

Why would America’s president refuse such a historic opportunity?

Iran’s Regional Dominance

The Middle East is complicated, replete with competing ethnicities, a 1,400-year-old inter-Muslim feud, border disputes, and multiple terrorist groups and subversive organizations. No decision is simple; all have negative consequences. No statesman or Western government can navigate the region perfectly for long. Still, no contemporary Western nation has come down so consistently on the wrong side in the Middle East as America has these past six years.

Virtually every foreign-policy decision or action the Obama administration has made has emboldened Iran and other radical Islamist regimes and organizations. Because of this administration’s policies, Iran has expanded its influence in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon. Moreover, the U.S. has offended, isolated and weakened Iran’s regional adversaries. It has irreparably damaged its relationship with Israel, making the only democratic, truly Western-friendly nation in the region more isolated and vulnerable than ever. This president’s foreign policy has also weakened the strategic position of more-moderate Arab countries like Saudi Arabia and the Gulf nations.

No contemporary Western nation has come down so consistently on the wrong side in the Middle East as America has these past six years.
The Iraq debacle was not entirely Mr. Obama’s doing—it was his predecessor who ousted Saddam Hussein and set the table for an Iranian takeover, as the Trumpet has often reported since 2003. However, the current president has accelerated the process. The massive drawdown of U.S. forces from Iraq prior to his reelection in 2012 created a power vacuum that the Islamic State, al Qaeda and other radical groups quickly filled. As the Islamic State disassembled Iraq in horrific fashion, the Obama administration looked for help from Tehran. Today Iran conducts air strikes (against Islamic State terrorists) alongside U.S. jets in Iraq; it trains Iraq’s Shiite militias, and even some Iraqi officers; its generals lead Iraqi troops; and it sends aid and weapons to Iraq. Iraq had been the major counterbalance against Iran. Today Iran, with U.S. sanction, controls Iraq and is using it to expand its radical Islamist empire!

The international media barely reports that Iraq has become Iran’s satrap. But Iraq will return to the headlines—next time as a key proxy of Iran in its war on the West.

Dominance in Syria

Next door to Iraq, Syria is entering its fifth year of gory conflict. The death count is approaching 200,000. Many thousands more have been wounded or made homeless and are trying to flee to Jordan and Turkey. Though his nation is disintegrating—with large tracts now controlled by the Islamic State, Kurdish forces and opposition forces—Syrian strongman Bashar Assad remains in power.

Throughout Syria’s war, America has refused to confront Assad or, more importantly, Assad’s bosses in Iran. In February 2012, at the start of Obama’s second term, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reassured Assad publicly, “Military intervention has been absolutely ruled out.” Six months later, amid massive international outrage over Assad’s ruthless conduct, the U.S. made token gestures of toughness. It said that the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime would represent “a red line” that, if crossed, would mean military force was no longer “absolutely ruled out.”

Then Assad crossed the red line, again and again. America responded by threatening an “unbelievably small, limited” military intervention. Today the world still waits for America’s unbelievably small, limited military intervention. Worse yet, America is off-loading responsibility to resolve the Syria crisis to Europe—and to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the same man who has supplied the Assads with military trainers and weapons for decades!

Iran has benefited enormously from Syria’s war and the Obama administration’s inaction. Assad needs Iranian money, fighters and weapons, and has relinquished power and influence to Iran’s mullahs in return. Iran’s presence in Syria, especially via Hezbollah, is stronger than ever. Its partnering with America to fight the Islamic State has given it greater political legitimacy and has augmented its strategic and military presence in Syria.

Iran, Iraq and Syria form a huge landmass stretching from Pakistan to the Mediterranean. To the south lies Yemen, strategically situated on the rump of the Arabian Peninsula. In February, Houthi rebels took down Yemen’s pro-American government and took over the country. The Houthis are supported by Iran and are significantly influenced by Iran’s mullahs. And astoundingly, the U.S. supported and endorsed the Houthi takeover!

In January, the Wall Street Journal revealed that “American officials [were] communicating with Houthi fighters, largely through intermediaries, [White House] officials and [rebel] commanders have disclosed, to promote a stable political transition as the Houthis gain more power …” (January 29). So instead of figuring out how to defend the pro-Western government, the Obama administration spent the weeks prior to its fall negotiating with the pro-Iranian, radical Islamist organization that was attempting to depose Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

In Yemen, just as in Iraq and Syria, the actions of the Obama White House advanced the interests of Iran—and hurt the interests of more-moderate Arab countries, the Jewish state and the West!

Defending Nuclear Iran

The West’s conduct in the ongoing negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program is an embarrassment. For years, Tehran has sent its politicians to travel the planet and engage in “serious” discussions about Iran’s nuclear program while its scientists stayed home to work on the bomb. The West has been negotiating with Iran since 1996. During that time, Tehran has actually suspended its program only once, in 2003—just after America invaded Iraq.

