There has been much discussion concerning the motivation behind President Barack Obama’s major foreign policy initiatives; Power Line has offered a useful summary and links (which should be followed). PL then offered its own view from that summary:
In my view, the deeper source of Obama’s strong tilt towards Iran is the same as the one that caused his “reset” with Russia, his early cozying up to Assad, and his support for Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. That source is an attraction to anti-American strongmen, a familiar phenomenon among American leftists for the better part of a century.
Given the outcomes of Obama’s initiatives (and of his other moves, particularly vis-à-vis Israel), that’s certainly a plausible view, and I don’t entirely disagree with it.
However, I also don’t think that’s all there is to it, and I don’t think that’s even a major part of Obama’s motivation. I think his motivation is (nearly) entirely domestic.
He spent most of his first administration ramming through Obamacare and Dodd-Frank, and he has been pushing for his version of immigration reform and his version of various welfare programs, and he’s had to fight with the minority party every step of the way.
I think he knew that would be the case from the jump—as far back as his community organizing days and his time in the Illinois Senate. I think he just wanted to reach accords—any accords—with our major adversaries and outright enemies so he could back burner external affairs and focus on his domestic agenda.
Recall that his first foreign policy initiative was bringing about America’s surrender to the Russians concerning our now functionally scrapped ability to defend ourselves against missile attack—Iran’s or Russia’s. Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, Iran, terrorist organizations, the EU, etc, etc, etc were, and are, just additional distractions from his domestic imperatives, and that’s why his external policies have been so poorly thought out and hastily executed. This also explains his choice of State Department Secretaries—shallow thinkers who won’t distract him too much with external initiative wants or needs.
He’s given those and his Secretaries all of the attention that distractions get.
I do think he basically wants to kick the can down to January 2017 without any major disaster and call it good. The reported accounts of him wooing Clinton to be his Secretary of State essentially were to the effect that he just wanted to keep foreign policy in the background and concentrate on the domestic side.