It has become clear in recent weeks that most members of Congress have little or no confidence in President Obama's approach to talks with Iran -- and with good reason. Now Obama has threatened to veto new economic sanctions after Iran agreed to implement the six-month interim deal signed in November. That veto threat followed heated words from White House national security officials alleging that Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and other senators were working to push the U.S. toward war with Iran.
But it's Obama's approach, not the congressional push for tough new sanctions, that's leading the U.S. down the path to another war in the Middle East. Obama is like the man who wanders into a used-car lot and declares he won't leave without buying a car despite multiple warning signs that the dealer is a crook who sells nothing but clunkers and lemons.
The president's chief spokesman, Jay Carney, pleaded during his regular media briefing Monday for time for the talks to work, but he was vague on what will define success. The interim deal already concedes to Iran the ability to continue enriching uranium --which it is barred from doing by United Nations resolutions -- and immediately begins the release of frozen Iranian assets.
But it gets worse. The interim deal was negotiated in secret, behind the backs of key U.S. allies such as Israel and Saudi Arabia, both of which already see Iran's non-nuclear activities as a threat to their very existence. Both countries -- seeing that Obama made no effort to protect their respective interests -- have taken steps to protect themselves.
Saudi Arabia is drawing closer to Pakistan, which already is a nuclear power, and Israel is widely believed to have a nuclear deterrent of its own. Does anyone outside the White House really believe the two countries won't act unilaterally against Iran if they feel their existence is threatened, drawing the U.S. unwillingly into conflict?
Meanwhile, Obama has never dealt effectively with Iran's attempts to destabilize countries across the Middle East by spreading sectarian conflict. From Lebanon to Iraq and Yemen, Iran's support for Shia Muslims have fueled deadly conflicts with their Sunni counterparts.
In Iraq and Syria, al Qaeda has enjoyed a resurgence as embattled Sunnis take a second look at the terrorist group with which the U.S. is already at war. In Bahrain, Shia-Sunni conflict threatens the Navy's headquarters in the Gulf, a key base for minesweepers crucial to keeping the Strait of Hormuz open.
The American Enterprise Institute, in a hard-hitting report Monday, noted that Iran has for decades pursued a strategy to limit U.S. influence in the Middle East. The report called U.S. counter-strategy "a set of incoherent, ineffective and increasingly irrelevant policies." That's the real U.S.-Iran problem, which creates the greatest risk of a new war. And it's one Obama hasn't even tried to solve.