Obama’s “Flexibility” Gaffe

In Tehran it may have a different resonance


Obama’s “Flexibility” Gaffe
by Guive Mirfendereski

The other day, during the Nuclear Summit in Seoul, unawares of the live microphone – or maybe very much aware of it – the President of the United States was heard saying to the President of the Russian Federation that he would have after the November elections in the United States more flexibility with respect to the East European missile defense system/shield – a topic of interest to the Russian Federation. What should be the Iranian and Israeli governments’ take from this comment – “greater flexibility after the election?”

First, the Israeli government – Already the Obama Administration has leaned on Israel to forego the military strike against Iranian nuclear sites and give time to the sanctions and diplomacy to work. This leaning on Israel has come during an election year, when U.S. presidents typically give Israel a free reign, fearing a backlash from Jewish voters and the hawks of both parties. If Israel is serious about attacking the Iranian nuclear sites – one would think – the Obama “gaffe” signals that perhaps after the elections the U.S. would put even greater pressure on Israel to forego the military option. Or maybe not – maybe all this leaning on Israel for now is to make sure that the U.S. does not get dragged into another war, which could dim the President’s re-election prospects. But then, with every Republican candidate for presidency – minus Ron Paul – engaging in “war talk” - one would think that an Israeli attack on Iran would not make much of a difference in the President’s re-election prospects.

Israel may well want to consider a strike before the U.S. presidential elections, for the fear that after the re-election, the Obama Administration would nix any talk about military strike on Iran. Meanwhile, the Israeli calculus presently will take account of the fact that the Obama Administration – as reluctant as it may be – would have to stand by Israel if Israel launched a strike on Iran before the November elections. So – all this points to a short calendar, from today until Labor Day, for Israel to strike Iran if it were to do so.

In Tehran, the “flexibility gaffe” may have a different resonance. The whole sales pitch behind the U.S.-sponsored European missile defense program in Eastern Europe has been about thwarting the Iranian missile strikes on European targets. If after the election, the U.S. would become “flexible” – meaning, conciliatory and concessionary – with respect to the deployment of missile defense in Eastern Europe, it would be in part because the Iranian threat – actual or perceived – is no longer there or substantially degraded. That means only two things: Either, an Israeli/American strike on Iranian nuclear and missile sites right will have come after the November elections, or the Iranian government has come completely clean and submitted to a verifiable removal of intermediate-range missiles and military nuclear materials. With the Iranian threat gone, the post-election U.S. can give up the East European missile defense program, per the wishes of the Russian Federation.

Now – in Moscow – would not the Russian President – present and future – lean on Iran to avert a military strike on Iranian soil.


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Esfand Aashena

Pictures o Iranians takin Norooz pictures w/ US copter in Tabas!

by Esfand Aashena on


Perhaps they should move the defense shield somewhere in the south! 

Everything is sacred


Re flexibility

by Arj on

The so-called "missile defence program" was essentially one of the strategic tools employed by the Neocon-sponsored 'Project for a New American Century' in order to expand NATO all the way to the Russian borders among other tools such as maintaining the U.S. military bases in the (non-European/central Asian) former soviet republics such Uzbakistan and Kyrgyzstan, in addition to ME and Persian Gulf region! However, due to the decline of Neocon influence in the White House and waning strategic importance of the program, it now is mainly used as a bargaining chip by Obama to score geopolitical points with the Russians.

Moreover, Obama hopes that by delivering the "bunker busting bombs" to Israel he has managed to get the AIPAC crowd off his back, while at the same time, having called BB's bluff! For while inviting him to exercise restraint and giving his sanctions regime a chance, for the time being he has managaed to thwart the claims by the AIPAC crowd that he does not support Israel. After all, even GWB did not give BB the BBB!


Guive jan you overlook something obvious

by aynak on

  It is surprising that you do not include the real history in this exchange, namely Russians wanting these missles installed in somewhere more friendly or netural acceptable to both parties, like Azarbaijan.   That's how the Russian initially called U.S's bluff during Bush presidency when the "East Europen defence plan against M.E threat" first came out.   OBama had to cancel Bush's plan, as the Russians argued: * if the intent of the missle defence is really to protect against a hypothetical attack from M.E  (i.e Iran), and not Russia, there are far better stratigic locations for them than Eastern Europe*  This plan was scrapped off by Obama admin initially because *there were no missle threat from Iran on Eastern Europe as Russian had pointed out* but has been revived under a more generic Euromissle defense (that obviously does not include Russia).

My read of all of this and please correct me, is that, Obama is trying to say I have to keep missle industry + the couple of E.U countries who are scared shit of Putin, off my back (because they really fear you guys, but I know you are cool), and am playing this up until election, otherwise I will hear from GOP that I am against "real" security etc.  I think Israel strike on Iran etc is secondary if not an issue at all the issue here.