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September 30, 2013 8:37 am

Why Does Obama Trust Despots?

avatar by Daniel Pipes

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President Obama addresses the nation on Syria. Photo: Screenshot.

Has anyone else noted the similarity between two recent top Middle East news headlines – the telephone call between the Iranian and American presidents and the passage of U.N. Security Council Resoluton 2118 that calls for the “expeditious destruction” of Syrian chemical weapons? In both cases:

  • A long-ruling tyrant (Ali Khamene’i, Bashar al-Assad,) is reaching out to the West.
  • Those tyrants are furiously signaling an apparent reform (a smiling Hassan Rouhani, Assad acknowledging his chemical weapons and agreeing to turn them over).
  • “Who us, WMD?” they ask. “No interest at all in them.”

Count me skeptical. In part, I’ve learned over the decades that pessimism is good for one’s career as a Middle East analyst. In part, both the Iranian and Syrian governments have shown such dedication to their WMD buildups that it’s nearly inconceivable either will voluntarily undo them.

I just hope that the U.S. and other governments don’t fall prey to manipulations and delays. Given the occupant in the White House, however, that seems like a very probable outcome, especially in the Iranian case.

This article was originally published by National Review Online.

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