Over the weekend, American “hostages” who had been illegally held in Iran, some for almost five years, were finally released.
According to President Barack Obama, their release was secured because of Secretary John Kerry and others on his “negotiations team,” also known as his national security team.
US President Barack Obama speaks about US - Iranian relations, including the Iranian-American nationals that were jailed in Iran and are being freed as part of a prisoner swap, in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, DC, January 17, 2016. The presidential statement comes after the lifting of international sanctions against Iran as part of a nuclear deal capped by a US-Iranian prisoner exchange. AFP / SAUL LOEB
“We have achieved this historic progress through diplomacy without resorting to another war in the Middle East,” Obama said.
Believing that the United States has come out on the short-end following recent negotiations with Iran, namely the Iran Nuclear Agreement signed late last year, the recent negotiated return of our sailors after the widespread release of their photos on their knees and this past weekend’s release of those held captive in Iran, I looked up the definition of “diplomacy” to get a better understanding of how America “achieved historic progress” and benefited from it.
Diplomacy, according to one definition is the “skill of managing international relations and includes the art of dealing with people in a sensitive and effective way.”
Sensitive indeed, effective, not so much, at least where the American people are concerned after finding out the particulars of this latest U.S.-Iran deal.
Typically, with any negotiation, both sides need to come out feeling like they have won or at least gotten most of what they wanted to accomplish.
One has to ask, what in the world were those negotiators sent by Obama, looking to achieve? Was losing their objective?
It would appear that the U.S. negotiators were only sensitive to recognizing what was important to the Iranian government.
The Iranian government will receive access to $400 million of their assets, previously frozen by the U.S. in 1981. In addition, they will be getting the equivalent of the recent Powerball jackpot, as they will also receive an additional $1.3 billion in interest which has accrued on those assets.
Additionally, Obama has once again used his pen to sign another executive order. This time, we are told that Obama has “pardoned” three Iranians charged with sanction violations, who according to Obama, would pose no danger to Americans and the administration has also moved to drop charges or commute prison sentences for five other men.
This new “diplomatic” agreement is a reversal of the past five years of U.S. policy, during which U.S. law enforcement prosecuted these types of actions and considered them to be a threat to national security.
A pardon, by definition, means that Obama overturned the “convictions” of those individuals. However, in the true sense of the word, there would have had to be a trial and a conviction for a crime in order for a pardon to be used. In the case of the three Iranians, there were no convictions to be excused, merely pending charges.
Also, Obama granted clemency to seven Iranians, six of whom are U.S.-Iranian citizens and has agreed to withdraw international arrest notices of 14 other Iranians, who allegedly committed sanction violations.
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) viewed Obama’s “diplomacy” differently than Obama.
“We released seven terrorists who had helped Iran with their nuclear program, and we agreed not to prosecute another 14 terrorists for doing the same thing,” Cruz said on Fox News Sunday. “Our enemies are laughing at us,” Cruz concluded.
Kerry was quick to tweet out that “Today marks the first day of a safer world, one we hope will remain safer for many years to come.”
It didn’t go unnoticed to me that Kerry used the word “safer” and not “safe” when he described the state of the world following his eloquent diplomacy. Any good diplomat knows that he must always leave room for error when dealing with issues of “diplomacy” just in case he was miscalculated the outcome of an agreement.
What did the U.S. actually receive for its part at the bargaining table, other than the release of men who did nothing wrong? It’s not difficult to figure out.
We got a presidential legacy!
A legacy in which Obama will be able to tout that “Whereas Iran was steadily expanding its nuclear program, we have now cut off every single path that Iran could have used to build a bomb,” according to Obama. “But today’s progress and accepted unprecedented monitoring of that program – these things are a reminder of what we can achieve when we lead with strength and with wisdom; courage and resolve and patience,” Obama concluded.
Today marks the realization for many Americans that wrongdoing will now be tolerated by this administration and many on the left.
Americans will also understand that those who hold our people “hostage” in the future will be “negotiated with” instead of facing a zero tolerance stance from the U.S. We have once again signaled to the world that we are willing to co-exist with evil rather than defeat it.
Even as the Iranian exchange of our people was being carried out, Iraq was reporting the alleged kidnapping of three American citizens in Baghdad.
An Iraqi police colonel, speaking on condition of anonymity, reportedly said that three Americans and an Iraqi translator were kidnapped in southern Baghdad. He indicated further that a search was underway to find the victims.
The colonel described the kidnappers as militiamen wearing military uniforms. No additional information regarding the Americans was given.
According to reports, several years ago, Iraq turned to paramilitary forces dominated by Iran-backed Shiite militias to help combat the Islamic State jihadist group. This paramilitary force from Iran, while playing a key role in the fight against jihadists, have been accused of kidnappings, summary executions and other unlawful actions.
While Obama was trying to convince the American public, after the U.S.-Iran swap that, “We can leave this world and make it safer and more secure for our children and our grandchildren for generations to come,” if it turns out to be true that this Iranian paramilitary group was in any way involved in the kidnappings of Americans, it will be more proof to the American public that Obama’s hopes for the future with Iran and his presidential legacy, may not end as well as he had hoped.
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