Barack Obama has delivered his fair share of tough rhetoric against Iran. There have even been a few seemingly tough actions. In 2010, for example, he signed off on sanctions that actually began to hurt Iran’s economy. Whenever he was accused of being too soft on Iran, the president cited this as proof of his toughness. But he was being disingenuous: He had actually opposed the sanctions; they only happened because the U.S. Senate voted for them 99-0 and the president was compelled to make them law.

Later, President Obama undermined these very sanctions. At the Geneva nuclear conference in November 2013, based on Iran’s promise to suspend (not to end, just to freeze) parts of its nuclear program, Barack Obama—without consulting Congress or his European partners—agreed to decrease economic sanctions.

At the time, there was little doubt that the West’s sanctions were working. Iranian oil exports had fallen by nearly 75 percent during the previous two years, costing the country $4-to-8 billion per month. (Oil revenue accounts for half of government spending.) Iran’s currency, the rial, had lost two thirds of its value against the U.S. dollar. Inflation had soared to more than 40 percent. Food and fuel prices had rocketed. The public was growing resentful, and pressure on the regime was mounting. Given a little more time, there was a good chance the sanctions would have crippled the regime.

Barack Obama simply had to do nothing in Geneva, and the world’s largest state supporter of terror likely would have fallen into serious trouble. He didn’t have to fire a shot. It doesn’t get much easier than doing nothing. At the very least, a severely crippled Iran would have enabled America and the West to enter the next stages of negotiations from a position of real strength. With regime survival at stake, Iran’s mullahs would have been far likelier to make real concessions.

Instead, America’s president rescued the radical Islamist regime—yet again—at the 11th hour. He forged a deal that loosened sanctions and injected $7-to-8 billion per month into Iran’s economy. In return he received nothing but hollow promises. The Geneva deal failed to constrain Iran. It actually endorsed Iran’s right to nuclear weapons. In fact, it endorsed the radical Islamist regime itself.

As in Syria, the U.S. has also invited Russia to play a lead role in nuclear negotiations with Iran. In 2010, it proposed that Iran send its enriched uranium to Russia. This is the same Russia that helped Tehran establish its nuclear program and even helped build some of its nuclear facilities. Together with China, Russia has been the chief defender of Iran’s nuclear program, swatting down several United Nations resolutions over the years. Why give Vladimir Putin key leverage in negotiations with Iran, especially when Putin is undermining U.S. interests all over the world and is in the process of invading Eastern Europe?

This only makes sense if America might be OK with Iran controlling the Mideast and acquiring nuclear weapons.

Today it’s no secret. The whole world has been talking about it for months. The Obama administration is fine with Iran developing its nuclear weapons program!

In March, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stood before the U.S. Congress and logically and dramatically exposed the extreme danger of Mr. Obama’s negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program. In that speech, wrote Melanie Phillips, “What Netanyahu did was to lay out exactly whom Obama is now siding with and whom he stands against” (Jerusalem Post, March 5). Mr. Netanyahu showed the world that Barack Obama—at least on the issue of Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons—is more on the side of Iran’s mullahs than he is the side of the Jewish state, moderate Arab countries, and the West!

Mr. Obama’s Pro-Islamist Ideology

In one of his earliest speeches, President Obama said, “If countries like Iran are willing to unclench their fist, they will find an extended hand from us.” It sounds generous and rational, but behind that remark is a dangerous sentiment.

Mr. Obama has told the New York Times that the Muslim call to prayer is “one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset.” Standing before the UN in 2012, he said, “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.” Mr. Obama’s first major speech on foreign policy, delivered in Cairo in June 2009, was intended first and foremost to embrace the Muslim world. Often his strongest remarks following an Islamic State atrocity or radical Islamist attack on the West have been in defense of Islam’s reputation and cautioning the West against overreacting. Repeatedly he and his spokesmen have contorted themselves to avoid calling terrorists terrorists, Islamists Islamists, and their Christian and Jewish victimsChristians and Jews.

This February, Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated officials were invited to the White House for meetings with the president. Some of the president’s closest friends and top government leaders are known to sympathize with hardcore Muslim beliefs, such as Israel’s destruction.

Death to America. Of course yes, death to America, because America is the original source of this pressure.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei
The more you investigate, the more you see how neatly Mr. Obama’s views on the U.S., Israel and the West align with those of Iran’s mullahs. More than a few people have explored the roots of Mr. Obama’s views on America and the Jewish state, tracing them back to his anti-colonialist upbringing, socialistic education, and infamous circle of friends. Washington Times columnist Jeffrey Kuhner wrote that the president is a “transnational leftist who believes American power must be restrained, not enhanced. More importantly, he is a cultural relativist. He is convinced the United States is not a singular force for good in the world, but an imperial, jingoistic nation that must be chastened—and humbled—on the world stage” (July 25, 2009).

Compare that view of America with the view of Iran’s supreme leader. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei routinely calls America the “Great Satan,” endorses the “death to America” sentiment of the Arab street, and criticizes America for, as he put it in a 2006 speech aired on Iranian tv, “its arrogance, its vanity, and its desire to control, and because it is a pawn in the hands of the Zionists.”

