The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Devil and the Details

There's a old saying—"The Devil is in the Details."

The problem is that if you don't know the details, it's sometimes difficult to understand whether you're looking at an angelic situation or a devilish one. Barack Obama relies on that simple fact when he discusses Iran. He understands, better than most, that the details are what matters. But rather than helping U.S citizens better understand those details, he relies on the media's reluctance to "get into the weeds," and his low information supporter's predilection to have their eyes glaze over whenever dry percentages, complex technology, or projections based on the latter are discussed. This enables Obama to make dishonest claims about the success of his negotiations with Iran and about Iran's potential as a major threat—not just to Israel, but the Europe, and soon, the United States.

Caroline Glick presents the details that Obama refuses to share. She begins by noting that a pivotal element of a nuclear program is the development of ICBM's capable of reaching Europe and the U.S. While Obama and his Team of 2s have negotiated, Iran has developed a viable ICBM. Glick writes:
Iran has apparently produced an intercontinental ballistic missile whose range far exceeds the distance between Iran and Israel, and between Iran and Europe.

On Wednesday night, Channel 2 showed satellite imagery taken by Israel’s Eros-B satellite that was launched last April. The imagery showed new missile-related sites that Iran recently constructed just outside Tehran. One facility is a missile launch site, capable of sending a rocket into space or of firing an ICBM.

On the launch pad was a new 27-meter long missile, never seen before.

The missile and the launch pad indicate that Iran’s ballistic missile program, which is an integral part of its nuclear weapons program, is moving forward at full throttle. The expanded range of Iran’s ballistic missile program as indicated by the satellite imagery makes clear that its nuclear weapons program is not merely a threat to Israel, or to Israel and Europe. It is a direct threat to the United States as well.
But no worries, the radical Islamists in Tehran would never, ever threaten Western infidels, would they?

Of course, Obama didn't mention the missiles in his SOTU, but no matter. It gets worse.

In 2013, Obama and his Team of 2s, along with Germany, France, Britain, China and Russia (the P5+1) signed a Joint Plan of Action (JPoA) with Tehran.The JPoA covers Iran's nuclear program but doesn't address ICBM development—that is, the mechanism for delivering nuclear weapons. Hmmm.

Glick continues:
When it signed the JPOA, Obama administration officials dismissed concerns that by permitting Iran to enrich uranium to 3.5% – in breach of binding UN Security Council Resolution 1929 from 2010 – the US was enabling Iran to develop nuclear weapons. Enrichment to 3.5%, they said, is a far cry from the 90% enrichment level needed for uranium to be bomb grade.

But it works out that the distance isn’t all that great. Sixty percent of the work required to enrich uranium to bomb grade levels of purity is done by enriching it to 3.5%. Since it signed the JPOA, Iran has enriched sufficient quantities of uranium to produce two nuclear bombs.

As for plutonium development work, as [Omri Ceren of the Israel Project} pointed out, the White House’s fact sheet on the JPOA said that Iran committed itself “to halt progress on its plutonium track.”

Last October, Foreign Policy magazine reported that Iran was violating that commitment by seeking to procure parts for its heavy water plutonium reactor at Arak. And yet, astoundingly, rather than acknowledge the simple fact that Iran was violating its commitment, the State Department excused Iran’s behavior and insisted that it was not in clear violation of its commitment.

More distressingly, since the JPOA was signed, Iran has repeatedly refused to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency to access Iran’s nuclear installations or to inform the IAEA about the nuclear activities that its military have carried out in the past. As a consequence, the US and its partners still do not know what nuclear installations Iran has or what nuclear development work it has undertaken.
And yet, Barack Obama threatens to veto a proposed bi-partisan sanctions regime and impunes the integrity of both Democrats and Republicans who support it. He throws a tantrum when Bibi Netanyahu is invited to Congress to argue the other side, and thuggishly threatens "consequences" for Israel, not Tehran. Unbelievable!

The reason that many Democrats and virtually all Republicans have supported follow-on sanctions is because they have little faith that Obama will push for the details—the things that will keep Iran from going nuclear. Iran knows this and believes, correctly, that Obama will never be tough enough to force meaningful concessions. They understand that this president relies on his support from low information supporters who do not have the inclination to understand the details, and therefore, are perfectly willing to believe that all is well ... until a mushroom cloud rises over a Western city in a decade or two.


Barack Obama and his Team of 2s can negotiate, and negotiate, and negotiate, but they won't solve the central problem—it's far past the time when the Mullahs that rule Iran must be overthrown, the people who support them must be marginalized, and a new Iran must emerge, devoid of its radical Islamic influence. Until then, Iran will remain a terror master. The only question in the short term is whether the terror master will have nuclear weapons.

Michael Ledeen comments:
Three duly respected policy professionals, Denis Ross (Obama’s — and plenty of others’ — Middle East guru for a few years early on), Eric Edelman (Bush’s under secretary of defense and earlier ambassador to Turkey), and Ray Takeyh of the Council on Foreign Relations (who recently published a very important story detailing the background of the Iranian occupation of the US Embassy in Tehran in ’79), tell us it’s time to get tougher with Iran:
[It's] time to acknowledge that we need a revamped coercive strategy, one that threatens what the Islamic Republic values the most—its influence in the Middle East and its standing at home.
In other words, threaten the regime itself and its foreign legions in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen. But just when you say to yourself, “Finally! They’re going to call for regime change,” they tiptoe delicately into dipspeak: “Iranian officials must come to understand that there will be no further concessions to reach an accord and that time is running out for negotiations.”
Further down, they return to the “we’re almost, kinda for regime change” theme:
... the United States should consider a political warfare campaign against Tehran to complement its economic sanctions policy. The administration officials and its broadcast services should draw attention to the unsavory nature of the theocratic regime and repressive behavior. Such language will not just showcase our values but potentially inspire political dissent.
As if the Iranian people needed the State Department and the appeasers at the feckless Persian service of the Voice of America to tear the blinders from their eyes and enable them to see that they are living in misery under a hateful regime! If you really want to “inspire political dissent,” just do it. Call for the release of the opposition leaders, support the students’ and workers’ and women’s movements, and call for a national referendum on the legitimacy of the Islamic Republic.
Early in his presidency (June, 2009), Barack Obama had a chance to support the overthrow of Mullahs during the "Green revolution." He passed, providing no support to the students and other secular elements of the Green Movement who had an outside chance to fundamentally change Iran. At the time, many expressed surprise that he was so ... well ... unsupportive. Looking back, it was right in character.