It is said that if you are a hammer, the whole world is a nail. So it is with Joe Biden’s dream of making another nuclear deal with Iran.
Anything that looks like a serious hurdle to ordinary eyes is, to Biden, an invitation in disguise. Even the election of a hardliner as Iran’s president, a man accused of playing a major role in the mass execution of political opponents three decades ago, is said to be a good sign that a deal is within reach.
If this sounds crazy, welcome to the upside-down world of the president’s foreign policy. When the goal is to do the opposite of whatever Donald Trump did, only a Never Trumper can understand the logic.
That describes the New York Times as well as all the president’s men. The Gray Lady, having never given Trump credit for anything, is on a mission to give Biden credit for everything. Distorting reality to make him appear wise and heroic is part of the selling job.
Such is the impression created by Sunday’s front-page story, which declares in a two-deck headline that “Iran’s Election Could Speed Nuclear Deal” and that a “Hardliner May Be Biden’s Best Chance.”
The “News Analysis” tag is a sign the writers are at liberty to inject more than the usual dose of opinion and speculation. Because the Times editorializes in supposedly straight-news stories, upping the dose could take the reader into the realm of fiction.
It feels like we’re there when the writers claim American negotiators believe the election means “the moment may have come” for a breakthrough.
That conclusion relies on a “theory” spun mostly by anonymous sources about the aims and methods of Ayatollah Khamenei, who is said to be “stage-managing” the election and nuke talks. In a giant leap, we are told this is “Biden’s bet.”
This is cheerleading, not analysis.
Nothing new there. The Times helped Barack Obama push the first Iran deal over the finish line in 2015 by downplaying or concealing its weaknesses, and appears determined to help Biden resurrect a corpse that should be left to rot.
Consider that during recent negotiations in Vienna, the Iranians refused even to meet with Americans. Instead, Europeans carried notes between the two sides’ luxury hotel accommodations.
Also, the newly-elected president, Ebrahim Raisi, immediately rejected any meeting with Biden. Raisi got elected with a low turnout, with many Iranians not voting because they believed the result was rigged.
Normally, all those behaviors would be unacceptable and reason alone to call off the talks.
Instead, Biden and the Times profess to see every insult, along with the election, as proof of Iran’s eagerness to make a deal.
This is a semantic switch from 2015, when Obama and his media handmaidens sold the deal as empowering Iranian moderates. Now, with no moderates in sight, we are told every word and deed proves the hardliners want a deal.
Never mind how wrong they were before, with Iran continually violating both the letter and spirit of the earlier deal, which Trump rightly scuttled.
Even now, with Biden practically begging for a new one, Iranians say publicly they won’t change the earlier terms or discuss other issues, including their support for terrorism.
Although Trump’s tough approach didn’t break Iran’s resolve, it certainly reduced its influence. But now America is back to granting concessions in exchange for insults, which will embolden Iran in all the worst ways.
Israel is opposed to a new deal, knowing it is the primary target of terrorism and the nuke program. The mullahs’ pledge to wipe Israel off the map is not forgotten in the Jewish state.
Nor are our Arab allies, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and others, in favor of Biden’s lifting the sanctions on Iran’s oil sector and allowing it to participate in the international banking system.
Trump’s embrace of Israel, and pressure on Iran, helped forge the historic Abraham Accords between Israel and four Muslim nations. Biden aides won’t even use the official title of those agreements, lest it make Trump look good.
Perhaps the biggest sign of Biden’s desperation is that Raisi’s role in the crushing of dissidents is not an obstacle. Biden downgraded US relations with Saudi Arabia largely because the Crown Prince was implicated in the death of a single person, Jamal Kashoggi, a regime opponent and writer.
The double standards make a mockery of Biden’s promise to make human rights a pillar of foreign policy. The left always sounds a loud trumpet on the issue when a Republican sits in the White House, but when they have a chance to do better, they punt.
Biden engaged in sweet talk with China despite its crackdown in Hong Kong and its mass detention and forced labor of Uighurs. And he talked tough about Vladimir Putin being a “killer” until he met with him.
The upshot is that Biden, like Obama, is adapting American policy to the lowest common denominator of Europe. For example, the climate change emergency that supposedly required the president to shut down the Keystone XL pipeline and kill thousands of American jobs was nowhere in sight when Biden lifted sanctions on the Russian pipeline to Europe because Germany wanted to buy Russian natural gas.
At heart, the great power balance remains fairly simple: There is no Western alliance that means anything without bold American leadership. Trump instinctively understood this and was willing to go it alone on a number of issues, perhaps to a fault.
While he alternately angered the Europeans, China, Iran and even Russia, he had major successes with a consistent policy that put America first.
By always taking the opposite approach, the inevitable conclusion is that Biden is consistently putting America last.
Imperfect, but best
The inbox runneth over with doubts about my making Eric Adams the top choice in the Democrats’ mayoral primary. Here’s a sampling:
Michael Carlson writes, “As a former 36-year member of the NYPD, I can tell you Eric was never a cop and was only interested in raising racial tension in the NYPD.”
Susan Krochak remembers that Adams “gave the worst advice from an elected official when he advised people to settle their disputes over illegal fireworks on their own without involving the police. This resulted in a homicide. Shatavia Walls was shot and died after taking Adams advice.”
Howard Siegel sums up his doubts succinctly: “My political instincts tell me that Adams is not the law and order candidate he purports to be.”
My response: No candidate is perfect but I believe Adams is the most capable and determined to tackle the crime that is killing New York.
The Post reported Monday that city prosecutors dropped charges against hundreds of those arrested last summer for rioting and looting.
On Tuesday, it reported that at least 39 cops face discipline over their conduct in the same riots.
This is Bill de Blasio’s New York.