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Sarkozy's Contempt for Obama

Sarkozy's Contempt for Obama

By Jack Kelly - September 29, 2009

The contempt with which the president of France regards the president of the United States was displayed in public last week.

Nicolas Sarkozy was furious with Barack Obama for his adolescent warbling about a world without nuclear weapons at a meeting Mr. Obama chaired of the United Nations Security Council last Thursday (9/24).

"We must never stop until we see the day when nuclear arms have been banished from the face of the earth," President Obama said.

What infuriated President Sarkozy was that at the time Mr. Obama said those words, Mr. Obama knew the mullahs in Iran had a secret nuclear weapons development site, and he didn't call them on it.

‘President Obama dreams of a world without weapons...but right in front of us two countries are doing the exact opposite," Mr. Sarkozy said.

"Iran since 2005 has flouted five Security Council resolutions," Mr. Sarkozy said. "North Korea has been defying Council resolutions since 1993."

"What good has proposals for dialogue brought the international community?" he asked rhetorically. "More uranium enrichment and declarations by the leaders of Iran to wipe out a UN member state off the map."

If the Security Council had imposed serious sanctions on the regimes which are flouting UN resolutions, the resolution Mr. Obama proposed about working toward nuclear disarmament wouldn't have been so meaningless, Mr. Sarkozy implied.

"If we have courage to impose sanctions together it will lend viability to our commitment to reduce or own weapons and to making a world without nuke weapons," he said.

The extent of President Obama's naivete - or duplicity - was on display Friday at the G20 summit when the president, flanked by Mr. Sarkozy and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, revealed to the American public that Iran had a second nuclear weapons site on a military base near the holy city of Qom.

News reports indicated Mr. Obama had been briefed on the site before his inauguration. But he's been conducting his foreign policy as if the mullahs could be trusted.

"Iran has been put on notice," President Obama said in Pittsburgh.

Iran responded to being "put on notice" by testing Monday two ballistic missiles that could carry a nuclear warhead 1,200 miles.

It was to protect Europe from such missiles that the ABM system President Obama abruptly cancelled earlier this month was designed.

Obama administration officials said the ABM cancellation - regarded as a betrayal by Poland and the Czech Republic, where the missiles and radars were to be located - actually improved U.S. security, because it has made Russia more amenable to sanctions against Iran.

The UN Security Council has never passed strong sanctions against Iran because Russia and China have vetoed them. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said he still doesn't like economic sanctions, but will support them if diplomacy fails. China remains opposed.

President Obama shouldn't count on Russian support, said Soviet expert David Satter.

"Words are cheap for the Kremlin and the Iranians are aware of this," he said. "The Russians, having endorsed sanctions, will now find hundreds of reasons why any specific sanctions package is unfair...The reason is that support for Iran is Russia's most important trump card in foreign relations and there is little likelihood they will give it up."

Iran has been put on notice before. At the G8 meeting in Italy in July, Mr. Obama and other leaders set a "firm deadline" of Sep. 10 for the Iranians to make a serious offer to negotiate about their nuclear program. When the mullahs blew him off, Mr. Obama quietly extended the deadline until December.

December could be too late. "Tehran soon could have humankind's most frightening weapon if substantial diplomatic progress is not made in the coming days," Rep. Howard Berman (D-Cal), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said Saturday (9/26).

If severe economic sanctions are not imposed immediately, in months if not in weeks, only a military strike will b e able to prevent an Iranian bomb.

But after sternly lecturing Iran on its international obligations Friday, President Obama didn't call for sanctions. He called for more negotiations. And then, as the Iranians were spitting in his eye with the missile test, he jetted off to Copenhagen to lobby to have the 2016 Olympics held in Chicago.

No wonder Nicolas Sarkozy holds him in contempt.

Jack Kelly is a columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and The Blade of Toledo, Ohio.

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