When smart power fails

This is pretty scary.

John McCain and William Jacobson already knew that Obama has no Iran nuclear strategy. But now it’s official.  NYT:

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has warned in a secret three-page memorandum to top White House officials that the United States does not have an effective long-range policy for dealing with Iran’s steady progress toward nuclear capability, according to government officials familiar with the document.

Several officials said the highly classified analysis, written in January to President Obama’s national security adviser, Gen. James L. Jones, came in the midst of an intensifying effort inside the Pentagon, the White House and the intelligence agencies to develop new options for Mr. Obama. They include a set of military alternatives, still under development, to be considered should diplomacy and sanctions fail to force Iran to change course.

Jennifer Rubin comments:

Really, it’s jaw-dropping that, at this stage, Gates must sound the alarm, reminding everyone that nothing they’ve done so far has or is likely to work. Indeed, it’s hard to see how what the Obami are presently doing won’t impair those military options. After all, Obama is giving the Iranians cover to move ahead with their nuclear program while the UN dithers over negotiations about ineffective sanctions. The problem, we must conclude, is Obama, himself, who seems blissfully unaware of his own inadequate and misguided efforts. (”Some officials said his memo should be viewed in that light: as a warning to a relatively new president that the United States was not adequately prepared. He wrote the memo after Iran had let pass a 2009 deadline set by Mr. Obama to respond to his offers of diplomatic engagement.”)

Allahpundit’s take:

Of course they didn’t prepare alternatives. How could they possibly fathom that diplomacy might fail? The core plank of “smart power,” such as it is, has always been the Obama charm offensive. Simply by being the anti-Bush and offering an open hand to Iran, he would convince Tehran to unclench its fist and open a dialogue. Bush was the problem (he always is!) and once the problem was removed, solutions would inevitably follow. So why bother developing a Plan B? The result: Iran’s now enriching uranium to 20 percent purity and rolling out advanced centrifuges, which means nuclear “breakout” capacity, i.e. the ability to build a bomb quickly even if they haven’t yet done so, won’t be long in coming.

Hubris can bring down more than just the tragic hero. Obama’s ego is a national, even international, liability.