Saturday, June 19, 2010

Presidential Obama

On NPR yesterday I heard Obama was quietly encouraging further negotiations between Turkey, Brazil and Iran “behind the scenes.” If this is true, I believe this is one of Obama’s most presidential moments.

The UN Security Council voted for sanctions against Iran Wednesday.

The sanctions target Iran's Revolutionary Guard, ballistic missiles and nuclear-related investments. The resolution passed 12-2 with Turkey and Brazil voting "no" and Lebanon abstaining.

Ibrahim Kalin, an adviser to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, says his country agrees with the U.S. and Europe on the ultimate goal — to prevent Iran from having a nuclear bomb.

"We don't disagree in substance; we disagree in style," he told reporters at the Turkish Embassy in Washington this week.

Sen. John McCain said Turkey's embrace of Iran will not help regional peace and threatens Turkey's legacy as a secular nation. "The rhetoric Erdogan is using concerning Israel and the obvious thumb in the eye that Turkey and Brazil orchestrated with this feckless agreement on enriched material is an indication that Turkey continues at a crossroad,"


As far as I’m concerned McCain is behaving like a posturing little boy as much as Ahmadinejad is.

Under an agreement signed by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Motaki and Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim in Tehran on May 17, Iran committed to give 1,200kg of 3.5% enriched uranium to Turkey in exchange for 20% enriched uranium it will receive from Western countries to be used as fuel in the nuclear research reactor in Tehran.

Omer Celik, the deputy chairman of the ruling Justice & Development (AK) Party for foreign affairs, said if Turkey had not cast a 'no' vote and if the Tehran agreement had not still been valid, the tension between Iran and the West would have triggered instability in Iraq, had a negative impact on the Lebanese government, and caused new clashes in the Middle East.

If Obama is truly pushing for behind the scenes negotiations it reminds me of John Kennedy and the Cuban Missile crisis.

At the time we had missiles in Turkey right at the Russian border. They were already old and in disrepair. Dismantling them allowed the Soviet Union to save face when they pulled out of Cuba.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, left, has worked to portray himself as a mediator. Here he poses with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan after the signing of the Iranian nuclear fuel swap deal on May 17 (Credit: Atta Kenare /AFP/Getty Images).

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