The Obama administration extends its hand even as the clenched fist of Iran and radical Islam repeatedly strikes at the West.

U.S.-Iran Rapprochement

Today it is widely known that informal talks and secret meetings between U.S. and Iranian officials have been going on virtually since the beginning of the Obama presidency. Earlier this year, in an article published in Persian and translated for the Washington Free Beacon, Mohammed Reza Naghdi, a commander in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, stated that the “Americans are begging us for a deal on the negotiation table.”

Many expect a major peace agreement with Iran to be announced soon, certainly before Obama leaves office. Informed people close to the president have said that securing peace with Iran is currently Mr. Obama’s primary ambition. He wants to go down in history as the president who solved the Iran question. “This is his ticket to Mt. Rushmore,” wrote Charles Krauthammer.

Actually, securing “peace” with Iran has been Obama’s top foreign-policy goal from the start. In the first year of his presidency “there were more [White House] meetings on Iran than there were on Iraq, Afghanistan and China,” a senior Obama administration official told the New York Times in 2010. This would be great if the president were discussing how to achieve peace by ending Iran’s nuclear program and regional hegemony. Obviously this wasn’t the case.

“[Iran] was the thing we spent the most time on and talked about the least in public,” stated the official. Why wouldn’t the White House reveal what it was thinking? Because, as events of the past six years verify, the administration was willing from the beginning to concede and allow Tehran regional dominance and a nuclear program in return for a grand rapprochement.

For more than six years, the White House has deceived the American people and the world about its true intent toward Iran. Only in the past few months are people beginning to realize the nightmare America’s president has helped to create.

The Trumpet has warned about the Obama administration’s dangerous view of Iran from the beginning. The president’s 2009 speech in Cairo was especially revealing; it elicited a powerful, prescient response from Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry. That article dissected Mr. Obama’s address, and exposed his dangerous affinity for Iran.

Iran is the king of terror and makes the Middle East tremble! But President Obama didn’t even mention the word terrorism in his speech!” Mr. Flurry wrote. He warned: “It all gets back to Iran, Iran and Iran! Yet our president will hardly talk about the brutal king of terrorism. Iran is the terrorist problem in the Middle East. Terrorism started with Iran and is empowered by that nation, more than any other in the world. Iran is the problem you have to deal with if you are ever going to solve anything in the Middle East.”

Mr. Flurry wrote this in August 2009!

Another warning from that article resonates powerfully today: “President Obama’s speech is a great turning point in this world. It is going to play a major role in terrifying prophecies of your Bible being fulfilled.”

Nearly six years later, we are about to witness a major peace agreement between Iran and the West. Talk of such an agreement ought to alarm a lot more people than it does! Iran today is exactly the same terrorist-sponsoring, West-hating, apocalypse-seeking, radical Islamist nation it was when Barack Obama became president. The difference is that it has greater power over the Middle East and is closer to getting nuclear weapons!

This is the worst possible moment to sign a deal with Iran. A peace agreement with the West is exactly what Tehran’s mullahs need to get to the finish line!

America believes and hopes it will secure peace. It will get the opposite.

Nuclear War

If you haven’t yet done so, please study Daniel 11:40-45. It contains an important prophecy about Iran and radical Islam.

Notice that the events of Daniel 11 occur at “the time of the end.” Putting this passage together with other scriptures, that time period is revealed as the years just prior to Jesus Christ’s return, which, when you really think about it, makes this prophecy awesome and positive. This prophecy describes a “king of the south” pushing at a “king of the north.” As Mr. Flurry explains, and events on the ground verify, the “king of the south” here is Iran at the helm of radical Islam. The “king of the north” is a German-led European empire.

Think about what this prophecy means in terms of international relations, strategically and territorially. This “king of the south” must have an expansive and powerful presence. It also must have the means to sorely antagonize the “king of the north.” Iran today controls the Red Sea and Persian Gulf, it has the ears and support of radical Islamist terrorists all over the world, and it is about to have nuclear weapons. It has plenty of tools in its arsenal with which it can antagonize people!

And remarkably, over the past six years, Barack Obama has led America in effectively endorsing the apocalyptic ambitions of this belligerent “king of the south”!

If you study this passage in Daniel, you will see that Iran’s pushiness with Europe incites a massive response from Germany—and sets off a chain of events that ends with the return of Jesus Christ. If you think a nuclear Iran is frightening, you should study what the Bible says about the German-led European empire that confronts Iran. Our free booklet The King of the South, by Gerald Flurry, explains this thoroughly.

By endorsing Iran’s ambitions, the Obama administration is effectively assisting the emergence of the radical Islamist entity that is the primary catalyst for thrusting the world into nuclearwar! This is truly terrifying. The nuclear stakes, as well as Mr. Obama’s alarming acceptance of a nuclear and imperialist Iran, makes America’s relationship with Tehran today far more frightening than Britain’s approach to Nazi Germany before the Second World War.

It’s fine to view Mr. Obama as America’s Neville Chamberlain, but only if we are prepared to imagine Chamberlain allowing Adolf Hitler nuclear weapons. Because that is exactly what is happening.