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

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Setting the Stage

As the Iran talks go into still another overtime (what a surprise!) Barack Obama and his foreign policy Team of 2s and the majority of Democrats argue that there is no alternative to an nuclear agreement because the only other option is war. Unfortunately, a bad agreement with Iran (and a bad agreement it will be) becomes an invitation for war in the relatively near future.

Reuel Marc Gerecht and Mark Dubowitz explain:
... hawks who believe that airstrikes are the only possible option for stopping an Iranian nuke should welcome a [Obama nuclear] deal perhaps more than anyone. This is because the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is tailor-made to set Washington on a collision course with Tehran. The plan leaves the Islamic Republic as a threshold nuclear-weapons state and in the short-term insulates the mullahs’ regional behavior from serious American reproach.

To imagine such a deal working is to imagine the Islamic Republic without its revolutionary faith. So Mr. Obama’s deal-making is in effect establishing the necessary conditions for military action after January 2017, when a new president takes office.

No American president would destroy Iranian nuclear sites without first exhausting diplomacy. The efforts by Mr. Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to compromise with Tehran—on uranium enrichment, verification and sanctions relief, among other concerns—are comprehensive, if nothing else. If the next president chose to strike after the Iranians stonewalled or repeatedly violated Mr. Obama’s agreement, however, the newcomer would be on much firmer political ground, at home and abroad, than if he tried without this failed accord.

Without a deal the past will probably repeat itself: Washington will incrementally increase sanctions while the Iranians incrementally advance their nuclear capabilities. Without a deal, diplomacy won’t die. Episodically it has continued since an Iranian opposition group revealed in 2002 the then-clandestine nuclear program. Via this meandering diplomatic route, Tehran has gotten the West to accept its nuclear progress.

Critics of the president who suggest that a much better agreement is within reach with more sanctions are making the same analytical error as Mr. Obama: They both assume that the Iranian regime will give priority to economics over religious ideology. The president wants to believe that Iran’s “supreme leader” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hasan Rouhani can be weaned from the bomb through commerce; equally war-weary sanctions enthusiasts fervently hope that economic pain alone can force the mullahs to set aside their faith. In their minds Iran is a nation that the U.S., or even Israel, can intimidate and contain.

The problem is that the Islamic Republic remains, as Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif proudly acknowledges in his memoirs, a revolutionary Islamic movement.
In reality, the United States is left with two very bad options—each will lead inexorably toward military intervention to stop a "revolutionary Islamic movement" from acquiring nuclear weapons and (1) using them, or (2) supplying them to radical Islamists who will, or (3) using them as a sheild to create upheaval in the region. Believing that an Obama agreement will somehow change this reality is a dangerous and irresponsible fantasy.

As a country, we have a president who has failed in every major foreign policy endeavor he has initiated. He will enter into an agreement that sets the stage for war—conveniently, after he has left office.