[These areÂ our answers to questions posed by the Iranian weekly Panjereh (meaning “window”) about the effect of the mid-term Congressional elections on U.S. foreign policy.]
Q. Given the Republican’s victory, how do you see the future challenge to Obama’s foreign policy?
A. The main impact of the Republican victory will be to further discourage Obama from deviating significantly from the Bush policies. Thus, for example, his withdrawal from Iraq will mainly consist of a redeployment of combat troops to Afghanistan while leaving a substantial support force in Iraq. In Palestine he will continue to dance around the issue of the illegal settlements without succeeding in addressing the heart of the dispute. However, the election of Rand Paul to Congress may be a wild card as he and many of the “Tea Party movement” voters that supported him feel that the military should not be exempt from the budget cuts necessary to address America’s enormous debt problem. Since Sen. Paul opposes cutting the salaries of soldiers or the medical benefits of veterans, the primary target for cuts will have to be the unnecessary and counter-productive wars that Bush started and Obama has embraced.
Q. With regard to these developments, what’s your assessment of Obama’s policy toward Iran?
A. In Iran, too, Obama will pursue what he conceives to be a “moderate” course, namely to continue putting intense sanctions on Iran over the nuclear issue without launching a direct attack as Israel desires. This may have the unintended consequence of forcing him into a third war front if Israel decides to attack Iran unilaterally, as Obama will feel domestic Zionist pressure to intervene on Israel’s behalf if Iran takes direct or indirect retaliatory or defensive military action.
Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D.
Minaret of Freedom Institute