Obama’s triumphant tour of the African half of his roots was marred by Mike Huckabee, Republican presidential candidate.
Now I dislike any politician of a certain age who insists on being known by the diminutive version of his Christian name. However, Mr Huckabee’s ability to rile Obama entitles him to calling himself even Mickey if he so chooses. This is what he said:
“This president’s foreign policy is the most feckless in American history… he would take the Israelis and basically march them to the door of the oven.
“We forget Iranians have never kept a deal in 36 years... There’s no reason to think they will suddenly start doing it.
“The Iran deal is a bad deal, bad for America and bad for Israel.”
Obama was so incensed he had to interrupt his Kenyan tribal dance in mid-step. The drums fell silent, and only the president’s voice was heard once he had regained command of it.
That statement, said Obama, “would be considered ridiculous if it weren’t so sad…” And his acolyte Debbie Wasserman Schultz described Mr Huckerbee’s statement as “grossly irresponsible”.
This is good knockabout stuff, but it falls short of being a cogent argument. Trying to offer one, Barack Hussein proved he is as hard of hearing as he is hopeless at rhetoric.
“I have not heard another argument [against] that holds up.” That makes the president deaf, for every conceivable medium all over the West has been screaming devastating arguments against the deal.
These come from strategists, armament experts, political analysts, weapon inspectors – not all of them in the pay of the Republicans, Mossad or aliens from the planet Islamophobia.
But hold on, Obama has an argument of his own: “99% of the world thinks it’s a good deal.”
I congratulate the president on the proficiency of his polling service. Surveying a population of six billion in such a short time is a feat of monumental proportions.
So monumental in fact that one is tempted to think that no such poll has been conducted, and Obama’s calculation was pulled out of the portion of his anatomy he shakes when whirling to the sound of African drums.
But do let’s suppose for the sake of argument that what he said is true. In that case, his statement is a classic rhetorical fallacy, known as argumentum ad populum (if many believe it, it’s true.)
Of course modern, and especially American, politics is based on fideistic worship of majority opinion, which is one thing that’s wrong with modern politics.
But forget generalities of rhetoric or politics. Forget even Mr Huckabee’s oratorical flourishes that are as hyperbolic as to be expected from a politician in the throes of a campaign. Forget also the variously disparaging adjectives used by Obama and his retinue to describe Mr Huckabee’s statements.
Let’s just look at the points he made and, rather than calling them (and him) names, see if they’re true or false. Mr Huckabee believes this is a rotten deal because:
1) Iran has been trying to get nuclear weapons for decades.
2) Iran’s leaders honestly say such weapons will be used to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, presumably killing every Israeli.
3) Since Iran is a major sponsor and perpetrator of global anti-Western terrorism, her acquisition of nuclear weapons presents a danger not just to Israel but to us all.
4) Contrary to what Obama claims, the deal involves a great element of trust, for its provisions for verification are inadequate.
5) However, Iran is untrustworthy in view of her record of breaking or sabotaging every agreement she has signed since 1979.
6) Judging by the Iranian leadership’s publicly expressed belief that the deal constitutes America’s surrender, and huge Iranian crowds celebrating it with ‘Death to America’ chants, Iran’s view of it is different from Obama’s.
7) Hence the deal is awful first because it puts at the ayatollahs’ disposal billions that may be used for nefarious purposes and, second, because it practically guarantees their acquiring a nuclear capability within a decade.
8) Therefore Obama’s deal with Iran may well lead the world to nuclear holocaust.
These eight points, unchallengeable factually or intellectually, unpack the epigrammatic brevity of Mr Huckabee’s statement. Obama may call it what he wants, but I’ll call it what it is: true.