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Obama left a toxic legacy

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By John Barnhart

    As of this writing, tensions are rising between the United States and Iran. President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal last year and this year declared Iran’s Revolutionary Guard to be a terrorist organization. This opened the door to economic sanctions against the Guard, which has extensive business dealings.
    The latter action seems to have really hit home with Iran’s leadership, which has gone into overdrive fulminating against the United States. The fun-loving bearded fellows who run the country have threatened the other signatories of the deal, which have stuck by it, giving them 60 days to give Iran a better deal or Iran will pull out altogether.
    Some tankers in Persian Gulf ports have been damaged by some sort of floating devices from an unknown source. Drones launched by Houthi rebels in Yemen have hit a pumping station on an oil pipeline in Saudi Arabia. The drones are obviously Iranian as the Houthis certainly have no way to construct anything that sophisticated and they are known to be Iranian proxies. In Iraq somebody, apparently from an Iranian allied militia, launched a missile at the U. S. embassy in Bagdad.
    On our side, the U. S. has sent an aircraft carrier battle group to the area, but this is not an escalation of the American military presence there as I understand it is relieving a carrier battle group we already have there. We have also sent B-52 bombers to some place, I haven’t seen where, in the Middle East. The B-52 has a lot of range and can launch long range cruise missiles while staying well out outside Iranian airspace.
    Pundits have placed the blame for all the tension on a couple of different sources. Some claim President Trump is carrying water for Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu. While President Trump has made some Israeli-friendly moves, I think these have more to do with the fact that much of President Trump’s base is staunchly pro-Israeli. His moves in the last year against Iran, however, have nothing to do with Benjamin Netanyahu.
    Others claim he is being manipulated by National Security Advisor John Bolton, but I doubt President Trump is manipulated by anybody. Keep in mind Bolton was appointed to his current post by President Trump and it would seem likely President Trump would appoint somebody who would see eye-to-eye with him on Iran.
    Nobody blames the real culprit. The blame for this tension rests totally with Barack Obama. Obama was so determined that he was going to end his presidency with a deal with Iran, any deal with Iran, that he signed off on a bad deal. The deal did not end Iran’s program to enrich uranium, it just put it on hold for a number of years. Eventually, Iran would be free to resume doing what it had been doing before the deal.
    It also did nothing to limit Iranian ballistic missile development. Once the restrictions expired, Iran will have a short  sprint to acquire enough fissile material for bombs and to successfully test a weaponized nuke. Once they have a successful test, it will not take them long to deploy a small force, enough to threaten the Saudis, of nuclear tipped missiles.
    By not walking away from a bad deal, like President Trump did with North Korea last year, Obama threw away the entire system of economic sanctions that forced Iran to the negotiating table. It took years of U. S. diplomacy, and arm twisting, to build that system of sanctions and, by throwing it away and getting nothing for it, Barack Obama handed President Trump a ticking time bomb.
    I don’t know, at this point, if the bomb will blow up, but I would sure like to see Obama get the blame he deserves if it does.