Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Spoiling the Image of Success


President Obama wants a unified front against Iran, and to that end he stood together with Nicolas Sarkozy and Gordon Brown in Pittsburgh on Friday morning to reveal the news about Tehran's secret facility to build bomb-grade fuel. But now we hear that the French and British leaders were quietly seething on stage, annoyed by America's handling of the announcement.

Both countries wanted to confront Iran a day earlier at the United Nations. Mr. Obama was, after all, chairing a Security Council session devoted to nonproliferation. The latest evidence of Iran's illegal moves toward acquiring a nuclear weapon was in hand. With the world's leaders gathered in New York, the timing and venue would be a dramatic way to rally international opinion.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy flanked by President Barack Obama, and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. President Sarkozy in particular pushed hard. He had been "frustrated" for months about Mr. Obama's reluctance to confront Iran, a senior French government official told us, and saw an opportunity to change momentum. But the Administration told the French that it didn't want to "spoil the image of success" for Mr. Obama's debut at the U.N. and his homily calling for a world without nuclear weapons, according to the Paris daily Le Monde. So the Iran bombshell was pushed back a day to Pittsburgh, where the G-20 were meeting to discuss economic policy.

Le Monde's diplomatic correspondent, Natalie Nougayrède, reports that a draft of Mr. Sarkozy's speech to the Security Council Thursday included a section on Iran's latest deception. Forced to scrap that bit, the French President let his frustration show with undiplomatic gusto in his formal remarks, laying into what he called the "dream" of disarmament. The address takes on added meaning now that we know the backroom discussions.

It is amazing how un-serious the Obama team is. They care more about images than reality. Being perpetual campaigners it isn't surprising how they got this view. When you are campaigning, any truth can be spun, reality can be changed with a turn of phrase. At some point in the real world, hard facts catch up. Unfortunately for us, we have the worst possible President in some of our most dangerous times (even his attempt not to "spoil the image of success" turned out to be a disaster. It's not like the G-20 meeting was so far into the future that people forgot the utopian garbage that Obama was spewing at the UN . And then being exposed by the French President didn't do him any good either).

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