The Spine

Steele On Obama


One doesn't normally head to Shelby Steele for wisdom on foreignaffairs.  But here in the morning's Wall Street Journal is aprovocative and counter-intuitive by Steele which is headed by thesurprising (for Steele) line, "Obama Is Right On Iran."  Yes, it ismore than a bit patronizing.  Still, it does make a complicated argumentthat candidate Obama does not make.  "Diplomacy," Steele, writes is "nowthe most glamorous word in the Democratic 'antiwar' lexicon."  ButDemocrats somehow do not see -- or admit -- the possibility that diplomacy willfail.  Most diplomacy fails.

But Steele's logic is to recognize this fact...and also the fact that theworld and also many Americans, alas, do not recognize the moral authorityof our strategy.  So: "Were an American president (or a secretary of statefor the less daring) to land in Tehran, the risk to America, prestige wouldbe enormous.  The Mullahs would make us characters in a tale of theirgrandeur.  Yet moral authority would redound to us precisely for makingourselves vulnerable to this kind of exploitation."

Imagine if Jimmy Carter would have gone to Tehran...

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