It had to be the most bizarre diplomatic mission in recent U.S. history. [In 1980], Jimmy Carter asked former Heavyweight Champion Muhammad Ali to undertake a five-nation African tour (Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria, Liberia and Senegal) as his special representative to seek support for a boycott of the Moscow Olympic Games. Ali, who was traveling in India, accepted the assignment. By the time he had spent an hour on African soil, however, he was floundering like a Golden Gloves novice against a ring-wise pro.
Today, Yedioth Ahronoth reports, the Obama Administration is secretly negotiating with Iran and the effort is being headed by no less than presidential advisor on domestic affairs Valerie Jarrett, an old friend of Obama’s who is widely viewed as the closest friend of the president. The exchanges are reportedly being held in Bahrain. Jarrett was born in Iran but has no actual foreign policy experience or special knowledge about the country and its Islamist regime. Even within the Obama administratioin she is highly disputed. In 1980, there was a cartoon comparing Carter’s folly to sending Donald Duck as his special envoy to Africa. Obama has his Donald Duck-Moment now.
Update: The Weekly Standard has some doubts regarding the report of Yedioth Ahronoth.
© Joachim Nikolaus Steinhöfel 2012